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The Journal Gazette

Friday, February 09, 2018 9:40 pm

Indiana 80, Minnesota 56: Quick thoughts

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

BLOOMINGTON – For the third straight game, Indiana (14-12, 7-7 Big Ten) brought energy from the opening tip and for the second straight game, it led to a big halftime lead. The Hoosiers jumped out to a 20-8 advantage behind eight points from Devonte Green, who got his second straight start. The Hoosiers moved the ball well all half, but especially in the early going, whipping the ball from the perimeter to the paint and back again.

The early energy faded a bit midway through the half and Minnesota closed the gap, getting as close as three at 27-24 when Nate Mason drilled a triple for the Golden Gophers (14-13, 3-11). As he did the entire first half, however, Green responded for the Hoosiers. He hit a triple to extend the lead back to six, one of four he'd make in the half, and then dished to Juwan Morgan on a well-executed pick-and-roll for a layup. Late in the half, the sophomore guard was fouled shooting a 3 and he made all three free throws to give the Hoosiers their biggest lead of the opening 20 minutes, 39-26.

When the dust settled on the half, the Hoosiers led 39-29 and Green had assisted on 10 of their 13 baskets. Green had four of those assists, to go along with 17 points and three rebounds. Morgan dished off a season-high five assists in the first half.

The second half began with more of the same. The Hoosiers scored the first six points in 1:22 on a trio of easy baskets, two of which were assisted. Minnesota immediately called a timeout, but by then Indiana had a 45-29 advantage.

Minnesota really didn't threaten again after that. The Hoosiers continued to share the ball down the stretch and Minnesota's defense looked tired by the end. The game was essentially wrapped up after Green made one of the best plays of the night.

Early in the second half, a loose ball bounced out near midcourt. Green chased after it and brought it in after a particularly high bounce. Without stopping to control the ball, he looked up and saw Robert Johnson slicing to the hoop. He tossed a bounce pass at his fellow guard, leaving a Minnesota defender flailing. Green laid the ball in to extend the lead to 50-31 and Assembly Hall came alive for one of the only times all night. Minnesota never got closer than 15 after that.

Player of the Game: Devonte Green

Green was a playmaker all night, and also happened to be red-hot from the field. He poured in 19 points, including those 17 in the first half, on 5-for-7 shooting from the field. He also knocked down four 3-pointers, the second time in four games he's had that many. His career-high seven assists were important, as well, part of a larger trend of good ball movement for the Hoosiers.

Facts and Figures

Morgan also had 19 points for the Hoosiers, plus a career-high five assists and nine rebounds ...Aljami Durham had seven points, the most he's had in a game since Dec. 4. ...Freddie McSwain Jr. grabbed seven rebounds, giving him 32 over his three starts this season. ... Johnson finished with 11 points, pushing him past Jordan Hulls for 27th on all-time IU scoring list. ... The Golden Gophers were without guards Amir Coffey (14.0 points per game) and Dupree McBrayer (9.5), who both sat out with injuries. ... Nate Mason led Minnesota with 18 points. Jordan Murphy had 12 and nine rebounds, making it just the sixth game this season in which he has not had a double-double ... Indiana assisted on 21 of its 30 baskets.

What's Next?

The Hoosiers are back in action for a second straight home game Wednesday against Illinois (12-13, 2-10). The game will tip off at 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The Fighting Illini beat Indiana 73-71 on Jan. 24 in a game the Hoosiers shot 16 for 29 from the free-throw line. Juwan Morgan scored 28 points in the loss.

dsinn@jg.net