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The Journal Gazette

November 30, 2016 10:30 PM

Halftime thoughts: Indiana 41, North Carolina 29

CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana jumped out to a big lead, 17 points, and never faltered much. Although the early going was easy, the Hoosiers' message at halftime from coach Tom Crean will surely be to not assume it'll be just as easy for the rest of the game.

Here are some quick thoughts on the first half:

* The state of James Blackmon Jr.'s health generated considerable discussion before the game, but he had lift on his jump shot and burst to his drives early in the game. He's got eight points and is playing better defense than he did in his last outing. Encourging for the Hoosiers.

* Indiana is playing with more energy, greater ease and better judgment. But it's rare that we've seen the Tar Heels lose a game over the past two seasons because they were simply the inferior team. They can get back into it if they get their big men more involved to balance out the offense, and North Carolina also needs high-level play from Joel Berry II. He's got three points and missed five of six shots.

* Robert Johnson has been more aggressive than he often has been in first halves. With 10 points and five rebounds, Johnson has led the Hoosiers. What is stunning about their performance is that they are up 12 despite getting only two points from Thomas Bryant.