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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, December 30, 2017 1:00 am

Indiana 79 Youngstown St. 51

Hoosiers get going in 2nd half for win

McRoberts helps IU to 1st back-to-back victories in a month

MICHAEL MAROT | Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON – Indiana's Zach McRoberts earned his minutes Friday.

He could be on the verge of getting a lot more playing time.

The junior forward scored seven points, grabbed eight rebounds and helped the Hoosiers seize control early in the second half as Indiana blew out Youngstown State 79-51.

“What you see during a game is what you see in practice. It's kind of like what we said about Juwan Morgan a couple weeks ago,” Hoosiers coach Archie Miller said. “He's giving you maximum effort, he's giving you hustle plays. I think we've figured out he needs to be a part of what we're doing.”

McRoberts, who transferred from Vermont to his home-state school in 2015, spent the previous two seasons searching for a role.

Now he may have figured it out.

In the last four games, the 6-foot-6 guard has scored 25 points, snared 26 rebounds and made all of his five 3-pointers this season while shooting 50 percent from behind the arc. But his value can't be measured merely by numbers.

He delivered the pass for the winning shot against Notre Dame and jump-started sluggish Indiana (8-6). As a result, Miller could contemplate making McRoberts part of the Hoosiers' starting lineup after winning back-to-back games for the first time since November.

“We always say Zach is the person you hate to have going against you (in practice) but love to have him on your team,” Juwan Morgan said after scoring 16 points to lead Indiana. “And he showed why tonight.”

Jaylen Benton and Naz Bohannon each scored 10 points for the Penguins (2-11), who have lost nine in a row and still haven't beaten a Division I team.

Indiana used a 7-0 run midway through the first half and a 7-2 spurt at the end of the half to take a 29-20 halftime lead.

Then McRoberts opened the second half with a 3-pointer to get IU started.

Indiana scored twice in transition and got a dunk from Morgan to make it 38-24 with 16:56 left then scored six more, extending the lead to 20. Youngstown State couldn't get closer than 17 the rest of the game.

“With four days off, I think it really showed today that both teams were off,” Penguins coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “It was hard to watch during the first half. I think the talent, size and physicality of the game... Indiana just wore us out in the second half.”

Note: Before the national anthem, Indiana paid tribute to one of its most famous alums — Dick Enberg, the longtime play-by-play announcer who died Dec. 21 at age 82. Enberg earned a master's and doctorate degree in Bloomington and was the first voice of the university's radio network. He called football and men's basketball games from 1957-61.