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  • Indiana's Evan Fitzner (55) celebrates with De'Ron Davis during the first half against Marquette on Wednesday in Bloomington. Indiana beat the No. 24 Golden Eagles 96-73 to improve to 3-0. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 11:00 pm

Indiana dominates No. 24 Marquette, 96-73

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON – 

How it Happened

Indiana opened the game on fire, even from the outside, where it had struggled in the first two games. Thanks to a couple of Evan Fitzner 3s and a bevy of early forced turnovers, the Hoosiers raced out to a 19-4 lead that had the Assembly Hall crowd louder than it had been at any point in the first two games. Marquette point guard Markus Howard, who came into the game as the No. 1 defensive assignment for the Hoosiers, was bottled up, turning the ball over three times in the first five minutes and not hitting his first 3 until 2:39 remained in the first half.

Marquette gamely battled back, but the Hoosiers continued to hold the Golden Eagles at an arm's length. Every time Marquette got within single digits, Indiana hit a big shot to open up some distance. The only player keeping the visitors in the game in the first half was forward Sam Hauser, who hit from a variety of angles around a tough Indiana defense and had 14 points in the opening half. 

Marquette put together a 10-0 run that included Howard's first 3 late in the half, cutting an 18-point Indiana lead to eight and quieting the crowd a bit. No matter. Romeo Langford stepped up and began attacking the basket on possession after possession. He hit one flying, twisting layup off glass and through a foul to break the run and get the crowd going again. The Golden Eagles simply had no answer for his shot-making in the lane. By halftime, Indiana led 47-34 and Langford had 15 points, all in the lane, on nine shots.

At the start of the second half, it was a different freshman, Robert Phinisee, who sparked the Hoosiers. The point guard fed Justin Smith for a big dunk in the lane and then showed a remarkably quick release on a corner 3 off a nice pass from Juwan Morgan and nailed it to push the Hoosiers' lead to 18 with 18:03 left. Marquette took a timeout to try to stem the tide. Out of the timeout, Langford slithered through the lane for a layup to push the lead to 20 for the first time.

Langford added a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, nearly bringing the roof in at Assembly Hall. Then, Morgan took his turn at being the go-to scorer. The senior forward bullied his way inside on back-to-back possessions and scored twice, both with fouls added on. He missed both free throws, but by the time he was done, Indiana led by 22, 61-39. The Hoosiers cruised down the stretch, leading by 20-plus most of the rest of the way.

Player of the Game: Romeo Langford

The freshman guard continues to impress with his innate ability to get to the rim and finish. He scored a career-high 22 points on 8 of 15 from the field, with only three of those points coming from jump shots. He scored in a variety of different ways around the rim and seemed to be more physical than the Marquette guards that failed to stop him. When Indiana needed a basket, it went to the precocious freshman and he delivered. Langford also had five rebounds, three steals, two blocks and two assists.

Facts and Figures

The game was part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, featuring Big Ten teams taking on Big East teams. ... The win is Indiana's first over a ranked team since Dec. 16, 2017, when the Hoosiers beat then-No. 18 Notre Dame. ... Fitzner finished with 16 points on 6 of 7 from the field. He made four 3-pointers. ... Marquette came in allowing opponents to shoot just 26 percent from the field, third in the country. Indiana shot 64 percent. ... The Hoosiers came in shooting 56 percent from the free-throw line as a team, but went 17 of 23 (74 percent) at the line. ... Starting forward Zach McRoberts missed the game because of back spasms. ... Marquette point guard Markus Howard's father, Chuck Howard, played football at Indiana from 1981-83. Howard came in averaging 26 points per game and had 18 on 14 shots. Sam Hauser also had 18 for Marquette. ... The Hoosiers outrebounded the Golden Eagles 35-29. ... Phinisee had 12 points and a game-high eight assists.

What's Next?

The Hoosiers are back in action Sunday for their first true road game of the season, a matchup in Fayetteville against the Arkansas Razorbacks (1-1). The game will tip off at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN. The Razorbacks lost to Texas 73-71 and easily defeated UC-Davis. They were a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament last season, but lost to Butler in the first round, ending a 23-12 season.

dsinn@jg.net