How it Happened
After Indiana fell behind early against Central Arkansas on Wednesday, Archie Miller chastised his players and said he wanted better energy early in the game. In response, the Hoosiers ... fell behind early against Jacksonville. The Dolphins made a couple of early 3s (uncharacteristically for them, as it would turn out) and led 14-9 almost six minutes into the game. It wasn't a particularly nervous moment for the Hoosiers, but it was enough to induce a pre-emptive ovation from the nearly-capacity Assembly Hall crowd, hoping to provide Indiana with an extra boost.
It seemed to work, because the Hoosiers responded with a 9-0 run, including 3-pointers from Devonte Green and Damezi Anderson, and never trailed again. Once again, the slow start didn't matter, except to give the Hoosiers something to clean up over the long Christmas break coming up.
Indiana extended its lead through the rest of the first half, pushing it double digits for the first time with 4:58 to go in the period when Durham hit a pair of free throws. The left-handed sophomore had a big half, scoring 12 points on 4-for-4 shooting, but the really key player was, as usual, Juwan Morgan. The senior forward also went 4 for 4 for eight points and also grabbed a bevy of rebounds, guarded the paint on defense and dished off smart passes on offense. He was in the middle of everything and the Hoosiers led 44-29 at halftime.
The Hoosiers put the game away early in the second half. Indiana scored 10 straight points to open the half as the Dolphins threw up brick after brick and the Hoosiers made smart passes on offense. Morgan made a couple of nifty feeds to Justin Smith for layups and when the dust settled Indiana led by 25 and the game was effectively over.
That didn't stop the Hoosiers from continuing to press their advantage. The lead hit 30 for the first time when Anderson hit back-to-back 3s the exact same spot on the right wing to make it 64-34. Romeo Langford threw a nice touch pass for the second of Anderson's pair of 3-pointers and then tossed a smart outlet pass ahead to De'Ron Davis for a big dunk on the ensuing possession.
Most of the rest of the game was occupied with Morgan's triple-double pursuit. Morgan got his 10th rebound, then his 10th assist when Durham drilled a 3 in the corner. All he needed then was one basket and he got it on an alley-oop from Green off an inbounds play to clinch the milestone. When Morgan exited the game with about six minutes remaining, the Assembly Hall faithful gave him a huge standing ovation.
Player of the Game: Juwan Morgan
Morgan put up the second triple-double in Indiana history, scoring 10 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing 10 assists in an all-around dominant performance. The only other triple-double in Indiana history was Steve Downing's in 1971 against Michigan. Morgan went 5 for 5 from the field and is now shooting 69.3 percent this season. He also moved past Jay Edwards for No. 49 on the all-time IU scoring list. Morgan topped it off with three blocks and two steals.
Facts and Figures
Jacksonville coach Tony Jasick previously was the head coach at Purdue Fort Wayne, then Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne, from 2011 to 2014. ... Indiana remains undefeated at Assembly Hall, improving to 9-0 at home with the win. ... The Hoosiers finish their non-conference schedule 9-2, with the only losses to Arkansas and Duke. ... Indiana went undefeated in December (6-0), the first time it has gone undefeated in a calendar month since November 2012. ... The Hoosiers played without freshman point guard Robert Phinisee, who is in concussion protocol. Devonte Green started in his place and had 13 points and five assists. ... Indiana came into the game No. 3 in the country in shooting percentage at 51.9 percent and shot 65 percent from the field. It was the second time the Hoosiers have shot 60 percent or better in a game this season (Marquette). Jacksonville shot 39 percent. ... Langford finished with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He came in No. 6 in the Big Ten in scoring at 17.8 ppg. ... Durham had a career-high 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting. ... Indiana's Zach McRoberts did not play after his back issues flared up again before the game.
The Hoosiers have the next 11 days off and are back in action Jan. 3, when they take on struggling Illinois (4-7, 0-2 Big Ten) at Assembly Hall. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on FS1. The Fighting Illini have played a brutal early-season schedule and still have games against Missouri and Florida Atlantic before taking on Indiana.