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The Journal Gazette

Monday, October 21, 2019 7:50 pm

Hoosiers fall 72-69 in "secret scrimmage" vs. Marquette

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Indiana played its first unfamiliar opponent of the season Sunday, facing Marquette, a 2019 NCAA Tournament team, in a "secret scrimmage" at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. These scrimmages have become commonplace in college basketball in recent years, with no media or fans allowed in the stadium and (usually) no video released. This year, the Golden Eagles bucked that latter trend, putting a highlight video from the game on Twitter. 

The games are played like regular season matchups, with 20-minute halves and actual referees. Indiana played without both of its projected starting guards in Devonte Green and Robert Phinisee, who are dealing with reportedly minor injuries, but still managed to keep the game close, falling 72-69. 

Without Phinisee and Green, it's a little bit difficult to have many concrete takeaways from the Hoosiers' performance, but with the team it had on the floor, Indiana had a balanced scoring attack. Four Hoosiers scored in double figures, led by freshman guard Armaan Franklin, who went 4 for 7 from the field, 2 for 5 from beyond the arc and got to the free throw line seven times on his way to 14 points. Franklin in all likelihood won't play with the ball in his hands as much once the season begins, but it's a good sign that he's willing to be aggressive when the situation calls for it.

The other Indiana players in double digits were Trayce Jackson-Davis, Joey Brunk and Al Durham, with 11 points each. Jackson-Davis, the 2019 Indiana Mr. Basketball, got to the free-throw line nine times and did not commit a foul on defense, though he only grabbed one rebound. He went 3 for 6 from the field in 17 minutes.

The rebounding was also spread evenly for Indiana, with Race Thompson, Damezi Anderson and Brunk grabbing seven each to lead the charge on the boards. Thompson also led the Hoosiers in plus/minus with +6 in 26 minutes. Both teams finished with 37 rebounds, though the Hoosiers shot better than the Golden Eagles (45% to 39%) so there were more opportunities on the defensive end for Indiana. 

The Hoosiers played somewhat sloppy basketball, turning the ball over 16 times to just 12 for Marquette and missing a whopping 19 free throws. Indiana struggled from the line in 2018-19, ranking 329th of 353 Division I teams in FT%. Against the Golden Eagles, they had no trouble getting to the line, but managed to hit just 24 of 43 attempts there, good for a 55.8% clip. That's certainly an issue to keep an eye on as the season approaches.

Maybe the best news for the Hoosiers in the scrimmage was that Jerome Hunter played 14 minutes. The redshirt freshman forward, who missed all of last season with a mysterious leg injury, had seven points, two rebounds and two steals in the scrimmage, though he did commit four turnovers. The numbers are less important than the simple fact that he was on the court playing meaningful minutes in a game situation.

The Hoosiers have an exhibition game against Gannon University on Oct. 29 at Assembly Hall and then open their season against Western Illinois in Bloomington on Nov. 5.

dsinn@jg.net