The Journal Gazette
 
 
Monday, November 30, 2015 10:03 pm

IU jumps all over Braves

Chris Goff | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON – No Hawaiian hangover here.

After a disappointing stay in the Maui Invitational last week, Indiana took out its frustration Monday night in a 112-70 win over Alcorn State at Assembly Hall.

However, beating up the Braves – an 0-6 team of the Southwestern Athletic Conference – won’t assuage fans’ lingering worries.

But for the Hoosiers (5-2), it was a nice way to recover after dropping out of the rankings.

"All the stuff that happened in Maui is definitely in the past now," said Troy Williams, who had 11 points and eight rebounds. "We watched film. We played how we practiced the last few days."

The highlight of the rout was James Blackmon Jr., who went off for 33 points and four steals in 28  minutes.

"My teammates were finding me every time I was open, it felt like," he said. "I always have confidence shooting. It comes from what else I’m doing, like defense."

It was the highest-scoring performance by a Hoosier player in coach Tom Crean’s eight-year tenure. Blackmon, the former Bishop Luers star, surpassed his prior career high (26) early in the second half on a driving dunk and converted 6 of 9 3-pointers and 11 of 15 overall.

After Blackmon made two free throws for a 100-55 lead with 5:03 left, he departed to a loud ovation and words of sideline wisdom from Crean.

"Offense comes so easy for you, you shouldn’t worry about it," Crean told Blackmon. "When you defend like that, that’s what’s going to happen."

Alcorn State, far from its home in Lorman, Mississippi, was coming off the Corpus Christi Classic in Texas and was on the last leg of a 14-day road trip that made stops in Arizona and Oregon.

The Hoosiers had a 12-0 lead when first-year coach Montez Robinson called time out.

"They shot the crap out of the ball," Robinson said.

Robinson’s Braves shot a respectable 42 percent, which felt utterly hopeless against Indiana’s 67 percent showing.

Thomas Bryant had 13 points and five rebounds for the Hoosiers, while Yogi Ferrell added 13 points and five assists.

Robert Johnson got the start and finished with 12 points and six assists.

"We’re not going to lose too many if we get five guys in double figures," Crean said.

The Hoosiers appreciated a chance to put losses to Wake Forest and UNLV behind them prior to playing at No. 7 Duke (6-1) on Wednesday in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

"It wouldn’t matter if we weren’t playing Duke," Crean said. "You wanted to play another game because the time changes hit everybody differently. It was a good win at the start of a busy week."

Notes: Indiana entered shooting 62.4 percent from the free-throw line, which Crean called an "aberration." "It’s got to get better," he said. "We have high-level career free-throw shooters missing free throws." … Reserve forward Juwan Morgan was out with a leg injury. Crean said he’d miss "a little while."

cgoff@jg.net


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