Morehead St Indiana Basketball

Morehead State forward LJ Bryan defends Indiana forward Malik Reneau as he drives toward the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday in Bloomington.

BLOOMINGTON – Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds and freshman Malik Reneau added 15 points and five rebounds in his first collegiate game to lead No. 13 Indiana to an 88-53 victory over Morehead State in the opener of the Hoosiers' 123rd season and second under coach Mike Woodson tonight at Assembly Hall.

3 Takeaways

  • Jalen Hood-Schifino is Indiana's best guard: It might seem early to say that about a true freshman who has played all of one regular-season game and two exhibition games, but it is not particularly close. With Xavier Johnson struggling with foul trouble, Hood-Schifino had to handle most of the minutes at point guard and did so quite well, scoring seven points on 3-for-4 shooting, dishing four assists, grabbing two rebounds and adding a steal in 27 minutes. He was the only IU player whose jumper was going in consistently and this is now three games in a row (counting the two exhibition contests) in which he has had no compunction about shooting long 2-point jumpers. Generally those are considered the most inefficient shot in basketball, but he has made a ton of them early in his career. 
    The five-star freshman also unleashed a parade of no-look passes, which set up Hoosiers big men Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson for some easy baskets when Morehead State went to a 1-3-1 zone defense. Hood-Schifino's no-look tosses are not simply designed to be flashy – they are purposeful and thought-through. His court vision is excellent. 
  • Shooting (sigh): Stop me if you've heard this, oh, 1,000 times in the last six years: Indiana struggled shooting the ball. The Hoosiers went a semi-respectable 4 for 11 from 3-point range, but that line was inflated by a banked-in quasi-prayer from Tamar Bates at the end of the shot clock in the first half. The only Hoosier who looked comfortable from beyond the arc was Miller Kopp, who went 2 for 2 from deep and had eight points. His stroke looked confident and he shot with no hesitation. Woodson has said Kopp looks more comfortable and under less pressure this season and that appears to be bearing out. The problem is that pressure might start building again if he realizes he is (again) the only Hoosier capable of hitting with consistency from the outside, which he might be. Race Thompson went 1 for 3 from deep with an air ball; Bates was 0 for 2 outside of his lucky bank and Malik Reneau, Jordan Geronimo and CJ Gunn all missed their only attempt. Gunn, a sharpshooter in high school was long by six feet.
    To make matters worse, the Hoosiers were 12 for 21 from the foul line, including a ghastly 1 for 6 start which included a pair of misses from Hood-Schifino. The freshman with the feathery jumper finished 1 for 4 at the line. It appears free throws are going to be a concern for the umpteenth straight season.
  • Indiana got bailed out: Don't let the final score fool you: the Hoosiers did not play well tonight. If it's possible to have a bad offensive night while shooting 61% from the field, they did it tonight. The offense had little flow to it and what plays the Hoosiers were able to make were mostly predicated on being more talented than Morehead State rather than playing better as a team. That won't work when IU faces Kansas or North Carolina. They were sloppy with the ball, missed easy shots around the rim and let several opportunities for lob dunks go by the wayside because of poor passes.
    On defense, the Hoosiers were nowhere near the shutdown unit which stalked opponents most of last season. They switched too readily on the perimeter, creating mismatches for their guards and big men, did not rotate well and gave up far too many open 3s. When they did get out of position, their close-outs were very poor; they often went flying by the man they were supposed to be guarding, giving him a wide-open 17-footer. 
    A good team would have beaten Indiana tonight and likely blown the Hoosiers out. IU was lucky Morehead State is not a good team and it went just 9 for 30 from 3-point range despite numerous open looks. The Eagles turned the ball over 21 times, which IU turned into a 29-9 advantage in points off turnovers. That was the difference in the game. Against a team of this quality, that's concerning.

Player of the Game: Trayce Jackson-Davis

Jackson-Davis took over the game near the end of the first half, helping Indiana open a semi-comfortable lead, scoring eight points in a 3:16 stretch. He seemed to sense Indiana needed a spark and provided it, bullying his way to the rim a couple of times against the smaller Eagles. He even tried a 17-footer, though it missed long. He had two assists, two steals and a block to his line.

The preseason Big Ten Player of the Year's 15 points moved him past Greg Graham for 14th on the all-time IU list.

Tip-Ins

Indiana is 6-0 all-time against Morehead State. ... The Eagles shot 37% from the field. ... Reneau went 6 for 8 from the field and added two blocks and a steal. He got in a mild verbal altercation with the Morehead State bench after he notched an old-fashioned 3-point play. ... Jordan Geronimo had 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting with a variety of nifty midrange moves and dunks. ... Johnson played just 20 minutes, committing three fouls and two turnovers. He had four points and three assists. ... Morehead State's Mark Freeman had 14 points in the first 15 minutes, but then subbed out and did not come back in. It was unclear whether he was hurt. Morehead State coach Preston Spradlin picked up a technical foul for arguing a call in the second half.

What's Next?

The Hoosiers are back in action Thursday, when they host Bethune-Cookman (0-1) at Assembly Hall. The game will tip off at 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The Wildcats (0-1) dropped their season opener 89-58 to Iowa tonight. 

College Sportswriter

Dylan Sinn is a College Sportswriter, covering mainly Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame, as well local colleges in northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne TinCaps baseball. He is a graduate of Indiana University and an AP Top 25 football voter.