Indiana improved to 2-0 by strangling Providence 79-58 Monday afternoon at the Maui Invitational at Harrah’s Cherokee Center in Asheville, NC. The victory set up a game between the Hoosiers and the Texas No.17 Tuesday afternoon.
Here are five takeaways from the victory over the Brothers:
· Thompson abuses ProvidenceWhen asked about the performance of Race Thompson, the junior Indiana redshirt, during his post-game Zoom press conference, Providence coach Ed Cooley was frank.
“I thought he was the player of the game by far. He was the best player on the floor, ”Cooley explained. “Manhandled us. We absolutely roughed it up.
Thompson received a lot of praise during the offseason for his work ethic, but no one expected Monday’s performance. The Minnesota native has had by far the best performance of his career to date.
He intimidated Providence at the rim for 22 points. He grabbed 13 rebounds – eight on the offensive end – and showed more rebound and athleticism than he ever showed in an IU uniform. One afternoon when Trayce Jackson-Davis was not at his best and Joey Brunk was left on the sidelines with a sore back, Thompson carried the load in the paint for the Hoosiers.
“He used his off-season as well as any player I’ve been with, transformed his body, he worked on his game,” Archie Miller said after the game. “You can tell his touch, his offensive confidence, he’s a lot more confident offensively. ”
· The Hoosiers capitalize on turnover and continue to value the ball: The revenue gap was not huge between Indiana and Providence – the Hoosiers hired nine and the Brothers had 13 – but the revenue point gap was substantial.
Indiana scored 17 points of revenue to just three points of revenue for Providence.
The total number of turnovers for Indiana in its first two games – 17 – is notable. The Hoosiers are only handing it over 12.1% of their possessions in their first 80 minutes of the season. Junior point guard Rob Phinisee logged 53 minutes without a turnover and had seven assists.
In his post-game comments, Miller described limiting his team’s turnovers to nine “essential” and after three consecutive seasons ranking outside the domestic top 125 by percentage of turnover, it is an early trend that Indiana must continue.
· Shooting improves in the second game: After a terrible shooting performance from the 3-point line and free throws in last week’s season opener against Tennessee Tech, Indiana showed improvement in Monday’s win.
The Hoosiers knocked down 75% of their free throw attempts and 35.7% of their 3s against Providence. Thompson’s aggressiveness was one of the main reasons Indiana was able to get to the free throw line 24 times.
On the perimeter shooting front, Al Durham Jr. led the way with a 3-of-5 performance at depth. After shooting 38.3% over 3s last season as a junior, Durham Jr. will look to improve his shooting percentage by 3 points year over year for a fourth straight season as a senior.
· Backcourt locks down the Providence guards: In addition to their stellar offensive performances, the backyard duo of Durham Jr. and Phinisee with Armaan Franklin set the tone defensively in IU’s victory.
The Brothers’ starting backcourt – Jared Bynum and David Duke – combined to shoot 6 of 20 from the field.
The Indiana guards were disruptive and aggressive all afternoon and never let the Providence guards get comfortable. The brothers only had seven assists in the game and failed to execute their offense effectively for an extended period.
“Seven assists in 40 minutes? Seven assists, ”Cooley said in his post-game press conference. “It may be the lowest since I’ve been in Providence. I might be a couple of times behind, but you got seven assists in the game, it will be really, really hard to win if you can’t share the ball.
· A quick turnaround – and a tough opponent – awaits you on Tuesday: Indiana will have to quickly forget about Monday’s victory as Texas, currently ranked in the top 10 in KenPom odds, presents a tall order in the semi-finals of the Maui Invitational.
The Longhorns are a legitimate size, length and athleticism and have one of the best defenses in the country. Chosen to finish fourth in the Big 12 in preseason, Texas are experienced and well-rounded.
On Monday, the Longhorns defeated Davidson 78-76 in the opening game of the Maui event. Texas had six players scoring in double digits in the win, including all five starters.
“I know they’ve got a very athletic, long, talented returning squad and some comeback experience, and Shaka (Smart) is doing a terrific job,” Miller said. “They are playing, have always played and will play hard for him and offensively, I know they’re going to be very, very quick and they’re going to be talented, so this will be the game where we’re going to really have to answer the bell.
(Photo credit: Maui Invitational)
Filed at: 2020 Maui Invitational, Aljami Durham, Providence Friars, Race Thompson