No. 22 Hoosiers rely on defense to get past Central Arkansas
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana guard Devonte Green spent November trying to get healthy. With Rob Phinisee about to miss time with injury, Green might get a chance to ramp up his minutes.
Green had six 3-pointers and 19 points in his most extensive action this season, freshman Romeo Langford recorded his second double-double, and No. 22 Indiana pulled away from Central Arkansas 86-53 on Wednesday.
“Devonte’s a huge piece to what we’re doing and he hasn’t had a great shot here,” coach Archie Miller said. “In November, he was hurt. So I was glad for him to be able to come out and bust some shots.”
They may need Green to take even more if Phinisee is out for a while.
Phinisee, who made the buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat Butler on Saturday, left the game after getting hit in the head during the first half. He did not return and wound up with three points. Miller said his freshman point guard entered concussion protocol and could be out “for a while.”
That opens the door for Green, whose brother Danny won an NBA title in San Antonio. It may require Langford to do even more than he already has.
Langford had 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists on a night the Hoosiers (10-2) won their fifth straight — their first in the streak by more than three points. Green also had nine rebounds and six assists.
Overall, Miller wasn’t that impressed with his team.
“Our guys got the win. I didn’t think we started the game very well. We weren’t ready to start the game and sometimes that happens after a big win,” he said. “I’m very concerned about our 3-point field goal defense and how many they (opponents) have made in the last few games.”
It was hard to quibble with Indiana’s defense over the final 34 minutes.
After trailing 14-7, Green’s 3-pointer with 13:19 left in the first half tied the score.
The basket sent Indiana on a 17-0 run, a stretch during which the Bears (4-7) missed 11 consecutive shots and had eight turnovers. They never recovered, and Indiana sealed it with a 22-0 second-half spurt.
Hayden Koval had 16 points and was the only player to reach double figures as Central Arkansas shot 31.3 percent from the field. Scottie Pippen’s alma mater lost for the fourth time this season to a power-conference team and is 0-7 against Big Ten foes since moving to Division I in 2006-07.
“When we spot teams of this caliber those points then we get a little desperate, and I thought we played desperate,” coach Russ Pennell said. “I didn’t think we shared the ball as well as we do and that led to kind of an avalanche.”
Central Arkansas: It looked briefly like the Bears might give the Hoosiers trouble. But their errant shooting and Indiana’s two big runs were too much.
Indiana: The Hoosiers finally got the breather they needed after winning their previous four games by a total of eight points. Now Indiana must show it can continue to deliver knockout blows.
Central Arkansas: The Bears were outscored 48-16 in the paint and 25-9 off turnovers. ... After making 7 of their first 11 shots, the Bears finished the half by going 3 of 19 from the field and were 10 of 33 in the second half.
Indiana: Pulled off its most lopsided win since a 55-point rout of Montana State on Nov. 9. ... Juwan Morgan scored 10 points after being honored before the game for scoring his 1,000th career point last weekend. ... Justin Smith also scored 10 points. ... Before the tip, the Hoosiers paid tribute to former star Eric Anderson, who played on the Hoosiers 1992 Final Four team and longtime local sports writer Terry Hutchens. Anderson died last week at age 48. Hutchens was seriously injured in a traffic accident Monday.
HE SAID IT
“I thought they established everything at the rim, made us overhelp which opened up a lot of good 3-point opportunities for them,” Pennell said.
Central Arkansas: Closes out a five-game road trip at Oklahoma State on Friday
Indiana: Will chase a ninth straight home win against Jacksonville on Saturday.