BLOOMINGTON – There were plenty of positives to take from Indiana’s 100-62 win over Troy on Saturday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Offensively, the Hoosiers continued to get contributions from multiple players, with four players scoring in double figures.
Defensively, IU guarded the perimeter, holding Troy to 32 percent shooting and 20 percent (5-of-25) from 3-point range.
Indiana (4-0) has dispatched its first four opponents by an average margin of 27 points to get off to its best start since starting 4-0 in the 2014-15 season.
“We got off to a better start defensively than we have in our last couple of outings in particular,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “I thought we were very unselfish. When you combine the effort level we had early with the unselfishness, I thought we got off to a good start.”
Sparked by a pair of 10-0 first-half runs, Indiana jumped to a 58-32 halftime lead, scoring its most points in a half in Miller’s three-year tenure at IU. Indiana shot 57 percent from the field in the first half and was able to convert on runouts in transition, scoring 19 points off 12 Troy turnovers.
“I have confidence when these guys are open they can stick shots,” Miller said. “They’ve worked very hard.”
Junior forward Justin Smith benefitted from the game getting out in transition, leading four IU scorers in double figures with 22 points. Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis posted his second career double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while junior guard Al Durham also scored 17 points. Sophomore guard Damezi Anderson scored 14 points off the bench.
Jackson-Davis has averaged 17 points over his last three games.
“Really, on offense, it’s my teammates putting me in the right position to score,” Jackson-Davis said. “And then just really anticipation for the rebounds. I just got to anticipate where the ball is coming from, and I did that tonight.”
As a team, IU outrebounded Troy 51-38, scoring 18 second-chance points off 15 offensive rebounds.
“When you have the ability to offensive rebound, it breaks the opponent’s back on second shots,” Miller said. “Typically, you are going to get a basket, a good look off of some type of offensive rebound or you are going to get fouled. That’s a huge part of what we are doing.”
Miller came into the game concerned about Troy’s ability to shoot from 3-point range from multiple positions. But the Trojans (0-3), who entered the game shooting 40.7 percent from 3-point range, made just four of their first 14 3-point attempts in the first half. While sophomore forward Zay Williams led Troy with 28 points, he did most of his damage inside, with only one basket coming on a 3-point shot.
“We were better,” Miller said. “Details getting back, not giving up very many easy ones in transition was a huge part. Our guys on the ball, I thought, did a much better job to start the game in terms of our pressure, not letting them be comfortable.”
Indiana welcomed back senior guard Devonte Green, who returned for his first action of the season after sitting out most of October practices and the first three games of the season with a hamstring injury. Green finished with six points and four assists in close to 20 minutes off the bench.
“I’m just glad he’s not hampered or sore,” Miller said. “I think, athletically, he’s back. He’s got to shake some rust off, get his feet under him. He’ll be fine. He plays an important role in what we’re doing.”
While Green returned, IU was without sophomore guard Rob Phinisee who was out with strep throat. Miller is hopeful to have his full backcourt intact for IU’s next game Wednesday at Assembly Hall against Princeton.
“I think Rob will be fine,” Miller said. “Hopefully, he’s over being sick the last few days. He looks better in the locker room. If we can get him back and have him into the mix and then start to get chemistry in our backcourt I think that will be really, really important to this team as we head to the middle of November, end of November.”