Verdell Jones III helped lead the Indiana Hoosiers to their first Big Ten win of the season with a 80-61 victory over the Michigan Wolverines in a tough battle as Indiana improves to 10-8 for the year now.
Jones fueled IU with his 24 points. Indiana played solid defense and amazing offense in the game, as they held Michigan to under 35-percent shooting. Indiana shot over 67-percent from the field. Jones was nine-of-ten overall.
Indiana played probably one of their best defenses of the decade. They held the Wolverines to under 24-percent shooting in the first half while limiting them to 15 points. That is the least amount of points IU held a team to in a half since they did to the Purdue Boilermakers in 2002. IU also rebounded well, having the first eight boards of the game. They were attacking the glass from all aspects of the court.
“Our players understood that it began with what our defensive transition was going to be like because of how well they push the ball up the court and get it up the court,” said IU Coach Tom Crean. “They did an excellent job with that.”
The Hoosiers basically did the same thing in the second half. Christian Watford got the crowd going louder with his three-pointer to put IU, 39-19. IU was creating excitement in Assembly Hall! However, with 8:33 to go, Michigan went on a late run of 12-2 to come within an eleven-point deficit, 46-35. But that is the closest they got, because every time they came within eleven points, Jordan Hulls would hit a triple.
“We were very, very solid in the half court,” said Crean. “There were a couple of stretches where they got on some runs, but a lot of the things that we wanted to accomplish, things that we were keeping track of, our guys really bought into and they followed the gameplan.”
This was simply a solid game by IU as they won their first big competitive game of the season. IU out-rebounded the Wolverines, 37-19, while also outscoring them on the bench, 16-6.
Christian Watford finished with 17 points and ten rebounds while Hulls had 13. Jeremiah Rivers had eight points.
Let’s hope they carry this same effort following into the Wisconsin Badgers’ game on Thursday.