Indiana rolls after slow start
Juwan Morgan scored 16 points and Robert Johnson added 13 to help Indiana close out its non-conference schedule with a 79-51 victory over Youngstown State on Friday night.
The Hoosiers (8-6) have won back-to-back games for the first time since late November.
But it sure wasn’t pretty.
Both teams struggled with shooting and turnovers in the first half.
Jaylen Benton and Naz Bohannon each had 10 points to lead Youngstown State (2-11), which has lost nine straight and still haven’t beaten a Division I team.
“With four days off, I think it really showed today that both teams were off,” Penguins coach Jerrod Calhoun said. “It was hard to watch during the first half. I think the talent, size and physicality of the game... Indiana just wore us out in the second half.”
The Penguins have struggled mightily all season and Friday was more of the same.
Once they trailed by double digits, their shooting struggles never allowed them to even challenge Indiana. Youngstown State has lost its last five games by at least 16 points. Indiana took control by opening the second half on a 15-4 run that that extended a nine-point halftime lead to 44-24.
The Penguins couldn’t get closer than 17 the rest of the game.
Aside from Indiana’s 7-0 run midway through the half and the Hoosiers’ 7-2 run to close the half with a 29-20 lead, not much went right. Indiana and Youngstown State were a combined 2 of 23 on 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes.
Then the Hoosiers finally got in sync.
After Zach McRoberts opened the second half with a 3, the Hoosiers scored twice in transition and got a dunk from Morgan to make it 38-24 with 16:56 left. Indiana extended the lead to as many as 28 points.
The Hoosiers can’t afford any more ragged starts when conference play kicks in. Still, the ability to adapt and fight through a ragged start could be crucial to their success. Indiana still has a long way to go as non-conference losses to Indiana State and Fort Wayne revealed. But it also has promise as the Hoosiers demonstrated in upsetting Notre Dame.
Youngstown State: The Penguins shot 31 percent from the field in the first half... They missed their first 15 3s, made their next two and missed their last eight to finish 2 of 25. ... Youngstown State was 7 of 14 from the free-throw line and got outrebounded 44-40. ... Bohannon also had 10 rebounds while Devin Haygood scored nine points. ... Youngstown State shot 33.9 percent for the game.
Indiana: After starting the game 11 of 30 from the field, the Hoosiers shot 62.1 percent in the second half. ... Johnson and Morgan each had six rebounds. McRoberts had eight. ... The Hoosiers forced 18 turnovers.
Before the national anthem, Indiana paid tribute to one of its most famous alums — Dick Enberg, the longtime play-by-play announcer who died Dec. 21 at age 82.