Here is an analysis of Friday night's 105-59 victory over Samford at Assembly Hall. This analysis will become a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.
WHAT LOOKED GOOD: Samford didn't exactly provide a great deal of competition but the one thing that had to have jumped (literally) off of television screens on the Big Ten Network and to those in person was IU's athleticism. Troy Williams, Noah Vonleh, Hanner-Mosquera Perea, Devin Davis, the list goes on and on. There were enough highlight film plays Friday night to fill up a 5-minute reel. None was any bigger than one by Mosquera-Perea late in the game when he flushed a rebound off a miss by Troy Williams had one earlier himself off of a missed 3-pointer by Noah Vonleh. But it was just one athletic play after another. Individually, Yogi Ferrell had a breakout game offensively. He had a career-high 26 points and hit 8-of-11 shots from the field and 5-of-7 from 3-point range. In the second half alone, he was 6-of-7 from the field and 4-of-5 from distance. Noah Vonleh also had another strong performance, recording his third double-double in as many college games. He had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Indiana shot the ball well, hitting 57.1 percent from the field and recorded 10 blocks and 10 steals. It was just a strong effort all the way around against an overmatched opponent.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Indiana still continues to struggle in terms of assists. The Hoosiers only had nine on 36 baskets Friday night and Yogi had six of those. The only other three players with assists were Jeremy Hollowell, Mosquera-Perea and Austin Etherington. Some of these may be because 10 of IU's 36 baskets came off of rebound follow shots. But still that number is nine assists for the other 26 baskets. It would be good to see that number increase. Indiana got to the free throw line 41 times and hit 27. That's 65.9 percent. That number needs to be better, too. Evan Gordon really struggled at the line, hitting just 4-of-8 foul shots. Of the 11 Indiana players that attempted at least one free throw, eight of them had a miss.
FOR STARTERS: Indiana's starting lineup Thursday night was the same as it has been in each of the first three games: Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell. In the first game against Chicago State, the starters scored 61 of IU's 100 points. Earlier in the week against LIU Brooklyn, starters had 68 of IU's 73 points. Friday night against Samford, that number was 62 of 105 points. Starters also had 27 rebounds, seven assists, eight turnovers, three blocks and five steals. The starters combined to hit 21-of-35 shots from the field including 6-of-11 3-point field goals.
GROUP EFFORT: All 18 players on the Indiana roster, 13 scholarship and five walk-ons, played in the game and 10 players scored at least five points. Thirteen players scored and 15 took at least one field goal attempt. Thirteen players also got at least one rebound.
FRESH FACES: Indiana's six true freshmen scholarship players combined for 44 points and 28 rebounds. Vonleh led the way with 13 points and 10 rebounds Williams wasn't that far off. He had 10 points and eight rebounds. Devin Davis and Stanford Robinson each had seven points and Collin Hartman had five. Luke Fischer scored two, on a dunk off of a nice pass by Ferrell.
INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here's a look at my own thoughts on three Indiana players from Tuesday night's victory over LIU Brooklyn:
1. YOGI FERRELL: Tom Crean said after the game that Ferrell's strength Friday night was that he let the game come to him. It's an old basketball cliché but it was really true in this case. He didn't force things, his shots came within the offense and he got hot in the second half especially from distance. He made four of his five 3-pointers after intermission. One thing I've always liked about Yogi's game is the way he is in control on the court. He knows where everyone should be. Sometimes his mind and where he wants to go with the ball is a split second to quick and passes get deflected but with Yogi being in constant movement good things are going to happen a more often than bad.
2. Hanner Mosquera-Perea: I've written about Hanner a few times now but the sophomore big man is just so much more comfortable on the court than he was last year. He still needs to dunk a lot of balls inside because he can. His rebound dunk in the second half tonight was a show stopper. We're hoping to post that dunk tonight but if you can see it it's worth watching. Perea had a career-high eight points, five rebounds with one assist and one block. He played 14 minutes off the bench.
3. TROY WILLIAMS: When Williams develops a perimeter shot (did someone say the 24-hour access pass to Cook Hall?) he could be unstoppable. He has so much energy and so much athleticism. He is only going to get better. Crean keeps saying of Vonleh that he has only scratched the surface of his potential. The same is true for Williams. He had 10 points, eight rebounds, two steals and a block in 17 minutes. He started for the third time in as many games and was 5-of-9 from the field. He missed his only 3-point attempt and only foul shot.
NEXT UP: Indiana (3-0) is back in action Sunday afternoon when it faces Stony Brook (3-0) in the second game of the 2K Sports Classic. Stony Brook beat Northeastern 73-66 on Wednesday night in its last game out. The game will tip at 5 p.m. and be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch