Bloomington – With 7:48 remaining in IU’s match-up against TCU, Assembly Hall rocked.
The student section roared and the alumni section cheered in unison. It wasn’t Indiana-Purdue sort of noise, but the 13,129 in attendance made enough commotion to make it sound like there was nary an empty seat in the building.
For a night, it felt like old times.
Indiana’s young team played like it, too. Spurred by a tenacious defensive effort and a second-half offensive outburst, the Hoosiers cruised to a surprisingly easy 66-56 win over TCU. Indiana (5-4) won its fourth straight at Assembly Hall to open the season, while TCU (7-4) had its six-game winning streak snapped.
“For those of us who are new to the environment, that’s as good as we’ve seen,” IU Coach Tom Crean said. “It was awesome. The energy in the building was tremendous, and our guys fed off of it.”
Devan Dumes scored 20 points and Tom Pritchard added 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Hoosiers, who played a virtually flawless second half until the closing minute of the game. Indiana led by as many as 23 late in the half and held a 20-point cushion with one minute left before turning it over five straight times in the final 60 seconds.
TCU closed to within 10 as the final buzzer sounded thanks to IU’s rash of late turnovers, but even the late-game tomfoolery couldn’t put a damper on an impressive win for Crean’s team.
“We’ll focus on the 38 ½ minutes that we played so well,” Crean said. “I’m disappointed in the 19 turnovers. I wish it could have ended after 38 ½ minutes. Some of us thought it did end after 38 ½ minutes.”
While the game didn’t end the way Crean had hoped, just about everything else went according to plan. Malik Story knocked down a 28-foot 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer to give IU a 27-23 lead, and Indiana built on that margin from the start of the second half.
Getting off to a quick start in the second half was a priority for Crean, and Indiana responded. Pritchard scored on a fastbreak dunk on IU’s first possession, and Nick Williams picked off a Keion Mitchem pass and converted a pair of free throws seconds later to push the margin to eight less than a minute into the half.
“Coach stressed coming out in the first four minutes of the second half were crucial,” said Pritchard, who had nine offensive rebounds and recorded his third-double-double of the season. “That’s what we had to do, and we did.”
TCU would eventually cut the lead back to four, 33-29, before IU blew the game open with an 18-4, six-minute run. Dumes scored eight of his game-high 20 during the flurry, including a pair of 3-pointers, while the Hoosiers’ defense forced the Horned Frogs into six of their 21 turnovers.
“Some were just crazy turnovers,” said TCU Coach Jim Christian. “Silly plays we have to learn to get better from.”
While a good portion of TCU’s turnovers were self-induced, Indiana’s defense also prompted its fair share as well thanks to good rotations and quick hands that produced 47 deflections in the game.
“They out-competed us in every facet of then game,” Christian said. “They made good decisions and we made bad decisions.”
That was particularly true in the second half. After making just 33 percent (8-of-24) of its shots in the opening half, Indiana knocked down 56 percent (14-of-25) in the second half. Indiana also forced 13 TCU second-half turnovers, compared to only six of their own until the game’s final minute.
“They played with great energy early on, and in the second half the challenge was put to them that we needed to have our best second half start of the year,” Crean said. “We did. I’m proud of the effort.”
Pritchard 5-9 5-8 15, Taber 2-3 0-0 4, Moore 1-4 2-2 4, Williams 4-6 2-2 11, Dumes 6-12 5-6 20, Roth 2-6 0-0 5, Schutz 0-0 0-0 0, Story 2-9 2-2 7, Jobe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-49 16-20 66.
Ruzgas 1-5 0-0 3, Langford 2-7 2-4 6, Buljan 8-10 1-2 19, Ebie 3-6 2-4 8, Mitchem 4-8 0-0 10, Moss 3-7 0-0 6, Rose 0-0 0-0 0, Butler 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 23-48 5-10 56.
Halftime Score: Indiana 27, TCU 23. 3-Pointers: Indiana 6-18 (Dumes 3-8, Williams 1-2, Roth 1-3, Story 1-4, Moore 0-1), TCU 5-14 (Buljan 2-2, Mitchem 2-5, Ruzgas 1-4, Butler 0-2, Moss 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 31 (Pritchard 11), TCU 25 (Buljan 8). Assists: Indiana 14 (Moore 7), TCU 9 (Ebie 3). Turnovers: Indiana 19, TCU 21. Blocks: Indiana 2 (Pritchard), TCU 0. Steals: Indiana 11, TCU 9. Officials: Ted Hillary, Rick Hartzell, Bert Smith. Attendance: 13,129.
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