SIMON SKJOT ASSEMBLY HALL (IUSTV Sports) – Indiana Men’s Basketball made a statement in its Big Ten opener against Maryland, breezing past the Terps 65-53 in a game where the Hoosiers never gave up the lead.
“I thought we were connected tonight,” coach Mike Woodson said. “We didn’t give up a lot of threes. I just thought defensively, we were solid tonight for 40 minutes.”
The Hoosiers put together their best two halves of basketball this season.
The key to their success: matching Maryland’s physicality throughout the game and dominating the offensive and defensive boards.
“I thought tonight we were the more aggressive team,” Woodson said. “The Big Ten is tough. They let you play…it won’t be any easier when we go to Michigan next week.”
Sophomore center Kel’el Ware got his first taste of Big Ten basketball, tallying 18 points and 14 rebounds en route to his third double-double of the year. The Oregon transfer’s size and toughness was on full display against the Terps and could prove vital for the Hoosiers as Big Ten play ramps up in January.
“This is my first year in the Big Ten so I don’t really know too much but…we can get a feel of what the Big Ten is like right now, we’re going to already be prepared.” Ware said.
Team captain Trey Galloway had a massive workload with the absence of his backcourt counterpart Xavier Johnson, but the senior guard stepped up in a big way to the tune of 12 points, six rebounds, and a team-leading six assists.
With additional contributions from Malik Reneau and Mackenzi Mgbako, and frequent ball movement and distribution on the offensive side, the Hoosiers started showing glimpses of their potential.
“We’ve got a lot of guys that can score,” Galloway said. “The main thing is we’re not really worried about who is scoring. We want to get the win. I think all five guys knowing whatever it takes to get the win, it’s going to play a big role in us and the rest of the season.”
Indiana has the weekend off before travelling to the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor to face off against Michigan. Tip-off is at 9pm EST.