Indiana pulls away late, downs pesky Portland State 85-74
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — A second consecutive win to open the season didn’t come easily for Indiana because its defense fell far short of coach Archie Miller’s expectations.
The Hoosiers’ 85-74 home triumph over pesky Portland State on Saturday wasn’t without its positives, but Miller shook his head about his team’s lack of toughness in guarding the ball, allowing a backcourt to hit eight 3-pointers and sending the Vikings to the foul line for 32 free throws.
“To be honest with you in the first week as we kind of look at things, if we don’t get our defense going in another direction here, we’re going to experience some really hard moments in games,” Miller said. “We can’t get stops. There’s just some alarming things out there defensively.”
Holland Woods and Matt Hauser each hit four 3-pointers to keep the small-but-feisty Vikings (1-1) close for about 30 minutes. Woods finished with a game-high 27 points and Hauser had 21.
“We’ve got to be better on the ball,” said Al Durham, who led his team with 18 points. “We’ve got to be better at help (defense). We’ve got to be able to close out and be able to guard. We’ve got a couple of things to work on and fine tune in practice.”
The Hoosiers (2-0) led just 58-53 with 11:41 remaining.
“The way we play, I think that we’re always going to be in it,” said Portland State coach Barret Peery. “Our guys keep coming. We’re going to pressure. We always play fast. I wasn’t scared of how we would play.”
Durham scored five points in a 6-0 run as the bigger Big Ten team finally pulled away and gradually increased its advantage in the final 10 minutes.
“I’ve always been more of a let-the-game-come-to-me (guy),” said Durham, who was an efficient 7-of-11 shooting. “I don’t have to force anything. I know my teammates are going to find me. I’m going to find open shots. I feel like being efficient is really key for me.”
Justin Smith scored 16 points for the Hoosiers, who hit 50 percent of their shots, dominated the board 42-24 and committed just 10 turnovers against Portland State’s full-court press.
In just his second college game Trayce Jackson-Davis contributed his first double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
“In practice, my teammates are always pushing me to rebound,” Jackson-Davis said. “We do a lot of rebounding drills, so I thought that was big coming into the game.”
Portland State finished 21-of-51 (41.2 percent) from the floor.
Miller reiterated what the Hoosiers will be focusing on in practice.
“There were some really good things to take out of it,” he said. “We’re 2-0, we have some time here to regroup and hopefully we can take some steps defensively to start looking the part that we have to.”
Portland State: The Vikings took a lot of out-of-control shots but made the game interesting against a larger school. This road trip provided growing pains for a program that was 16-16 last season and is trying to improve with a roster bolstered by five transfers.
Indiana: As style points go, Justin Smith threw down four crowd-pleasing dunks, but the Hoosiers were sloppy on defense and allowed this game to be closer than it should have been for 30 minutes. The defense will need to be better against stronger foes
Portland State: Visits Hawaii on Friday.
Indiana: Hosts North Alabama on Tuesday.