Hoosiers start new era by holding off Eastern Michigan 68-62

Big 10 Sports

Indiana forward Race Thompson, right, looks to pass as Eastern Michigan forward Nathan Scott defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Bloomington, Ind., Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Trayce Jackson-Davis scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Xavier Johnson added 14 points Tuesday night to lead Indiana past Eastern Michigan 68-62.

Mike Woodson won his first game as the Hoosiers new coach. Indiana has won 22 of its last 23 season openers, this one without trailing, but the Eagles cut a 20-point deficit to one in the second half.

Noah Farrakhan had 18 points and three 3-pointers to lead Eastern Michigan. Bryce McBride scored 12 points coach Stan Heath’s debut.

The Hoosiers appeared to have it wrapped up when they took a 48-28 lead midway through the second half. But the Eagles answered with a 9-0 spurt to make it 48-37, then went on a 16-3 run to close to 59-58 with 2:46 to play.

But after struggling at the the free-throw line in the final minutes, Indiana rebounded to close it out at the line.

The Hoosiers scored the first 10 points of the game and led 35-19 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Eastern Michigan: The second-half was a promising sign for an Eagles offense that struggled most of the game. They needed nearly 7 1/2 minutes to score its first points. But they overcame the poor shooting and costly turnovers to get themselves back in the game. Heath should be happy with the effort.

Indiana: With three new starters, a revamped roster and new philosophies at both ends of the floor, this looked like a completely different team. Yes, the Hoosiers need more offensive consistency to close out wins. But they played tight, strong defense for 40 minutes and that was the difference.

UP NEXT

Eastern Michigan: Plays its home opener against Illinois State on Friday.

Indiana: Hosts another Mid-American foe, Northern Illinois, Friday.

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