Hoosiers shut down Evansville shooters 77-46
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)
The Hoosiers (6-1) rebounded from their first loss this season with a defensive effort that completely locked down one of the nation's best shooting teams.
D.J. Balentine, the nation's No. 4 scorer, finished with a season-low 14 points after scoring at least 29 in each of his first five games as the Purple Aces (5-1) failed to go 6-0 for the first time since Jerry Sloan's senior season of 1964-65. Duane Gibson added 10 for Evansville.
It was never close.
The Hoosiers scored the first 12 points, extended the lead to as much as 20 in the first half and never let the Purple Aces get within single digits in the second half.
Evansville dropped to 0-9 all-time in the series.
It looked like this might be the Purple Aces' best chance of ending the losing streak.
They came into the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in 3-point shooting (52.7 percent), No. 2 in field goal percentage (56.6) and averaging 90.2 points per game.
But the Hoosiers never let Evansville's offensive machine get started.
Instead, they started the game by forcing 10 straight misses and holding the Purple Aces to just 2 of 17 shooting through the first 12 minutes and only one 3-pointer in the first half. The Hoosiers also had a decisive early rebounding advantage.
Not surprisingly, things got ugly fast.
Indiana jumped to the 12-0 lead and then continued to extend the margin. When Hollowell made two free throws midway through the first half, it was 20-4. When Noah Vonleh made two free throws with 5:30 to go in the half, it was 28-8. And even after Evansville's shooters finally warmed up, they still could only get within 33-19 at halftime.
Indiana never let up, either.
After Evansville closed to 40-28 with 15:03 left, the Hoosiers sealed the victory with a 14-6 spurt that made it 54-32. The Purple Aces couldn't get closer than 20 the rest of the way.
Evansville shot 29.1 percent from the field and was 3 of 16 on 3s.
Kevin ''Yogi'' Ferrell was the only other Hoosier in double figures. He had 10 points.