Hoosiers bounce back with win over Howard

By CALEB LYNN (@CjLynn016)
ISL Contributor 

Freshmen Justin Smith had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Howard. (Photo by Evan Destefano, Indiana Daily Student).

Freshman Justin Smith had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Howard.
(Photo by Evan Destefano, Indiana Daily Student).

BLOOMINGTON — Two days after getting blasted by Indiana State in the opener, the Hoosiers responded with a bounce-back win over Howard University, by a final score of 86-77.

It wasn’t the prettiest win, but it was a step in the right direction as Head Coach Archie Miller got his first career win with Indiana.

The game shouldn’t have been as close as the final score, but the Hoosiers really struggled from the foul-line.  They made just 28% from the stripe in the 1st half and finished the game shooting 41%.  It would have been a blow-out win had they connected more from the line.

Sophomore De’Ron Davis was just 3-for-10 from the line, but was controlled and poised in the post, dropping 17 points on 7-of-9 and grabbing seven rebounds.

Freshman Aljami (Al) Durham and Justin Smith showed potential as they both contributed in big ways. Smith was able to drop 16 points and grab 12 rebounds. That was his first double-double and the last person to have a double-double as a freshman was Thomas Bryant in 2016. Durham added 16 points and got hot from three point range by shooting 3-of-5 from distance.With 10:36 remaining in the first half, the two accounted for 19 of IU’s last 27 points.

When Durham was asked about Smith’s game, he said, “First thing I noticed about Justin’s game is his high motor,” he said. “I fed it to him and then he finished the rest off for me.”

Smith also had high praise for Durham. “Whenever he is out there, he is playing with confidence. And it’s contagious and we all feed off of that.”

Indiana Coach Archie Miller thought both freshman rose to the occasion.

“Justin had a good game and he was given an opportunity to play inside,” Miller said. He continued by talking about Durham’s big night. “Al has a high IQ for a freshman. You can just watch him play and he makes some of these plays look easy.”

Senior guard Robert Johnson played with purpose offensively by getting 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Johnson is only one point away from 1,000 and he would become the 51st player in Indiana history to reach that mark.

An ankle injury to Junior Juwan Morgan sidelined him for the majority of the game. He only played in the first five minutes and the date of his return is unknown.

Coach Miller knows there is work to be done, but was pleased with the victory.

“It was a good basketball game for us to win,” he said. “Anytime you have an experience like we had on Friday Night, that was really tough to take, and you start to question your confidence.”

Indiana will have another quick turnaround as they will head to Seton Hall for the Big Ten vs. Big East challenge on Wednesday night at 6:30 Eastern Time on FOX Sports One.

“Going on the road against Seton Hall is going to be a huge test for us,” Miller said.

It will be interesting to see how this young Indiana team will respond to a big early season challenge on the road.

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