BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) Indiana has been a team this season that has played at a frenetic pace but has paid for it with a high number of miscues. The Hoosiers had been averaging 15.6 turnovers per game through the first 10 games.
Saturday night, Indiana was both on the run and in control.
On a night when the Hoosiers tied a season-low for turnovers with nine, James Blackmon Jr. scored 24 points, including five 3-pointers, and Thomas Bryant had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead Indiana to a 105-60 victory over McNeese State.
It was the third win in a row for Indiana (8-3). Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said there was a lot to like about the way his team played Saturday night.
”I thought we played relatively fast and at the same time didn’t turn the ball over,” Crean said. ”We had some impressive runs offensively and defensively and moved the ball and got some good shots.”
Blackmon, who made 9 of 17 from the field, has now had two big scoring games in the last five games for IU. He also had a career-high 33 points against Alcorn State on Nov. 30.
He said the key Saturday was ball movement and getting out on the break. Indiana had a 17-2 edge in fast break points.
”We were making the right pass and making the early pass to guys on the break,” Blackmon said. ”And we were just being smart. Everyone took care of the ball tonight.”
Indiana made 40 of 78 (51 percent) field goals, including 13 of 28 from 3-point range. The Hoosiers converted 19 McNeese State turnovers into 30 points.
McNeese shot 32 percent from the field and was 4 of 33 from behind the arc.
But McNeese State coach Dave Simmons said it was more about what Indiana did than what his team did not do.
”We had no answer once they started raining three’s,” Simmons said. ”They got the ball out so quickly in the transition game and pretty much beat us down the floor and shot open shots. My hat is off to them. They’re a very tough team and there’s going to be a lot of people who are going to have a hard time coming in here and beating them when they play like that.”
Troy Williams had 13 points, Yogi Ferrell had 12 points with seven assists, and Max Bielfeldt scored 11 for the Hoosiers. It marked the sixth time this season that Indiana has had at least five players score in double figures in a game.
With Bryant and Bielfeldt in particular dominating play inside, Indiana had a 50-18 advantage in points in the paint. The 50 points was a season high. Bryant made all seven of his field goal attempts and Bielfeldt hit 5 of 10.
Crean said Bryant’s play was encouraging. He said the coaching staff spent extra time with the 6-10 freshman center earlier in the day on Saturday.
”It was very important for him (to play well),” Crean said. ”He has worked hard. We got some extra work in with him which was this morning before walk through. We just re-established a few things for him. But the ball moved really well tonight and we did a good job.”
Indiana used a 16-2 run midway through the first half to take a 27-13 lead. Blackmon hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key that capped off the run.
Tevin Jackson led McNeese State (1-7) with 13 points. Craig McFerrin and Jamaya Burr each had 12 for the Cowboys.
McNeese State: The Cowboys are playing one of the most difficult schedules in their history as they face 12 teams that appeared in last year’s NCAA Tournament. They have already played Oklahoma and Indiana and will face UCLA on Dec. 22. . This was the first meeting ever between McNeese State and Indiana.
Indiana: The Hoosiers have scored 100 points or more three times in 11 games this season. The high was 112 against Alcorn State. . Indiana has 20 blocked shots in the last three games. Freshman O.G. Anunoby had a career-best three Saturday night.
McNeese State hosts LSU-Alexandria on Wednesday.
Indiana plays Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis on Saturday.