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Hoosiers Make Strides In Win Over Arkansas State

Still plenty of room for improvement as Juwan Morgan scores a career high 28 points for the Hoosiers.

(PHOTO: Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana Hoosiers entered their Hoosier Tipoff Classic game against Arkansas State with a lot more questions than answers. A 2-2 start to the season certainly warrants them.

Many of those questions were answered as the Hoosiers rode a career game from Juwan Morgan in an 87-70 win over the Red Wolves. Morgan finished the night with 28 points.

"A good win for our team," said head coach Archie Miller. "I think we had a good game offensively. Juwan is playing with some great confidence. He's brought a lot of energy and his physicality is a lot different now than it was at the start of the season." 

Indiana got off to the start that seems synonymous with their first four games of the season, slow. Through the first twelve minutes the Hoosiers shot a measly 8-of-23 from the field while Arkansas State jumped out to an early 16-12 lead at the under-12 media timeout. Sloppy ball handling and a tough zone defense presented by ASU was also not helping the Hoosiers' efforts.

"First four minutes of each half have not been good to us so far this season," Miller said of the lackluster start. "It's something we are looking at, but one thing we are looking for is a chemistry."

IU responded with a 13-4 run into the under-8 led by the veteran Juwan Morgan. He went to the locker room at halftime with 15-points, approaching his career high of 18. 

"Just hustle and getting up more on the glass," Morgan said of his career night. "I think early I was trying to force things, trying to be something I'm not. So I adjusted and was able to get comfortable."

Ten of Morgan's points came at the foul stripe. He was a perfect 10-for-10.

With a 47-33 lead at entering the second half, the Hoosiers had all the momentum on their side. Unfortunately, it did not carry as Indiana was outscored by ASU 10-to-6 in the first three minutes of the second half, forcing Archie Miller to call timeout.

"You could see our inability to get back on defense tonight," Coach Miller said. "Just a lack of communication. Just in general it was one of the more confusing games for us."

The timeout didn't appear to help much since by the 8:25 mark of the half, Arkansas State cut the IU lead to three, 63-60, thanks to some lackluster defense by the Hoosiers. A scoring drought in that time span also didn't help things.

A 7-0 run led by De'Ron Davis, who had 10-points and three blocks on the night, and Robert Johnson helped smooth things out. The Hoosiers closed on a 14-6 swing in the last four minutes to seal the 87-70 win.

Indiana will face Eastern Michigan in two-days time to close out their Hoosier Tipoff campaign; a team that Archie Miller says will give the Hoosiers their toughest test all season against a zone defense.

Five days after that, it's the top team in the nation in the Duke Blue Devils.

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