BLOOMINGTON – Indiana showed in its first big test of the season Tuesday it was more than ready to handle the size and physicality of a major conference team.
Some scoring from senior guard Devonte Green helped as well.
Green scored a career-high 30 points, and the Hoosiers overcame some shaky second half stretches to pull away late and knock off No. 17 Florida State 80-64 in their Big Ten-ACC challenge game before a wild 17,222 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis and junior forward Justin Smith added production inside as well. Jackson-Davis finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Smith had 14 points. IU was able to continue its formula of controlling the boards and getting to the free-throw line, outrebounding FSU 35-25 while getting to the free-throw line 38 times. Though the Hoosiers made just 60.5% from the foul line (23-of-38) it was good enough because they buckled down defensively, limiting the Seminoles to 47.2% shooting from the floor while forcing 14 turnovers.
“We’ve taken big, big strides the last couple of games defensively,” Smith said.
Indiana (8-0) maintained its perfect to the start to the season while snapping a seven-game win streak for FSU (7-2). The Seminoles had beaten Tennessee and Purdue on back-to-back nights last Friday and Saturday to win the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla.
“I thought our guys rose to the occasion of the opponent and were ready to play,” Hoosiers coach Archie Miller said. “It wasn’t pretty at all, but I will say this, I think if you play against Florida State, watch them play, it’s not an easy game.”
Indiana had more turnover problems of its own, turning the ball over 12 times in the second half and 18 for the game as the Seminoles sprinkled in some full-court pressure throughout.
“We knew this team would cause turnovers, we knew turnovers were going to happen in this game and we knew we just had to move on to the next play,” Green said.
Green added six rebounds and four assists in 24 minutes off the bench for the Hoosiers, who were without point guard Rob Phinisee for a third straight game.
“Devonte Green was special tonight,” Miller said. “There wasn’t a whole lot of coaching that went into anything he did, as usual. When he’s good, he’s good on his own.”
Indiana withstood the physical challenge of FSU throughout the first half. The Hoosiers outrebounded the Seminoles 17-10 in the first half. Green provided a spark offensively, scoring 14 first-half points, allowing IU to jump to a 41-30 halftime lead.
But FSU charged back, making its first three 3-point attempts of the second half. An M.J. Walker basket cut the Hoosiers’ lead to 45-39. From there, the Seminoles continued to chip away at the lead, cutting it to 53-50 on an Anthony Polite 3-pointer with 10:23 remaining.
“They caught us, I thought, in the first eight minutes, 10 minutes of the second half not having our antennas up and our awareness,” Miller said. “We looked lethargic a little bit. I thought our guards started to wear down, and you could see it on both ends of the floor starting to get away from us. But we made a lot of plays.”
Each time FSU had a run, the Hoosiers had an answer. Green hit a big 3-pointer to put Indiana back up 57-50 with 9:26 left.
Then, after a follow-up dunk by Seminoles guard Trent Forrest cut Indiana’s lead to 62-58, the Hoosiers closed things out with a 10-0 run. Green scored a pair of baskets during the run on a driving layup and 14-foot jumper. Then sophomore guard Damezi Anderson sank a 3-pointer to put IU up 72-58 with 3:23 left.
For the game, the Hoosiers outrebounded Florida State 35-25, improving to 35-10 under Miller when it wins the rebounding battle.
“Our physicality was good,” Miller said. “Trayce continues to be a monster on the boards. And that’s, to me, how we’re going to win. We’re going to win with trying to take care of the ball a little bit better. We’re going to win by, obviously, getting to the foul line. And we got to rebound like crazy.”