BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Hoosiers showed everyone Friday night fundamental basketball still wins.
Crisp passes still lead to easy baskets. Strong defense only makes everything simpler for everyone.
In this one, they got both. Devonte Green and Juwan Morgan each scored 19 points and each finished with career-highs in assists as the Hoosiers pulled away from Minnesota 80-56.
"Sharing the ball was something we talked a lot about, especially after the Michigan State game," Indiana coach Archie Miller said. "I think now you're seeing guys looking for others and that's a good thing."
Miller, a former college point guard, has been stressing that point all season. It's only now that Indiana (14-12, 7-7 Big Ten) is starting to see the payoff.
It rebounded from a four-game losing streak by winning twice in five days — both by margins of more than 20 points for the first time in consecutive league games since January 2016. The Hoosiers finished with 21 assists — including seven from Green and five from Morgan — for their second-highest single-game total this season. They also limited Minnesota to 30 percent shooting in the second half and 33.3 percent for the game.
Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for Indiana to seize control.
The Hoosiers never trailed, were tied only once and after scoring the first six points of the second half to make it 45-29 and refused to let Minnesota make a run.
"Our energy level's up. I think that's something we've struggled with all year," Miller said when asked about the Hoosiers' improved defense. "I think you're seeing a lot more deflections, a lot more blocked shots and we've got more experience playing together."
The short-handed Golden Gophers (14-13, 3-11) were outmanned.
Nate Mason had 18 points and eight rebounds while Jordan Murphy finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. But after falling behind 12-4 in the opening minutes, Minnesota only got close once — when an 11-5 first-half spurt cut the deficit to 27-24 with 4:20 to go.
But Indiana answered with a 12-2 flurry and the Gophers couldn't close within single-digits again.
"Our offense was bad and I think it affected our defense," Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. "We're not able to disrupt. They were hurting us on ball-screen stuff, we were just a little late. That was obvious."
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