Hoosiers Defeat Northwestern State, 83-65 In Opener For Tom Crean
Nov. 15, 2008
Bloomington, Indiana - Junior Devan Dumes scored 21 points, 13 in the first half, and freshman Verdell Jones III finished with 18 points, four boards, four assists, three blocked shots and three steals as Indiana overcome opening game jitters to post an 83-65 over Northwestern (La.) State in the first regular season game for head coach Tom Crean. Crean becomes the ninth straight Indiana head coach to win in his debut dating all the way back to Branch McCracken's 54-28 win over Ball State at the start of the 1938-39 season.
"I thought we were a little nervous to start," said Crean, who won 190 games in nine seasons at Marquette before coming to Indiana on April 2. "I know my stomach knew it was a real game."
The visiting Demons of the Southland Conference were quick out of the gate and led 12-5 with 16:08 to go after a layup by Damon Jones. Dumes, who has played more Division I minutes than any other Hoosier (he played his freshman year at Eastern Michigan before transferring to Vincennes last year), hit a pair of three-pointers and then freshman Tom Pritchard added a pair of charity tosses to give IU a 13-12 advantage with 14:35 left.
"It was a good momentum booster for the whole team and fan base," said Dumes. "I'm glad we got he first win under out belt."
NSU's Keithan Hancock had a steal and a layup to push the Demon edge to 16-13, but freshman Matt Roth nailed a triple to tie the score for the Hoosiers and Indiana took the lead for good on a free throw by freshman Malik Story with 11:09 left to make it 19-18.
The Hoosiers went into the locker room with a 38-29 lead.
Defensively, Indiana forced 30 turnovers and held the visitors to 31.9% shooting. In addition, IU registered 15 steals.
"We wanted to make a real effort at putting pressure on the ball," said freshman Verdell Jones.
Hancock would hit another long bomb that would make the score 49-40 with 15:37, but Indiana would start getting the ball inside with layups by sophomore Brett Finkelmeier, senior Kyle Taber, Roth and Pritchard would help IU build a 60-42 edge with 10:04 to go.
Pritchard would notch his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Nine players for Indiana would play 10 minutes or more, with none seeing more than 28 minutes of action (freshman Nick Williams).
"It felt really good," said Jones. "After working hard in preseason and for us to come out here and finally get a win that counts. I thought that was great for the team."
The Hoosiers will face in-state rival IUPUI, Tuesday, November 18 at 6:30 p.m. in Assembly Hall.
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