Men's Basketball

    Tom Crean Era Begins Saturday Night Against Northwestern State

    Go Hoosiers! Nick Williams
    Go Hoosiers!
    Nick Williams
    Go Hoosiers!

    Nov. 13, 2008

    Coach Crean PC Audio | Taber/Finkelmeier PC Audio | Schutz PC Audio

    Complete Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

    Saturday, Nov. 15, 2008, 7 p.m.
    Assembly Hall (17,357)
    Bloomington, Ind.
    Series Record: First Meeting
    Big Ten Network (Craig Shemon and John Laskowski)
    IU Radio Network (Don Fischer, Todd Leary and Joe Smith)

    Indiana begins its 109th season of men's basketball when it hosts Northwestern (La.) State on Saturday night in the head coaching debut of Tom Crean. The Hoosiers were 2-0 in exhibition games having defeated Anderson, 103-71, and Bemidji State, 72-54. Northwestern State was 15-18 and advanced to the Southland Conference Tournament Championship game for the fourth straight year in 2008.

    Indiana is 179-18 all-time in non-conference games at Assembly Hall and 1-0 against teams from the Southland Conference. The Hoosiers defeated Nicholls State, 99-65, on November 18, 2005, in Bloomington.

    Tom Crean and his staff will put one of the least experienced teams in NCAA Division I history on the floor for the 2008-09 season. Senior Kyle Taber (28 points) and sophomore walk-on Brett Finkelmeier (2 points) are all that return from last year's 25-8 squad which advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Indiana will take the floor with seven new scholarship players and three additional walk-ons to start the season with Taber and Finkelmeier during the first semester. Both players made significant contributions against Bemidji State. Taber had four points and nine rebounds in 15 minutes and Finkelmeier added two points and a steal in 10 minutes.

    Indiana named Tom Crean as its 28th men's basketball coach on April 2, 2008. He came to Indiana from Marquette where he was 190-96 (66.4) in nine seasons and made five NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2003 Final Four. Mike McConathy is 145-135 in nine seasons with the Demons. Assistant Coach Mark Slessinger is a Bloomington native whose mother, Barbara, has been an usher in the end zone seats of Assembly Hall, near the IU bench, for two-plus decades.

    The Hoosiers have won 23 straight home openers and are 86-22 in their first game of the season all-time in Bloomington. IU also has won 10 straight season openers.

    Junior Devan Dumes, a junior college transfer from Vincennes, was a perfect 11-for-11 at the free thrown line against Anderson in the first exhibition game for the Hoosiers.

    He continued that hot shooting in the second exhibition game against Bemidji State by making his first three to run his string to 14 consecutive made free throws. He would go on to miss his final three charity tosses in the game to finish 14-for-17 (82.5 percent) in the two games.

    Freshman forward Tom Pritchard posted a double-double in his Hoosier debut against Anderson with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He followed that up with 12 points and nine rebounds in the game against Bemidji State to conclude the two-game preseason with averages of 16 points and 9.5 rebounds.

    Freshman Malik Story wasted little time getting in on the action against Bemidji State by scoring 15 points in just 19 minutes of action.

    The native of Los Angeles, Calif., came in and provided a spark when the IU offense appeared to be struggling. He finished the contest by making six of his nine field goal attempts, including two of his four three-point field goals, in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

    In the first exhibition game, Story came off the bench and scored 14 pointes in 24 minutes. His 14 points came on 5-of-8 shooting from the field, including a pair of triples.

    In the pair of exhibition games, the Indiana defense was more than up to the task while the offense put up some very efficient numbers. Through the two games, IU shot nearly 50 percent from the floor (58-for-117) while holding its opponents to just 35 percent (43-for-122).

    The team's percentage was aided by the fact that five players either did not miss a shot or were off with just one field goal attempt. There were also just two players that shot below 47 percent from the floor and three that were over 60 percent.

    Freshman forward Nick Williams has been a consistent performer in both exhibition games for the Hoosiers. He had 10 points and five rebounds against Anderson and 12 points and seven boards against Bemidji State. He is averaging 11 points, 6.0 rebounds and is shooting 60.0 percent from the field and 81.8 from the line.

    VJ III
    Freshman guard Verdell Jones III sparked the Hoosiers in their win over Anderson with 18 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the floor. He also is hauling in five rebounds per game in two exhibition games.

    Head coach Mike McConathy begins his 10th season at Northwestern State and has nine letterwinners back from a team that finished a 15-18 overall record and a 9-7 finish in the Southland Conference. Last year, the Demons advanced to the finals of the Southland Conference Tournament for the fourth straight season and sixth time in the last nine seasons under McConathy.

    The Demons return five of the top eight scorers from last year's team, led by Keithan Hancock. Hancock averaged 8.7 points on the season and 10.2 points per game in conference games. Damon Jones is the next leading scorer returning for the Demons at 6.4 points per game, as he made 10 starts last year. Michael McConathy and Dominic Knight will share the point guard duties where they averaged a combined 5.0 assists per game last year.

    Of the 17 players on Northwestern State's roster, 11 of them are either freshmen, sophomores or first-year transfers.

    The Hoosiers will host IUPUI on Tuesday, November 18 at 6:30 p.m.




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