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After week of turmoil, Hoosiers pick up exhibition win

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Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr drives inside for a layup in the Hoosiers' win over Northwood.

BLOOMINGTON – Finally there was little drama on the corner of 17th and Dunn.

We’ll with the exception of a couple of early minutes of on court action at Assembly Hall on Thursday night when an exhibition game was a tad closer than some would have liked.

But in some ways that’s the good thing about what was going on in Bloomington–it was finally happening on the hardwood instead of off it. It was certainly a welcome change from a week filled with talk of accidents, arrests and citations.

While certainly the consequences of those things are not done Tom Crean and his team along with Hoosiers’ fans got a bit of a break from all that when the 2014-2015 Indiana basketball team stepped on the floor against Northwood (MI) for their first exhibition game.

While they were missing three players (Emmit Holt, Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams) to suspension and another who is recovering in the hospital from being hit by a car (Devin Davis), the Hoosiers pulled together after a rough start and coasted to a 94-70 win over the Timberwolves.

Thursday night is the first of two exhibition games the Hoosiers will have before their season opener on November 14th against Mississippi Valley State. The University of Indianapolis is next up at Assembly Hall on Monday night.

“We still have not been a team that has played an enormous amount of five on five. It’s been a real process for us,” said Crean of his team. “Certainly with the situation with Devin and Emmitt, I knew for a while that Stan and Troy weren’t going to be out there, but with Devin and Emmitt and then Max getting injured, I wish I would have played a little more five on five.

“The guys have done a really good job getting inside of the game. I thought we were much better in the second half even at moving the basketball.”

Certainly the backcourt showed that as two newcomers led the way in scoring. True freshman James Blackmon Jr. led the Hoosiers with 26 points and hitting 7-of-11 from the field including all of his free throws. First-year transfer Nick Zeisloft–a junior–also hit all 10 his shots from the charity stripe while scoring 24 points.

Yogi Ferrell chipped in 16 and was the catalyst of a late first half push that erased a seven-point deficit and turned it into a five-point lead at the break. A quick spurt by the Hoosiers to start the second half put the game out of reach.

“Yeah, it was a stressful week and that’s what we’ve been preaching, so I guess all the hard work we’ve been putting in this summer and preseason paid off a little bit,” said Blackmon, who was one of four guards who started on Thursday night.

Of course the minds of the team remain on Davis, who is still in a Bloomington hospital after being hit by a car driven by Holt early Saturday morning. As he did in a news conference on Wednesday, Crean said that Davis continues to make progress and is being visited by teammates throughout the day.

“I think our guys, just like our staff and just like Devin’s family, are learning that you take absolutely nothing for granted with anything,” said Crean.

Not even something as simple as an opening exhibition game.