Hoosiers’ stout defense shuts down Montana St. 80-35
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Juwan Morgan had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Justin Smith added 13 points Friday as Indiana blew out Montana State 80-35.
It’s the fewest points the Hoosiers have allowed on their home court since Notre Dame scored 29 in the first game ever played at Assembly Hall in December 1971. Indiana is 2-0 for the 10th time in 11 seasons.
Keljin Blevins scored 13 points for Montana State (0-2), which has lost nine straight including last season. The Bobcats are 1-11 all-time against Big Ten schools with their lone victory coming in 1930 against Purdue.
And this one was never close.
While the Hoosiers’ highly-touted freshman scorers struggled to break through against Montana State’s zone defense, they found other ways to contribute and kept Indiana in control all night.
The Hoosiers broke to an 8-2 lead, extended the margin to 24-12 and put it away with a 10-0 run that made it 36-13 late in the first half. Montana State missed 10 straight shots during that stretch.
Indiana opened the second half by scoring the first eight points to make it 51-19 and just kept pulling away.
Montana State: The Bobcats were simply overwhelmed. They were no match for Indiana’s bigger, stronger, deeper roster and it showed in every facet. At one point in the first half, Montana State had 13 points and 12 turnovers. The good news is things will get easier down the road for coach Brian Fish and his team.
Indiana: The Hoosiers cruised, as expected. But on a night the freshmen were held in check, Indiana demonstrated how far it has come in coach Archie Miller’s second season. They defended hard, played well and were patient enough to find other scoring options when their first one was taken away.
Montana State: The Bobcats have lost their first two games by 30 and 55 points. … They finished with 25 turnovers while going 14 of 55 from the field and 3 of 26 on 3-pointers. … Montana State’s top two scorers, Tyler Hall and Harald Frey, had seven and four points.
Indiana: Had a 48-18 scoring advantage in the paint. … Freshmen guards Romeo Langford and Rob Phinisee each scored 12. … Despite going 6 of 21 on 3s, the Hoosiers shot 56.1 percent from the field (32 of 57). … Indiana had a 40-35 rebounding advantage. … It’s the first time an opponent scored fewer than 40 points in Assembly Hall since an 80-37 victory over Morehead State on Dec. 2, 1978.
Montana State looks to end its skid Sunday when Presentation College, an NAIA school, visits Bozeman.
After two blowouts, Indiana faces its first big test Wednesday when Marquette visits Assembly Hall.