BLOOMINGTON — By getting to the free-throw line often and controlling the boards, Indiana has managed to get off to an undefeated start.
The Hoosiers (6-0) will look to close November with a perfect record on Saturday when they host South Dakota State (4 p.m., Big Ten Network Plus). The Jackrabbits (9-3), under first-year coach Eric Henderson, have won two straight and are coming off an 86-77 win Wednesday over Samford. Last week, South Dakota State took No. 14 Arizona down to the wire before falling 71-64.
“Watched them play Arizona a little bit last week,” Indiana coach Archie Miller said. “They were great in that game. And, eventually, as we told the guys, we have to put together a full 40 (minutes) on both ends of the floor.”
Indiana leads the nation in both free throws attempted (30.8 per game) and free throws made (23.2 per game). From the field, Indiana has managed to find and make high-percentage shots, shooting 53%, which ranks third in the nation.
On the glass, IU is plus-11.3 in rebounding margin and is averaging 13.2 second-chance points.
That inside formula has helped Indiana average 90.2 points overall, which ranks second in the nation.
But IU was far from efficient offensively in its last outing, turning the ball over 12 times in the second half and 18 times in the game in an 88-75 win Monday over Louisiana Tech. Miller described the second half as “hard to watch,” and IU will get another test against a South Dakota State team that is turning over opponents 12.2 times per game.
Miller is challenging his two most experienced guards, senior Devonte Green and junior Al Durham, to settle the offense down during stretches when turnovers happen.
“You can’t go possession after possession of ineptness out there,” Miller said. “I think that’s where those two guys have to see the big picture of leadership, floor generals, command of the game.”
The return of sophomore point guard Rob Phinisee could also help. Phinisee sat out the Louisiana Tech game with abdominal and rib injuries.
Indiana has shown good balance early, with four players averaging double figures in scoring. Durham is averaging a team-high 15.2 points per game, while freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis is averaging 15 points and 8.8 rebounds.
“We’ve got confidence in each other,” Durham said. “We feel like if we pass the ball to one of our teammates, we feel he can either knock it out or make a great decision for someone else.”