BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)—Devan Dumes scored 21 points and freshman Verdell Jones added 18, helping Indiana open the Tom Crean era with an 83-65 victory over Northwestern State on Saturday night.
The Hoosiers won their 11th straight season opener, but few were as challenging as this one. With 14 new players on the roster, just four players with any Division I experience and only three taller than 6-foot-6, Hoosiers fans weren’t sure what to expect.
While Indiana lacked some of its usual skills, it played with enough passion and desire to overcome any obstacles.
Northwestern State was led by Damon Jones with 17 points and Kalem Porterie with 12 but made far too many mistakes to pull off its first victory over a power conference school since the 2006 NCAA tournament.
Not surprisingly, the young Hoosiers looked restless early as Northwestern State jumped to a 12-5 lead.
But with the Demons averaging nearly a turnover and a foul per mintue during the first half, the Hoosiers finally settled down. Slowly, they climbed back into the game and then used a 15-3 spurt that included just three baskets to build a 28-21 lead with 7:19 left in the half.
Indiana looked better in the second half. As it continued forcing turnovers and drawing fouls, the Hoosiers turned a 38-29 halftime lead into a 45-32 advantage in less than two minutes.
They finally sealed with a 9-2 run over a five-minute stretch that ended midway through the second half with Indiana holding a 60-42 edge.
Northwestern State finished with 30 turnovers and 35 fouls.