Indiana dominates Houston Baptist 103-61

James Blackmon, Jr. scored 18 points in Indiana's victory over Houston Baptist.
AJ Mast/AP

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — No. 9 Indiana stayed focused on the task at hand.

With a huge, upcoming matchup against No. 16 Butler looming, the Hoosiers (8-1) made sure they didn't look past Houston Baptist on Saturday.

James Blackmon Jr. scored 18 points, Robert Johnson added 16, and the Hoosiers dominated the Huskies 103-61.

Indiana had a slow start, trailing the Huskies (3-5) twice in the first eight minutes of the game. The Hoosiers, trailing 12-10, put together a 21-2 run over the next six minutes, distancing the Huskies from any realistic chance at keeping the game close enough to flirt with a potential upset.

Indiana led 42-27 at halftime. The Hoosiers outscored Houston Baptist 30-15 through the first 10 minutes of the second half.

“I think the second half, we just decided to really sit down and get stops on defense and string stops together. And I think when we do that, that allows us to get out in transition and get easy baskets,” Johnson said. “I think it translated well for us.”

Thomas Bryant finished with nine points and 13 rebounds for the Hoosiers, who outrebounded Houston Baptist 45-31. The Hoosiers ran their offense with a heavy emphasis on ball movement, tallying a total of 19 assists on 33 field goals.

Johnson attributed Indiana's offensive success to its ability to make the extra pass in an effort to always find the best shot. It's something the Hoosiers have bought into heavily this season, Johnson added. Faster ball movement predicated on quick decision-making was a point of emphasis during practice for Indiana.

Sophomore Zach McRoberts finished with four assists for Indiana.

“I think a big focus this week was to — little less dribbling, a little quicker decision-making and just get the ball out, get the ball in front of us,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “(Zach) moves the ball. He's such a willing mover, such a willing passer, such a ball mover.”

The Huskies trailed Indiana by as many as 42 points. The Hoosiers made 12 three-pointers, while Houston Baptist finished with two. Indiana had five players score in double figures and the Hoosiers' bench came up big for Indiana, outscoring Houston Baptist's bench 37-9.

Colter Lasher finished with 18 points for the Huskies. Houston Baptist shot just 37 percent from the field for the game (25 of 66). The Huskies also struggled from beyond the arc, missing 15 of their 17 three-point attempts.

“We weren't shooting the three-pointer nearly as much as we normally do,” Houston Baptist coach Ron Cotrell said. “We only shot 17 three-pointers tonight because we were trying to pound it inside. We wanted to try and finish some plays and get to the free throw line. We weren't successful in doing that.”

BIG PICTURE

The Hoosiers won't play a true road game until Jan. 10, when they visit Maryland. Indiana will play seven games leading up to that matchup with the Terrapins, all of which will be played in the state of Indiana. The Hoosiers will play two games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, with the remaining five played in Bloomington at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

POLL IMPLICATIONS: The Hoosiers will have six days to relax, recuperate and prepare for No. 16 Butler. The Hoosiers and the Bulldogs will face off at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in the annual Crossroads Classic.

UNPREDICTABLE

Crean said OG Anunoby has been cleared to play Saturday when the Hoosiers take on Butler. However, Crean noted how hard it is to predict just how effective the standout sophomore will be. Anunoby missed his third straight game due to an ankle sprain he suffered against North Carolina.

UP NEXT:

Houston Baptist travels to Northwestern on Thursday.

Indiana faces No. 16 Butler in Indianapolis on Saturday.