No. 22 Seton Hall looks to add to Indiana’s tough start (Nov 15, 2017)

NEWARK, N.J. — A young Indiana squad beset by injuries will be tested when it faces No. 22 Seton Hall on Wednesday at the Prudential Center.

It’s only the fourth meeting between the schools and the first since Indiana (1-1) prevailed 83-69 in 1998. The Hoosiers lead the series 2-1. The Pirates (2-0) notched a win in the 1988 NCAA West Regional semifinal, 78-65, in Denver.

Coach Archie Miller, in his first season with the Hoosiers, has an inexperienced squad that lost its season opener 90-69 to Indiana State. Freshman forward Justin Smith filled in for the injured Juwan Morgan and had 16 points and 12 rebounds in Sunday’s bounce-back win over Howard.

It was the first freshman double-double for Indiana since Thomas Bryant had 12 points and 11 rebounds at Iowa in 2016.

Freshman guard Aljami Durham came off the bench and had 16 points, three rebounds and three assists against Howard.

The Hoosiers have been hit early this season by the injury bug. Senior forward Collin Hartman has not played in the regular season due to a groin injury, Morgan injured his ankle early in the game against Howard and did not return. The duo has a combined 58 career starts.

“Justin had a good game (against Howard) because he was given an opportunity to play inside and around the paint area,” Miller said. “He got some catches in there around the bucket. Where he’s going to be at his best right now early in his career is either finishing, rebounding or attacking the basket in tight areas.

“Al (Durham) has a high-level IQ for a freshman. You can just watch him play and some of the plays he makes, he makes them look easy.”

Durham will have his hands full dealing with Seton Hall’s three-quarter trap. In the two wins against Fairleigh Dickinson and Monmouth, the Pirates forced 38 turnovers which led to 43 points.

In addition to its swarming defense, coach Kevin Willard’s squad, with four starting seniors, has relied on an unselfish brand. Although his shooting has been off, Khadeen Carrington’s transition from shooting guard to the point has been seamless. He has 10 assists to just two turnovers.

“He’s (Carrington) in such a different role right now,” Willard said. “He’s missing shots right now because he’s not used to the load he’s carrying. Once we get four or five games, he will start making shots.”

Freshman Myles Cale has emerged as a scoring option off the bench for Seton Hall. He tossed in 12 points on eight shots in the 75-65 win over Monmouth. His offseason was sidetracked by a torn labrum in his left shoulder.

“For a kid (Cale) who had surgery in April and did not start practicing until Oct. 7, he’s worked hard to get his game back,” Willard said. “I don’t think it’s where it was before he got hurt, but as he gets more comfortable you’ll see a really good player.”