No. 9 Indiana aiming for 24th in row at home
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A five-day game break should have No. 9 Indiana refreshed and ready for a Saturday afternoon visit from Houston Baptist at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
The Hoosiers (7-1) will be looking to extend their home winning streak to 24 games, sixth longest in program history, in a first-ever meeting with the Huskies (3-4). Indiana is 8-0 all-time against the Southland Conference while Houston Baptist is 0-4 against the Big Ten.
Indiana is the Big Ten's highest-ranked team and won four home games in eight days through last Sunday to jump into the top 10. The streak included a 76-67 victory over then-No. 3 North Carolina.
Houston Baptist has won all three home games but lost its four road games by a combined 77 points. The Huskies used a 16-point run in the second half to defeat visiting Saint Peters 62-47 on Wednesday.
Senior forward Colter Lasher leads Houston Baptist at 13.7 points per game. Junior 6-foot-11 center Josh Ibarra is averaging 10.7 points and 6.4 rebounds. Ibarra had a season-high 16 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season on Wednesday.
Huskies coach Ron Cottrell, in his 26th year, is the eighth-longest tenured active coach in NCAA Division I with a 455-344 career mark (.569). His team averages 82.6 points while allowing 80 per game.
“They score a lot of points, their average time of possession is 15 seconds so they have a fast pace of game,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said on a radio show. “We don't want to be out there trading baskets, we want to get out and get our break.”
Houston Baptist's ability to score will be severely tested by the Hoosiers, whose opponents have shot just 37.4 percent from the field. In the last four games, Indiana opponents have scored 58.5 points per game.
The Hoosiers have limited opponents to just 28.6 percent 3-point shooting in each of the last six games, the longest such stretch since 2008-09.
“We're getting better, no doubt about it,” Crean said.
Indiana junior guard James Blackmon averages a team-high 16.7 points and is shooting 40.4 percent from 3-point range. He's also averaging 7.1 rebounds. Junior guard Robert Johnson is hitting 55.7 percent of his shots with a 12.8-point average.
Hoosiers sophomore forward Juwan Morgan has started the past two games for injured sophomore OG Anunoby (left sprained ankle) and has made all 12 of his shots, averaging 14.5 points while grabbing 6.5 rebounds in those games. Freshman reserve forward De'Ron Davis scored 14 points in back-to-back games, making 19-of-31 shots.
Since 2011-12, the Hoosiers have had the Big Ten's best offense at 78.1 points per game, a 47.9 field-goal percentage and 40.1 3-point shooting percentage. Indiana leads all major conference schools in field goal percentage and 3-point percentage during that same time frame.