TERRE HAUTE —
While the Hoosiers’ schedule so far has its share of weak opponents, No. 6 Indiana is the top scoring team in the nation with an average of 89.2 points per game.
Heading into today’s game against Florida Atlantic (5-6), the Hoosiers’ aptitude for sharing the ball and finding the open teammate has impressed coach Tom Crean. The Hoosiers and Owls tip-off at 7 p.m. on ESPN2.
IU had 27 assists in Wednesday’s victory against Mount St. Mary’s.
“I think these guys are committed to making the next pass. We need people to score. We want to score, sometimes, in a hurry, but never at the expense of the next pass or the best shot. I think the way our guys are moving without the ball and the force of their cuts and the spacing, but most importantly the looking for the next pass, is what’s helping our team as much as anything,” Crean said.
IU players are assisting teammates on 58.4 percent of their made buckets, and senior Jordan Hulls is playing a big role in that. Hulls ranks second in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio and fifth in the league in assists. Hulls had five of the Hoosiers’ 27 assists on Wednesday, tying for second on the team to freshman Yogi Ferrell, who had nine. The IU backcourt duo has combined for 112 of the Hoosiers’ 197 assists through 11 games.
“I have always wanted to be a good decision maker, although last night [against Mount St. Mary’s] I had more turnovers than I wanted. I have always wanted to have a positive assist-to-turnover ratio and it helps a lot to have [Ferrell] in the game with me because he can handle the ball too so I don’t have to have it in my hands all the time. So having him helps, but it is something that I have to do in order for us to win,” Hulls said.
The senior from Bloomington looks forward to the Hoosiers’ contest over break against a team with some offensive talent as well.
“We have to have good transition defense, they like to get out and run and shoot 3-pointers,” Hulls said. “They have really good players who can score the ball so we have to focus on that and we can’t have any miscommunication on defense. That is going to be the biggest thing for us.”
The Owls are coached by former George Washington and St. John’s coach Mike Jarvis, who is in his fifth year at FAU.
Greg Gant, a 6-foot-2 senior guard is averaging 21.5 points for the Owls.
“They can really score. [Greg] Gant can really score the ball. They move the ball well and they run a ton of screening actions. They utilize them really well, whether they are curling or clearing out to look for a drive or using the 3-point line. Any Mike Jarvis team is going to be a well-coached, disciplined team,” Crean said. “My last time coaching against Mike was when I was at Marquette and he was at St. John’s and I have been a Mike Jarvis fan, and more importantly a friend, for a very long time.”