News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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November 26, 2013

Young Evansville team unable to threaten Indiana

Hoosiers pull away for 77-46 win

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana coach Tom Crean surprised everyone by starting senior walk-on Jeff Howard. Evansville didn’t give themselves the chance to surprise the Hoosiers.

The Aces dug themselves a hole with a woeful shooting start and Indiana rolled to a 77-46 win on Tuesday.

Evansville came in averaging 90.2 ppg. But the Aces (5-1) missed their first 11 shots and 13 of their first 14.

Meanwhile, the Hoosiers (6-1) were taking advantage of the young Aces to steadily march to the free throw line. IU was 12-of-16 from the line in the first half and 25-of-35 overall.

It’s not as if the Hoosiers had a stellar shooting night themselves, hitting just 40.7 percent (24-of-59) from the field.

The Aces started two freshmen and three sophomores, and their inexperience may have been a factor in the slow start. But with the Hoosiers unable to pull away, Evansville hung tough, hitting 6-of-14 shots to close the first half and trailing just 33-19.

Evansville cut the lead to 35-24 on a layup by Duane Gibson. But he missed a free throw, and Yogi Ferrell hit a 3-pointer. The Aces wouldn't get closer than 12 points again.

D.J. Balentine came into the game fourth in the nation in scoring, averaging 29.6 ppg. But he managed just 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting, missing all five of his 3-point tries.

Jeremy Hollowell, whose spot in the starting lineup was taken by Howard, came off the bench to score a game-high 18 points.

“I found out before the game I was starting," Howard said. "Coach did what he did for his reasons."

Hollowell said Howard did a great job.

Crean said the decision to start Howard over Hollowelll wasn't based on any drive to "start a fire" under Hollowell.

"Over the last few days, I looked at a guy who epitomized what we wanted in energy and communication," Crean said of Howard, who had never started a game at IU. "I thought Jeff established what we were out there to do."

Howard played a career-high 15 minutes and had two points and a career-high three rebounds.

Noah Vonleh had his fifth double-double, with 13 points and 12 rebounds, including his first 3-pointer.

"It was wide open. They backed off me," Vonleh said of his decision to shoot.

Ferrell added 10 points.

Gibson was the only other Evansville player to score in double figures; he had 10 points.

Evansville has never beaten the Hoosiers, falling to 0-9 all-time against IU.

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