Indiana University Wins First Exhibition Game

Indiana University kicked off its men’s basketball season by taking on Grace College. Unfortunately for most Indianapolis basketball fans, the game wasn’t televised. Either you made the trip to Bloomington, Indiana, or listened to it on WLHK 97.1 Hank FM. If you did neither and are looking for a quick recap of Wednesday night’s action, then has you covered.

Grace College is an NAIA school located just south of Warsaw, Indiana. Despite the obvious mismatch, the Lancers actually gave the Hoosiers a run for their money in the first half. Led by Elliot Smith and David Henry (of Brownsburg, IN), Grace found themselves in a 36-all tie with 90 seconds remaining in the first half. Three quick buckets by the Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls, and Maurice Creek — all members of the highly regarded freshman class — pushed the IU lead to 42-36 at the half, and they never looked back.

Led by Christian Watford’s 12 second half points, Indiana outscored the Lancers 54-37 in the second half. Most impressive for the Hoosiers was the play of the six newcomers. Jeremiah Rivers, a junior transfer from Georgetown, played outstanding defense and exhibited some much needed leadership capabilities. Big men Bobby Capobianco and Derek Elston, from Tipton, IN, combined for 14 rebounds, and Maurice Creek showed great athleticism on his way to three steals. Jordan Hulls shot 5-of-6 from the floor, and didn’t commit a turnover while dishing out three assists. Indianapolis sports fans who followed Hulls’ career at Bloomington South High School already know of his elite level court vision, but casual Hoosier fans are in for a treat when they see the point guard for the first time.

The real star of the exhibition though was Watford. The 6’9″ forward from Alabama finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds, and hit an impressive 9 out of 9 free throw attempts. Although it came against inferior opposition, the play of six newbies, and Watford in particular, had to be an encouraging sign for the Hoosier Nation.

As for the returning players from last year’s 6-25 team, there’s only five scholarship players remaining. Of those five, only three are expected to contribute significant minutes. Tom Pritchard started and tallied a typically solid 12 points and 7 rebounds. A bulked up Verdell Jones III played a game-high 27 minutes and dished out eight assists to go with his 10 points. Three-point specialist Matt Roth hit 3-of-6 shots, although he was just 1-of-4 from behind the arc. The other two players, the scrappy Daniel Moore out of Carmel, IN, and the tall Tijan Jobe out of The Gambia, played sparingly.

The Hoosiers are back in action against Saint Joseph’s College on Sunday night at 7:00, but it’s still to be determined whether or not the game will be televised. If not, you can always check back with funcityfinder to keep updated on the Indy basketball scene.