BOZICH | Blackmon's emergence tops Indiana's 5 Takeaways From Ca - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Blackmon's emergence tops Indiana's 5 Takeaways From Canadian Trip

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Montreal is known for the Canadiens, classic restaurants, European architecture and summer college basketball tours.

OK, I made the last one up.

But the Montreal area has been home for the Indiana basketball team for the last week. The Hoosiers concluded a string of five exhibition games in six days with a 109-77 victory over the University of Quebec at Montreal Wednesday afternoon.

IU won four of five games on the trip, splitting the two most difficult assignments. On Sunday, the Hoosiers lost (109-101) to the Ottawa Gee Gees, the team that won the Canadian collegiate national title last season. But they rallied to win their last three games, including a victory over Carleton University (95-85), a program that beat Wisconsin last summer.

Five quick takeaways from the Hoosiers' journey through customs.

1. The Hoosiers Can Shoot. Indiana's three-point shooting slipped last season in the absence of Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo. Tom Crean concentrated on recruiting shooters in the 2014 class – and they delivered in Canada.

IU made 42 of 99 three-point shots in Canada, hitting at least seven threes in every game.

Freshman guard James Blackmon Jr. played like a McDonald's all-American, scoring at least 14 points in every game while leading IU with a scoring average of 18.8 per game.

Several recruiting services identified Blackmon as the best high school shooter in the nation last winter – and he looked the part. Blackmon made nine three-pointers while shooting 58 percent for the tour.

2. Ferrell Gets Help. Noah Vonleh was IU's NBA Lottery pick in June, but it was point guard Yogi Ferrell who was Mr. Indispensable last season. He led IU in scoring (17.3) by nearly 6 points per game and shot 40 percent from the three-point line.

Ferrell, a junior, remains Indiana's best player, but he'll have more help in the backcourt. Blackmon and fellow freshman Robert Johnson both showed the ability to play point guard.

Ferrell only led Indiana in scoring in two games. Williams was the top scorer twice, Blackmon once. Ferrell averaged 15.4, less than Blackmon or Troy Williams, who contributed 18.4. Stanford Robinson, another sophomore, averaged 12 per game.

3. IU's Inside Game Remains A Mystery: After two seasons of Cody Zeller and one year of Noah Vonleh, Indiana hopes that junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea delivers in the middle this season, with assistance from freshman Jeremiah April.

Can they do it?

Stay tuned.

Crean does not have a clearer answer today than he did a week ago. Neither Mosquera-Perea (visa issues) nor April (ankle) played in Canada. In fact, Mosquera-Perea never left Bloomington.

The Hoosiers depended on a three-guard attack, paired with two 6-foot-7 forwards – sophomores Troy Williams and Devin Davis. No wonder Indiana was unable to outrebound either of the two best teams it played.

Williams (6.4) and Davis (7.6) were Indiana's top two rebounders.

4. The Z-Factor. You've likely never heard of Nick Zeisloft. I'd never heard of Nick Zeisloft until June.

That's when Zeisloft announced that he planned to transfer from Illinois State to IU's Kelley School of Business and pursue an MBA. He earned his undergraduate degree in three seasons. He is already eligible.

Zeisloft averaged only 6.9 points last season. If you read the fine print, you'll see that Zeisloft shot nearly 36 percent from the three-point line and took 169 of his 196 shots from the three-point line.

Crean saw Zeisloft as an ideal complement to Ferrell, Blackmon and freshman Robert Johnson, guys who can penetrate and dish to a shooter on the wing or in the corner.

That's how it worked in Canada. Zeisloft was terrific from the three-point line, making 11 of 20 three-pointers. Even better, he only turned the ball over three times in 107 minutes.

5. Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers. Turnovers were an issue for Indiana last season. The Hoosiers ranked 329th in the nation in turnovers, making 15.1 per game.

Maybe Crean can have his guys dribble basketballs to class because the Hoosiers averaged 16 turnovers per game in Canada, committing 80, one more than their opponents. (The game is faster in Canada, which uses the NBA-style 24-second shot clock, creating more possessions.)

Final numbers for the trip: IU shot 55 percent from the field, 42 percent from the three-point line while averaging 41.6 rebounds. The Hoosiers' opponents shot 43 percent from the field, 35 percent from the three-point line while averaging 34.4 rebounds.

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