MONTREAL — Freshman James Blackmon Jr. of Marion, Ind., scored 21 points as the visiting Indiana Hoosiers coasted to a 96-69 victory over McGill University in a preseason NCAA-CIS college hoops matchup at Love Competition Hall, Tuesday.
It was the 114th season opener for the Redmen and the result dropped McGill’s record to 3-7 in their last 10 confrontations against NCAA Div. 1 teams, dating back to 2011.
McGill team captain Vincent Dufort, sporting a facial mask to protect a recently broken nose, led the way with a “double-double” in a game-high 32 minutes of court time. The senior from Smiths Falls, Ont., matched Blackmon with 21 points and also pulled down a game-high dozen rebounds before fouling out in the final quarter. He made nine of 14 shots from the floor, including a 2-for-4 effort from three-point range, and went 1-for-1 from the free-throw line. He added six assists, three steals and a blocked shot.
Teammate Francois Bourque, a sophomore from Terrebonne, Que., was the only other Redmen player to reach double figures. He tallied 15 points, shooting 7-for-10 from the field and 1-for-2 from the line. Rookie Noah Daoust added seven points in his collegiate debut for McGill and the trio of Thomas Lacy, Ave Bross and freshman Jawara Pedican were next on the scoresheet with six points apiece. Pedican, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound shooting guard, came off the bench to rack up 27 minutes of playing time, the second-highest total in the contest.
Blackmon was one of five Hoosiers to reach double figures in scoring, he was joined by sophomore Troy Williams (18), redshirt junior Nick Zeisloft (15), sophomore Stanford Robinson (14) and junior Kevin Yogi Ferrell (11).
Indiana led 28-17 after the opening quarter and took a 34-12 lead into halftime. The Redmen outscored IU 40-34 in the second half, including a 27-14 margin in the third quarter.
“I thought we played well in stages,” said John Dangelas, acting head coach for the Redmen while bench boss David DeAveiro is overseas with the Canadian national under-17 squad at the FIBA world championships in Dubai.
“We came out and did some good things over the first six minutes but we then had some unfortunate turnovers and missed lay-ups. You can’t do that against a quality team like Indiana and expect to be there at the end. We got into a bad rut towards the end of the first quarter and in the second quarter. We made an adjustment at halftime against their zone offence. We hadn’t really had a chance to work against the zone yet with only nine hours of practice under our belts. The guys were kind of lost and not moving the ball around well. But after the adjustments, we came out stronger and that really lifted our spirits up and we played with more confidence in the second half.”
It was the fourth game in five nights for the Hoosiers, who had 10 practice sessions before leaving Indiana and improved to 3-1 with one game remaining in their international Canadian tour. IU defeated Laval 110-70 on Aug. 8, followed by a surprising 109-101 setback to Ottawa (Aug. 9) and a 95-85 conquest at Carleton (Aug. 11). They will close out the cross-border excursion with a matinee against the University of Quebec at Montreal on Wednesday at 1 p.m.
“I didn’t have expectations one way of the other (against the CIS teams), other than (knowing) that it would be extremely competive,” said Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean. “I didn’t know the (quality of the) programs but I knew John (Dangelas) and I knew of the programs. (Canada has) a lot of players coming over to the United States and playing the way they are in college and in the pros, you know its pretty good over here… It’s been fantastic for us to see the different pace. To understand how quick you have to be decision-making wise (with the 24-second shot clock), how strong you have to be with the ball… To me, that’s a great learning tool for us.”
The Hoosiers shot 48 per cent over the game, but started out hot in the first half, connecting on 22-of-39. McGill connected on just 38.7 per cent from the floor and hit only 7-of-28 attempts from behind the three-point line. Indiana also converted 15-of-16 at the free-throw line while McGill only went to the line nine times and came away with just four baskets. The Hoosiers had a 48-40 difference in rebounds, a 16-10 margin in steals and a 3-1 edge in blocked shots. IU committed 23 turnovers to McGill’s 21.
McGill (0-1), the defending RSEQ conference champions, also have three other NCAA squads on their home schedule, which includes the Memphis Tigers (Aug. 18) from Tennessee, the Loyola University Maryland Greyhounds (Aug. 26) of Baltimore, Md., and the Fordham Rams (Aug. 28) from Bronx, N.Y.
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