Indiana looks to win back-to-back games for the first time this season when it hosts Arkansas State as part of the Hoosier Tip-Off Classic on Wednesday. The Hoosiers have stumbled out of the starting blocks under new head coach Archie Miller, dropping two of their first four games, including a disappointing 90-69 home loss to Indiana State, but hope to get on the right track by building off a 70-53 win over South Florida on Sunday.
“We’re getting there as they’re starting to understand this is the way it will be,” Miller told reporters. “Moving forward, we’ve got to turn it up a level defensively and keep the effort level going.” Indiana has forced 34 turnovers in its last two games and aims to put the defensive clamps on Arkansas State, which has dropped three straight games to Big Ten opponents since the 2013-14 season. The Hoosiers have won 24 of their last 25 non-conference home games, including an 86-77 victory over mutual opponent Howard on Nov. 12. The Red Wolves moved back to .500 following a 92-78 win against the Bison on Monday and hope to hand first-year head coach Mike Balado a signature win in Bloomington.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
ABOUT ARKANSAS STATE (2-2): Junior guard Ty Cockfield registered a season-high 25 points, seven rebounds and three assists to lift the Red Wolves past Howard. Rashad Lindsey added a season-best 17 points and four assists while Tamas Bruce scored 14 points as Arkansas State shot 60 percent from the floor in the second half. “Ty Cockfield obviously did a great job scoring the ball and, as a whole, everybody gave something,” Balado told reporters. “Our strength is strength in numbers, so I’m happy that we came out and played hard and were able to win the game.”
ABOUT INDIANA (2-2): Senior guard Robert Johnson led the way with 21 points while Juwan Morgan went 9-of-10 from the free-throw line en route to 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in the win against South Florida to record the second double-double of his career. “Rob’s unbelievable and he’s doing a great job,” Miller said. “When you’re the guy we count on the most, you expect him to be aggressive and we need Rob to be that guy.” De’Ron Davis added 12 points and five rebounds while Aljami Durham came off the bench to register nine points, five boards and four assists against the Bullls.
1. Indiana has been held to 70 points or fewer in three of its first four games.
2. Johnson has scored 20 or more points six times in his career.
3. Arkansas State has lost six straight road games dating back to last season.
PREDICTION: Indiana 77, Arkansas State 63