Indiana looks to win back-to-back games for the first time in over a month when it hosts Youngstown State on Friday. The Hoosiers bounced back from their disappointing 92-72 setback to Fort Wayne on Dec. 18 with an 87-59 victory against Tennessee Tech three days later to move back over .500. and they hope to avoid dropping six non-conference games in the same season since 2009-10.
“We had to respond,” Indiana guard Josh Newkirk told reporters. “We had to get back and fix some things, so it was important to bounce back and get our momentum going.” The Hoosiers will face Youngstown State for the first time, but have won their last three matchups with Horizon League opponents by an average margin of 22 points. Indiana is 5-1 when scoring 80 or more points this season and aims to hit the magic number against the Penguins, who have given up at least 80 points in 10 of their 12 games in 2017-18. Youngstown State is heading in the wrong direction following a 91-74 loss to Utah State and hopes to end its eight-game slide by notching its first road win of the season.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
ABOUT YOUNGSTOWN STATE (2-10): Senior guard Cameron Morse led the way with 23 points to go along with five rebounds in the loss to Utah State and needs 12 points to become the ninth player in program history to reach 1,600 for his career. Braun Hartfield added 12 points and four assists, while Garrett Covington scored 10 points in the loss to the Aggies. Naz Bohannon provided a spark off the bench with a team-high nine rebounds to go along with five points as the Penguins won the battle of the boards 36-29.
ABOUT INDIANA (7-6): Newkirk went 3-of-4 from 3-point range en route to a season-high 20 points to go along with six assists and four rebounds in the win against Tennessee Tech. “I let the game come to me,” Newkirk said. “My teammates did a good job finding me in open spots and I just knocked down shots.” Robert Johnson added 12 points and needs 17 more to move past Cody Zeller for 39th place on the Hoosiers’ all-time scoring list, while Freddie McSwain Jr. matched his career high with 10 points and pulled down six rebounds.
1. With 195 career-3-pointers, Johnson needs two more to crack Indiana’s top-five list.
2. Newkirk has registered four career 20-point games.
3. Morse needs four points to move into the Horizon League’s Top 50 all-time scoring list.
PREDICTION: Indiana 88, Youngstown State 68