BLOOMINGTON – After rolling through seven straight low- and mid-major opponents to open the season, a young Indiana team handled a step up in competition with the poise of a more experienced group.
The Hoosiers built a 15-point lead in the first half and held off a second-half charge from No. 17 Florida State to win 80-64 behind a career-high 30 points from Devonte Green, including five 3-pointers, and 15 points and eight rebounds from Trayce Jackson-Davis on Tuesday at Assembly Hall in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
"A lot of people have been saying, 'They've been playing smaller teams, how are they going to do against the big dogs?'" Jackson-Davis said. "Well, you witnessed it tonight."
Green made two of the biggest baskets of the second half, beating his man with a terrific behind-the-back dribble and driving for a layup and following that with a tough fadeaway 20-foot jumper to put the Hoosiers (8-0) in front 69-58 with less than four minutes left.
The senior guard scored 16 of his points in the second half and went 10 for 15 from the field in the game. He added six rebounds and three assists and drew high praise from coach Archie Miller.
"Devonte Green was special tonight," Miller said. "There wasn't a whole lot of coaching that went into anything he did. As usual, when he's good, he's good on his own. ... He rose to the level that a senior guard, in that game, that you hope is able to do.
"Not get 30 (points), but just make the plays to alleviate some of the pressure and he made almost every single one of them for us."
A Damezi Anderson 3-pointer on a kick-out pass from Armaan Franklin less than a minute after Green's back-to-back baskets made it a 10-0 run and a 14-point Indiana lead.
That run came as Florida State (7-2) was in the middle of a 1-for-9 stretch on offense. The Seminoles went nearly three minutes without scoring as the Hoosiers pulled away.
Florida State came out hot in the second half from beyond the 3-point line, hitting four of its first six attempts after halftime to cut what had been an 11-point margin at the break to just three multiple times. Thanks to Green's playmaking and calming influences from veterans such as Justin Smith, the Hoosiers weathered the storm and never gave up the lead.
"We have taken big, big strides in the last couple games defensively," said Smith, who finished with 14 points and five rebounds. "This was our first time playing where we had the atmosphere we had and a bigger team that we were playing against, a lot of different players who do a lot of different things.
"So, especially in the first half, we really rose to the challenge. And in the second half we kind of got away from it at the beginning, but we were able to really buckle down and get defensive stops when it really mattered the most."
The Hoosiers built their lead in the first half with good defense and an offensive onslaught from Green. After Florida State went in front 11-4, the Seminoles missed five straight field goal attempts and turned the ball over three times during a 12-0 Indiana run that put the Hoosiers in front for the rest of the game.
Franklin started the spurt with a 3-pointer and finished it with a layup on a drive to the rim. The freshman contributed a career-high nine points and added four rebounds.
Later in the half, Indiana extended its advantage to 37-22 with a 15-2 spurt that included 3-pointers on three consecutive possessions from Green, one of which came after a nifty stepback dribble.
"Green light," Jackson-Davis said of watching the senior get in a rhythm. "That's what I think, every time (he shoots)."
The Hoosiers stayed in front thanks in part to a 35-25 advantage in rebounding. Jackson-Davis's eight boards led the way and Miller called the freshman a "monster" on the glass. Indiana came into the game third in the nation in average rebounding margin at plus-12.
"(Florida State) brings four or five to the glass," Smith said. "So we really had to focus on boxing our man out, especially the bigger guys. And then going after the balls, not just letting them bounce. Bringing them in with two hands and being aggressive on the glass."
Indiana shot 56% from the field and got to the foul line 38 times, making 23.
The Hoosiers also made sure to note the boost they got from the announced sell-out crowd of 17,222.
"They brought a lot of energy," Smith said. "They really helped us when we were going on a couple runs. And when (the Seminoles) started coming back, they really gave us energy. This is the best place to play in college basketball."
Note: Indiana point guard Robert Phinisee did not play for the third consecutive game. Miller said Phinisee looked "great" in practice Monday, but twisted his ankle during a drill, setting him back. The sophomore was in a walking boot during the game, but Miller said there is a chance he plays Saturday at Wisconsin.