- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Defense has been on the minds of the Indiana basketball team since a decisive loss to Duke Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

It was the most emphasized point in practice for two days and it showed in Indiana’s play Saturday night.

Forcing 16 first half turnovers and 23 for the game, Indiana bounced back with a 92-59 victory over Morehead State Saturday night.

“Tonight, we played with more aggressiveness,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean. “We were a little more connected in our coverages and especially with the switching. Their mindset was excellent. They were rotating well. We were drawing charges. I was just really proud of the effort, energy, attitude and the way they responded.”

Indiana had dropped a 94-74 decision to Duke.

Troy Williams scored 16 points and Yogi Ferrell added 15 with seven assists as Indiana (6-3) had a balanced attack with five players scoring in double figures. IU has had at least five players score in double figures in all five home games this season. James Blackmon Jr. scored 15 points. Freshman center Thomas Bryant had 14 and led IU with six rebounds. Max Bielfeldt scored 12.

Indiana’s defense was solid throughout the game. In the first half, IU forced two 30-second shot clock violations and had two other times where the Eagles scored at the shot clock buzzer. More evidence of the good defensive play was a season-high seven blocks and seven steals.

“I think we knew our defense needed to get better and we really worked on it the past two days,” Bielfeldt said. “I think we emphasized these past couple of days, all five playing one big defense collectively rather than each guy trying to take their own match-up. I think the help we had showed. We had guys off the ball getting steals, and it was fun to see guys playing together, all five as one unit.”

Ferrell said the key for Indiana was that the Hoosiers played like they had practiced the last two days.

“We wanted to go out there and take away their tendencies,” Ferrell said. “I feel like it’s another step as a team to come together collectively and play together on defense.”

Morehead State coach Sean Woods noticed the defensive changes, too.

“It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they hadn’t been good defensively,” Woods said. “They all impressed me. They stuck to the script and they all defended. Watching them on film, they had not been very tough defensively, and I thought they did a good job of being much tougher tonight. I tip my hat to a team like that.”

Indiana broke the game open with an 18-0 run in the first half that turned a 13-12 deficit into a 30-13 lead with 8:36 to play in the half.

Morehead State (5-2) was led by Lyonell Gaines with 13 points. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Eagles.

TIP-INS

Morehead State: The Eagles had won four in a row including victories over Southern Mississippi and Saint Louis. They were looking for their first 6-1 start since 1985-86. . Morehead State was averaging 13 turnovers per game coming into the game. They had 16 Saturday in the first half alone.

Indiana: Max Bielfeldt scored his Indiana career-high with 12 points. His previous best at IU was 11. His career-high, set when playing at Michigan, was 18 points. Bielfeldt also had a career-high three blocks. . The Hoosiers are 5-0 all-time against Morehead State

UP NEXT

Morehead State: Morehead State is off until Sunday, Dec. 13 when it travels to play Pittsburgh at 4 p.m.

Indiana: Indiana plays host to IPFW on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

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