BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)Tamar Bates scored 19 points, Jalen Hood-Schifino added 18 and No. 18 Indiana fended off Kennesaw State 69-55 on Friday night.
The game was tied 43-all with 9:49 remaining when Miller Kopp hit a 3-pointer and Bates made another to push Indiana ahead to stay. Hood-Schifino scored seven points down the stretch as the Hoosiers (10-3) pulled away.
”Just depending on the flow of the game, I always want to try to pick my spots and bring us some energy,” said Bates, a sophomore reserve guard. ”We needed that tonight. It wasn’t necessarily a slow start, but there wasn’t too much energy on both ends of the floor.”
Bates and Hood-Schifino, a freshman point guard, combined to make 9 of 12 shots for 27 points in the second half.
”Guys are going to have to step up,” Indiana coach Mike Woodson said. ”We’re a little short-handed. Tamar is starting to figure it out. He’s done some good things for us throughout the 13 games we have played. It’s just that his minutes now are going to increase because we’re going to need him to make plays for us.”
Kasen Jennings led the Owls (8-5) with 11 points.
Hoosiers leading scorer Trayce Jackson-Davis, who averages 16.4 points and 8.3 rebounds, missed his second consecutive game and third of the season for what the school said were precautionary reasons. He’s been dealing with a lower back injury since November. Point guard Xavier Johnson is out indefinitely after having foot surgery.
Woodson still has concerns about his players’ intensity, making reference to double-digit losses to Arizona and Kansas, both top-five teams.
”Arizona and Kansas were two games that we just didn’t show up,” he said. ”They taught us how to play hard.”
So did Kennesaw State, for a half.
The Owls hit six 3-pointers and led by as many as eight points in the first half before the Hoosiers rallied to tie the game 27-all at the break. Kennesaw State finished with 10 3-pointers.
”I thought they played harder than we did in the first half,” Woodson said.
Kennesaw State: Despite dropping to 0-10 against Big Ten teams, the Owls have impressed with several firsts, including their first nonconference winning record and most wins as a Division I program before Jan. 1. Playing Indiana tough is encouraging.
Indiana: His offense stagnant for much of the first half, Woodson has some work to do with a team that relies so heavily on Jackson-Davis. Not having the 6-foot-9 senior center for two games has revealed some weaknesses in the depth around him.
Kennesaw State: Hosts Central Arkansas on Dec. 31.
Indiana: Visits Iowa on Jan. 5.
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