7 thoughts on Indiana basketball’s 69-63 win over Florida Gulf Coast

BLOOMINGTON — Indiana basketball veteran guard Trey Galloway has played in plenty of close games during his time in Bloomington.

He added another one to the list on Tuesday night when closed out a 69-63 over Florida Gulf Coast in the season-opener.

The Hoosiers railed from down 48-42 with 10:54 in the second half with Galloway helping lead the way.

“I liked our fight when we got down six late in the second half, because you could easily break there and kind of fall apart,” Galloway said. “We made that run and got back in it with our intensity and defensive energy and our stance.

I think just knowing that we got guys willing to fight when things aren’t going well, I like to see that. Obviously we got to be better and not put ourselves in that position, but to be able to climb out of that and come out with a win was huge for us.”

Here are seven thoughts on the victory:

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Mgbako played four minutes in the second half against Florida Gulf Coast. It was a quiet debut for the much hyped freshman, who finished the game with four points, three rebounds and one assist in 19 minutes.

Indiana coach Mike Woodson explained the lack of playing time by saying Mgbako, Kaleb Banks and CJ Gunn all need to figure out “what the hell we’re doing from a defensive standpoint.”

It goes without saying IU will need more from Mgbako (and soon).

2. Gabe Cupps fan club is open for membership

With Mgbako on the bench, the star freshman on Tuesday night was Cupps.

He entered the game with 12:01 and stayed on the floor until the buzzer sounded. He did a little bit of everything with a 3-pointer, assist and steal during that stretch, but it was his consistent effort on the defensive end that helped IU close out the victory.

“He’s a freshman, but didn’t play like a freshman,” Woodson said. “He’s capable of making plays. I mean, I followed this kid for some time now. That’s why he’s wearing an Indiana uniform. He’s a winner. He’s not going to get it right all the time, but he does a lot of winning plays that help you win games.”

3. Small ball wins the day

The lineup alongside Cupps included both Indiana’s starting guards Galloway and Xavier Johnson, Malik Reneau and Kel’el Ware. Woodson was pleased to see how effective they played extended minutes together for the first time, but that lineup won’t be something they can rely on against certain opponents.

“They were small, too, you know. I mean, I was basically looking at it from a defensive standpoint,” Woodson said.

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4. IU’s second unit struggles

Woodson opened the week heaping praise on a second unit that played well during the team’s exhibition games. The group was mostly a non-factor against the Eagles outside of Cupps.

Anthony Walker was first off the bench and was active around the rim, but appeared to draw Woodson’s ire a couple of times for missed defensive assignments. Cupps was IU’s only player off the bench with a field goal.

Woodson only played seven guys double-digit minutes.

5. Oregon’s loss is the Hoosiers gain

Kel’el Ware might want to think about sending a tape of the game over to Oregon coach Dana Altman, who publicly questioned the then-freshman’s effort last season.

He played 36 minutes on Tuesday night (all but 37 seconds of the second half) and put up his first career double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds. He didn’t shy away from going toe-to-toe with Florida Gulf Coast’s big bodies in the front court either.

“He plugged the hole up for us and got a few blocks, rebounded the ball for us,” Woodson said. “I don’t need him to do much more. Just continue to do that.”

Ware closed out the preseason with a similarly effective performance.

6. Assembly Hall gets sixth man award

It wasn’t a sell out crowd on Tuesday night when Xavier Johnson took a charge with less than 10 minutes to go. The ensuing reaction rattled a Florida Gulf Coast team that went nearly five minutes without a field goal after taking a 48-42 lead.

The crowd noise went up for every Eagles miscue and fueled the Hoosiers 14-0 run.

7. Malik Reneau has to know when to fold’em

Reneau is capable of scoring points in bunches just as he did at the start of the second half.

On IU’s first possession, he drove to the basket with his left hand and laid it up over Zach Anderson. He had two more layups in quick succession before picking up an unnecessary third foul.

“Our biggest thing is we want him on the floor,” Galloway said. “I think in the off-season telling him we need you on the floor and you can’t foul. Obviously last year he had a lot of times where he got in foul trouble and a lot of the dumb fouls…I think just knowing we need him out there and to not gamble will be huge for him to stay on the floor because we need him.”

Woodson was encouraged by the fact that Reneau didn’t pick up another “silly foul” when he came back into the game with 12:01 to go.

Michael Niziolek is the Indiana beat reporter for The Bloomington Herald-Times. You can follow him on Twitter @michaelniziolek and read all his coverage by clicking here.

This article originally appeared on The Herald-Times: Everything that stood out in Indiana’s win over Florida Gulf Coast

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