BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — OG Anunoby wasn’t a factor when No.3 Indiana lost in overtime at Fort Wayne.
The sophomore played only 13 minutes, leaving because of an illness — and leaving the Hoosiers (4-1) without one of their best, most relied on playmakers.
“I don’t think any of us understood how sick he was, because he didn’t even practice again until part of the time on Friday,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “But the bottom line is, we didn’t have the right edge (against IPFW).”
On Sunday night, the Hoosiers had that edge, and they were led by a healthy Anunoby. He scored a career-high 21 points and had eight rebounds, leading the Hoosiers to an 85-52 victory over Mississippi Valley State.
Anunoby scored 15 of his 21 points in the first half against the overmatched Delta Devils (0-8).
Robert Johnson added 14 points for Indiana, which was without Justin Blackmon Jr. because of a left knee injury.
Indiana’s largest lead of the basketball game was 35.
“The game doesn’t change really that much (with Blackmon Jr. out). Everybody knows their job out there on the court,” Johnson said. “It’s hard not to have James (Blackmon Jr.) out there, but we have key (players) that we go to. Everybody else just steps up.”
Twenty of Indiana’s baskets came by way of an assist. Josh Newkirk and Curtis Jones combined for 11 assists. The Hoosiers outscored the Delta Devils 34-20 in the paint, and 19-8 in second chance points. Mississippi Valley State shot 32 percent from the floor (21-65). Indiana took advantage of the Delta Devils’ misses, outrebounding Mississippi Valley State 48-26. Thomas Bryant led the Hoosiers with 11 rebounds.
The Delta Devils were without their leading scorer, Marcus Romain.
“My guys continued to play hard. (Anunoby) did an outstanding job. I was shocked by how well he can shoot from the perimeter, and he has a strong game inside,” Mississippi Valley State coach Andre Payne said. “I know Indiana has a great program. So, when they stepped on the floor, they were going to bring their ‘A’ game because they were not going to let another upset happen.”
POLL IMPLICATIONS: Indiana will square off with a Top 10 team for the second time this season when the No. 5 North Carolina visits Bloomington on Wednesday night.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN: Blackmon was hurt in the Hoosiers’ 68-71 overtime loss to Fort Wayne. Crean said it is too early to tell if the junior guard will be ready to go for the showdown with the Tar Heels.
A BUMPY ROAD: Mississippi Valley State’s first 14 games of the season are on the road. No.3 Indiana is the third Big Ten opponent the Delta Devils have visited so far this season. Mississippi Valley State also lost at Northwestern and at Michigan State.
Indiana: Hosts North Carolina on Wednesday night.
Mississippi Valley State: At Gonzaga on Thursday night.