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Three takeaways from Indiana Basketball’s 96-62 exhibition win

Robert Phinisee during IU’s exhibition game vs. Southern Indiana. (Mark Timko/HN)

Indiana blew the doors off Southern Indiana in its only exhibition game before the start of the regular season. There were some promising moments for the Hoosiers throughout the night, especially on the defensive end.

Freshman forward Damezi Anderson led all scorers with 14 points in just 15 minutes of action. The Hoosiers struggled shooting the ball in the first half, finishing with 50 percent from the floor and 30 percent from behind the arc.

The second half was a different story, though. The Hoosiers finished the night on 50 percent shooting from three, and multiple players, including Anderson and senior Evan Fitzner, combined for a 60 percent output.

From the first unofficial game of the season, here are some takeaways.

Robert Phinisee is Ready to Step Up

Freshman Robert Phinisee started the exhibition game at point guard for the Hoosiers after it was announced that junior Devonte Green would be sidelined for the night. His performance couldn’t have been better for a first-year guard.

Phinisee shot five for 11 on the night and finished with 13 points, three rebounds and four assists. But it wasn’t these specific stat lines that stuck out — it was his turnover total, which was zero.

He took care of the ball all night, and on top of that, his decision-making was good as well. There were multiple times where Phinisee navigated in the lane on a drive, and he was able to kick it out to Anderson or freshman guard Romeo Langford on the outside.

He didn’t play like a freshman against Southern Indiana, even though it’s just an exhibition game.

Romeo Langford’s Defense Was the Difference

Langford struggled shooting the ball Thursday night, but he made up for it on the defensive end. He finished with four steals, which turned into two breakaway dunks on the opposite end of the floor.

If Langford is able to be a constant defensive presence, Indiana will be even better as a team against quality opponents. He’s able to use his size and speed to stay in front of opposing players in the lane and behind the three-point line.

The way he was able to create good looks offensively from his defensive play works well in IU coach Archie Miller’s system. Miller is a defensive-minded coach whose teams feed off of defensive energy. If IU can be a strong defensive team, its output on the offensive end will improve.

Damezi Anderson Has a Clip

Coming into the season, everyone knew how well Fitzner could shoot the ball from behind the arc, but it was Anderson’s shot that stole the show. He knocked down five of his eight field goals, and he made four three-pointers en route to 14 points — which was good enough to be Indiana’s leading scorer.

If Anderson can continue to play at that level throughout the season, then he’ll be a reliable player that Miller can use coming off the bench. The types of shots he was knocking down can be game-changers when IU needs a big bucket against quality teams like Duke and Michigan State.

I am a junior from Dallas, Texas, and am currently studying Media in the Media School and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management in the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. I worked for the Indiana Daily Student for the past two years where I covered men’s basketball, men’s soccer, water polo and cross country. I also served as the Sports Editor in the Spring of 2018. I am a member/radio host for WIUX, and I host a weekly podcast to talk anything and everything sports. Past internships include Digital Content for FC Dallas and sports reporting for Star Local Media. You can reach me at or on Twitter @michrami_ for all your Dallas and Tottenham sports takes.

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