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Devonte Green steps up for Indiana basketball in best performance of the season

Indiana junior guard Devonte Green put up 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds to go a long with six assists and four steals vs Central Arkansas. (Mark Timko/HN)

Its been a tough junior season for Indiana guard Devonte Green.

After missing the exhibition slate and four regular season games with a thigh bruise, Green came off the bench behind freshman Rob Phinisee. To make matters worse, he failed to score in double figures since returning to the floor at Duke.

But in Wednesday night’s 86-53 win over Central Arkansas, Phinisee played just seven minutes before exiting with concussion protocol, and Green stepped up with a season high 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists to lead the way.

“Devonte is a huge piece to what we’re doing and to his defense he hasn’t had a real great shot at it early in the year,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “He’s had to play his way into games and I was happy for him tonight being able to bust some shots. He does a lot for us and when he’s engaged and playing well, you see that stat line that he had tonight, I mean he does a lot.”

Green’s been an exceptional three-point shooter in his career, hitting 37-percent from beyond the arc in his first two seasons. However, in his first seven games this season, he shot just five-of-18 from deep.

Wednesday, the junior got his rhythm back, knocking down six-of-10 three-pointers in the 33-point Hoosier win.

“I think I had a lot of open (threes) and that definitely helped them go in,” Green said. “But I think just running the offense and getting those open shots was the main thing. If it wasn’t so open I mean it probably wouldn’t have went in as much.”

As Green shot the ball phenomenally in 29 minutes of play, it was his defense sparking the offensive outburst. Indiana found themselves down 19-14 with 14:32 to play in the first half, but Green and the defense clamped down after that.

The Hoosiers went on a 19-0 run over a 9:30 stretch in the first half to distance themselves from the Bears. That play lingered into the second half as IU held UCA to just 0.74 points per possession with Green grabbing four steals and nine defensive rebounds.

“I would say defense, if I had to choose something,” Green said. “Because everything starts on defense and I think once the defense starts going, offense comes with it.”

“He clearly had a heck of a night for us and we’re going to need him to step up,” Miller said. “I don’t know what Rob’s situation is, he’s in concussion protocol, so from my standpoint we’re planning on being without him for a while and Devonte obviously slips right in.”

Wednesday night’s version of Green is what Indiana expected from its junior guard at the beginning of the season.

The Hoosiers have been decent from long-range this season shooting 36.6-percent as a team. But if Green can get going, especially if Phinisee is out, and be the third scorer behind Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan, it only adds an extra element to the offense.

“That third scorer is always going to be by committee with us, I’ve always felt that way and tonight it was Devonte,” Miller said. “Devonte is obviously a veteran, he’s got some capabilities to step in there and help us offensively for sure.”

Zain Pyarali

I am a junior from Edwardsville, Illinois majoring in Sports Media. I formerly worked for the Indiana Daily Student for two years serving as the Sports Editor and beat reporters for Men’s Basketball, Men’s Soccer, Baseball and Field Hockey during my time with the student newspaper. Currently I am the Men’s Basketball beat reporter for IU Student Television while I also broadcast games for BTN Student U. Email me: zpyarali@thehoosiernetwork.com and follow me on Twitter: @ZainPyarali

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