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Indiana owns the three-point line in dominant win over Troy

The three-point line made all the difference in Indiana’s dominant 100-62 win over Troy Saturday night to move to 4-0 for the first time in the Archie Miller era.

Both offensively and defensively, the Hoosiers owned the perimeter and flipped the script on the team’s preexisting struggles.

Damezi lines up a 3 pointer against Troy. He finished with 14 points, 2-of-4 from long range. (Kurt Spitler/HN)

The most noticeable difference from tonight comparatively to the first three games was the vastly improved perimeter defense. Prior to the Troy game, the Hoosiers’ most glaring issue was guarding teams from the three-point line, allowing opponents to make 40.7-percent of their looks from three.

“Our guys on the ball I thought did a much better job to start the game in terms of our pressure and just not letting them be comfortable,” Indiana Head Coach Archie Miller said.

Tonight was a different story against Troy. The team’s No. 1 offensive strength had been three-point shooting, knocking down threes at just above 40-percent on the season. Against Indiana, it only hit 20 percent of its looks, going 5-for-25 from deep.

The improved three-point defense patched up the team’s defense as a whole, limiting opportunities for big scoring bunches from Troy and giving up a season-low 62 points.

Offensively, the three-point line is slowly starting to become a weapon Indiana did not have a season ago. There has been noticeable and gradual improvement from deep with this team throughout the early portion of the season.

In this young season, Indiana is shooting 36.2 percent from deep, a noticeable five percent increase from last year’s lowly 31.2 percent mark that tied for 313th in all of Division I college basketball last season.

“Shooting the ball and making the shots just makes the game easy,” Miller said. “It just does. Everything is easier when you’re able to make some shots.”

Against Troy, Indiana found their rhythm from deep, making 39-percent of its shots from beyond the arc while hitting a season-high nine shots from long range as well. Five Hoosiers made a three-point attempt, including Al Durham, Justin Smith, Armaan Franklin, Devonte Green and Damezi Anderson. Durham, Smith and Anderson all converted on multiple three-point shots, too, with Durham leading the way with three.

“We work on it every single day,” Smith said on three-point shooting. “We’re just looking to continue to get better and just hit open shots, take good shots, and really just get the ball moving.”

While 39-percent from three is great for Indiana, it could have been even better. In his first minutes of the season, senior guard Devonte Green, a usual three-point marksman for the Hoosiers, was a bit rusty and shot a very atypical 1-for-6 from deep. Additionally, Jerome Hunter, who is also considered a prolific shooter and had a lot of recent success, shot uncharacteristically poor from the three-point line (0-for-3).

With what Indiana got from its three-point shooters and what could have been as well, that is a very encouraging sign for the team’s offense moving forward. Throw in another capable shooter in sophomore guard Rob Phinisee, who was out tonight with illness, and the team’s potential from the three-point line only grows.

Having more shooting is always a good thing, but it is a particularly good thing for Indiana. The offense opens up tremendously with more emphasis from deep. It also allows more guys on the roster to find their spot in the rotation and add quality shooting, such as Damezi Anderson, who hit two three-pointers tonight in route to a season and career-high 14 points.

“They’ve worked very hard, and I think they have confidence in themselves right now shooting the ball,” Miller said.

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