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Resilient IU overcomes rough start behind Devonte Green’s scoring

It didn’t take long for Devonte Green to shake off the rust.

In just his second game back from injury, the Green led the way for Indiana in a 79-54 win over Princeton on Wednesday night to move to 5-0 for the first time since the 2013-2014 season.

The senior guard was the key in igniting an Indiana offense that was limited to 35 points and turned the ball over six times in the first half.

Devonte Green finished with 16 points and 4 assists in the win over Princeton. (Ross Abdellah/HN)

“I thought Devonte was terrific,” Indiana head coach Archie Miller said. “He was very impactful in tonight’s game. I don’t take a whole lot into the plus/minus, but when you’re plus-29 in your minutes in the game, that’s pretty good.”

Green was tied with Joey Brunk for the most points scored by any Hoosier on the night with 16, tallying 10 points in the second half. More than just scoring, Green was vital in Indiana’s ball movement and offensive flow.

Excellent court vision and pace with some shifty passes were indicative of Green’s effort against the Tigers. He had four assists on the night, but he very well could have had a few more due to a couple of easy misses around the rim from Brunk and Race Thompson.

“He’s our best playmaker in terms of making the pass you can’t see. He sees it early,” Miller said.

Green was also crucial in Indiana’s ability to score from deep. He was expected to be the team’s top marksman from three going into the season, but Wednesday was an extreme example in showing Green’s importance in that.

Just a game removed from shooting an impressive and much-improved 39 percent against Troy, Indiana significantly struggled from deep tonight. There were good looks, but the team only hit three of 10 3-point shots. Green had two of those 3-pointers and the only other one Indiana hit came in garbage time from walk-on Cooper Bybee.

What was also encouraging for Green and Indiana’s backcourt strength was the fact that Green’s quick improvement from his first appearance of the season against Troy, to his effort against Princeton.

“Definitely feeling a lot more comfortable,” Green said. “I’ve been out for a while, but it feels good to be back, and I feel comfortable out there with my team.”

Green shot the ball far better against the Tigers. The senior went 5-for-8 on field goals and 2-for-3 on field goals from deep compared to a six-point night against Troy where he was 2-for-8 for the game and 1-for-6 on 3-point shots.

Green did not start the game, rather it was freshman Armaan Franklin and the usual group that has started for Indiana all year thus far. But to start the second half, Green got the nod over Franklin.

Whether that means Green will reclaim his usual starting spot is to be determined, but it should be noted that of the guards, Green and Durham played significantly more than Franklin and Phinisee. Green recorded 26 minutes and Durham 29. Franklin and Phinisee had 12 and 11, respectively. It should be noted as well that Phinisee is still recovering from injury and got a little banged up in the second half too.

Miller emphasized that Indiana will get the most out of Green is by keeping his instant offense the same but also to keep it under control.

“He’s so aggressive and he knows he can impact the game,” Miller said. “But you’ve got to understand those ones when you’re aggressive, how to take them. I think that’s the only thing I stress to him is to play smart and play simple. If he does that, he’ll play a big role with what we’re doing.”

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