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Indiana, Devonte Green use cheat code to knock off No. 17 Florida State

When a team has 18 turnovers, 19 fouls and is facing a ranked team with a major height advantage, a win is not the expectation.

That’s exactly what happened to Indiana against No. 17 Florida State. But they won, 80-64, and kept their undefeated season alive at 8-0.

It’s true, Indiana did have the struggles listed, but they also had something else to make up for all of that.

Devonte Green scored a career-high 30 points against Florida State. (Kurt Spitler/HN)

A cheat code, by the name of Devonte Green.

“There wasn’t a whole lot of coaching that went into anything he did, as usual,” Indiana Head Coach Archie Miller said about Green’s playmaking ability. “When he’s good, he’s good on his own.”

The senior guard proved to be the difference-maker he was expected to be prior to the season with a career-high 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting, going 5-for-7 from the three-point line.

The points came in bursts, and they were certainly impressive. His jumper was on tonight and he made plenty of circus shots, just like signature Devonte. His driving ability was great, finding plenty of success at the rim too.

Green’s contributions were essential, and without them Indiana might not have got the statement win that they’ve been needing. After taking some slack for playing seven consecutive low-major opponents to start the season, the Hoosiers put questions over the legitimacy of their undefeated record to bed.

Green also cemented his legitimacy as Indiana’s most important player, bringing far more than just scoring. His usual elaborate and fun passes were present tonight to the tune of three assists. Overall, his scoring and ball movement set the tempo for an Indiana offense that really struggled when he wasn’t on the floor.

More than just offense, the defensive effort was strong too. He snagged six rebounds, the second most on the team for the night, and also corralled two steals.

Where Green may have been the most important can’t be measured on a stat sheet. His composure.

“He (Green) rose to the level that a senior guard in that game you hope that is able to do,” Miller said. “Not get 30, but just make the plays to alleviate some of the pressure. And he made almost every single one of them for us.”

This was not the Devonte Green of years past that had a reputation for being erratic. Green had his crazy moments, but he was calculated and let the flow of the game come to him.

That composure was crucial in guiding a still learning Indiana team that had its stretches of mental lapses and sloppy play throughout the game.

“Green, I thought he did a great job of just being in the moment,” Florida State Head Coach Leonard Hamilton said. “This was a very important game for them and I thought he got himself mentally into that zone that sometimes great shooters will get into. You hate to run into them.”

In the second half, there were multiple sequences where Indiana looked to be in trouble of blowing an 11-point halftime lead. Every time, Green was imperative in weathering the storm.

Florida State got it down to a three-point game a few times, but once Indiana figured out how to break the press late in the second half, the Hoosiers weren’t looking back.

“They bring a lot of pressure and they cause a lot of turnovers. I just, like I said also earlier, I just got to stay poised and move on to the next play,” Green said.

The extreme on-ball pressure from Florida State initially gave Indiana fits, and was a big reason for issues inbounding the ball and 18 turnovers, 12 of them coming in the second half. There were some very uncharacteristic moments of the team when dealing with it. Damezi Anderson had a five-second call when trapped and Trayce Jackson-Davis brought the ball up at one point but got bailed out by a foul.

Without Rob Phinisee tonight, who was out due to injury, Green had to take responsibility as the best ballhandler and battle the bulk of the press. It was difficult, but he got Indiana through it.

Being a team captain and senior, Indiana is going to be relying a lot more on Green to guide them throughout this season. The question is, can they continue what they showed they’re capable of against the Seminoles?

A year ago, in Indiana’s first big match-up, they crushed Marquette by 23, only to follow that performance with a road loss at Arkansas and getting destroyed at Duke not long after that.

Not every team the Hoosiers are going to play will be ranked like Florida State, but it won’t be easy from here on out. They only have high-major non-conference opponents and Big Ten play left for the rest of the year.

Regardless of opponent, Indiana’s success and potential this season goes through Devonte Green.

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