BLOOMINGTON, Indiana — Indiana upped its record to 5-0 Wednesday night with an 86-67 win over Little Rock at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Here’s what coach Mike Woodson had to say after the game, in either video form or a full transcript.
Race Thompson led by 20 points for the Hoosiers, Xavier Johnson had 10 assists and freshman Jalen Hood-Schifino had 13 points and seven rebounds.
Here is the transcript of Woodson’s interview:
Q Talk a little about Xavier Johnson and the second half in terms of playmaking and the type of game he and his teammates were able to play the stretch?
MIKE WOODSON: Well, I think X, he’s capable of it. I expect he does; He’s our point guard. I thought he was solid when things weren’t going well for him early on.
Q You shot the three better in the second half and X had three of the assists on the five you did and of course he did one of them. How important is he? They talk a lot about shooters, but how important is it to him to involve shooters and get them shooting?
WOODSON: No, it’s very important. Last year, folks, we were one of the best teams in the country when it came to getting wide-open three-pointers and we just didn’t pull it off. We’ll get our fair share of looks. We just have to knock them down. X is able to make them. Everyone on our team now feels good when they kick the ball off the three-point line that they have a chance to get in.
We’ll earn our fair share, but we just have to keep working at it and getting good threes. Forced threesomes won’t do you any good. You’re bad at shooting.
When the ball moves like it did tonight we had 18 assists, Miller was at the back end where he was wide open in the transition for a lot of threes and he made some tonight which is huge for our team.
Q What’s Trayce up to, and with North Carolina coming to town a week from tonight, how confident is he that he’s healthy and fully ready to go?
WOODSON: Man, I don’t worry about North Carolina. Jackson State comes in here on Friday. We will continue to rate him. He’s a bit physically shaky. Nothing special. We rested him tonight and hopefully we’ll get him ready for Jackson State. I mean, that’s next on our plan.
Q When you found out that Trayce was going to be out, I’m curious, did you go to anyone on the team and somehow set higher expectations for anyone?
WOODSON: No, I just said the next man up. He and Gallo were outside; I said: Next man. That’s what this team has to be about.
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As a coach, I’ve always taken care of that. I’ve coached games where my best players weren’t in the line-up. I can’t wait for these guys. I still have to train and get the guys to play and play at a high level. I expect the boys to be ready to play.
Q As for the three point shooting, you guys started very slow tonight, 1 out of 7, but then caught fire, hit 5 out of 10, shot 35 percent at the end. Are you worried when we get to the bigger games, the North Carolinas, the Arizonas, going down a hole with that or going up against teams of that caliber?
WOODSON: You have already predicted the game. I don’t see it in that light. We need to get to those games first and see where we are.
I mean, sure, every college coach worries about doing threesomes when they’ve got shots. My thing is when we have good shots and take good shots I feel good when they go in. You have to do them against teams that you think we should beat and you have to do them against teams that are on the frontier teams, teams that are a good fit for us like North Carolina and some of the top teams . Yes, I would hope that we will do them. But only time will tell.
Q Offensive efficiency all around the edge, Trayce has had quite a few games like this this season. Tonight’s race only takes eight shots, makes seven of them. Basically, how much do you feel when – I don’t know if bullying is the right word, but how much do you feel like total front court that your guys are able to be incredibly efficient on the sidelines?
WOODSON: Well, again we’re playing against teams that we’re a little bit bigger than them. It will be interesting to see what we can do against Xavier with similar teams. They were a great team and it was a fight.
I think we have the bodies to compete with some of the bigger teams but only time will tell. I’m excited for games like this, but right now Jackson State is staring us in the face and we have to prepare for these guys.
Q Going back to that size advantage, are you a little worried about the rebound discrepancy or defensive struggles you had tonight, or is it just something you’re going to have to get used to?
WOODSON: Well, I don’t think we had defensive fights tonight. We won by 20 points. We gave up 60 points. We gave up an average of 57.58 points per game. We let that get a bit out of hand when it comes to where we like to keep our opponents at 60 and under, but we won by 19, 20 points. I’m not too disappointed with our defense. We overtook the team. We guarded the three-point line. They didn’t shoot well from the three-point line or the two.
I am happy. I can’t sit here tonight and complain about anything. It was an absolute team effort.
Q I know you had a lot of nice runs in the second half, but in the first half it was quite a touch-and-go for what was kind of a third game in a row where you were a lot better early on than you used to be. Is there anything you can relate to the problems in the first half, or do you consider them problems at all?
WOODSON: Well, after half-time, the nine of us came into play, but you have to give them credit too. They are a competitive team and they competed just like we tried to be competitive.
I mean, you like coming into the dressing room at 20. I guess that’s what you want to see. But it was nine and I was content with that. I thought we started the second half a bit slowly. They got the first four points I think and now we really have to play and get it and I thought we reacted.
- Indiana beats Little Rock: Race Thompson had a near-perfect shooting night, scoring 20 points for the second time in his career in an 87-68 win over Little Rock. He picked up the doldrums when “struggling” star Trayce Jackson-Davis missed his first game in Indiana after 98 straight starts. CLICK HERE
- LIVE BLOG: Relive all the action from Wednesday night’s Indiana game in real time with Tom Brew’s live blog. CLICK HERE
- WATCH HOOD-SCHIFINO ALLEY-OOP TO GERONIMO: Jalen Hood-Schifino led the quick break for Indiana and alley-ooped Jordan Geronimo for a slam dunk. CLICK HERE
- WATCH MALIK RENEAU EURO STEP: Indiana newcomer Malik Reneau’s forward showed smooth footwork in transition against Little Rock on Wednesday night. CLICK HERE
- INDIANA SCHEDULE: Here’s Indiana’s full 2022-23 men’s basketball schedule with dates, game times and TV info, as well as links to stories about the games already played. CLICK HERE