BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Ignas Brazdeikis scored 20 points and Zavier Simpson added 12 as No. 5 Michigan started fast and pulled away for a 69-46 victory at Indiana on Friday night.
The Wolverines (18-1, 7-1 Big Ten) have won two straight overall since their first loss of the season. They’ve won six straight against the Hoosiers.
Juwan Morgan finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana. Romeo Langford had nine points on a miserable night for the Hoosiers (12-7, 3-5), who have lost six straight overall, five in a row against conference foes and wound up with a season-low point total.
And the leagues’ top scoring defense took full advantage of Indiana’s horrendous start.
The Wolverines scored the first 17 points, forced Indiana into 10 straight misses and didn’t give up a basket until Aljami Durham’s reverse layup with 10:16 left.
Indiana never recovered — and things didn’t get much better on a night public address announcer Chuck Crabb counted down the seconds on each possession at the south end of Assembly Hall because the shot clock was broken.
How bad was it?
Langford was called for three fouls in seven minutes as the crowd booed the referees, the Hoosiers and mockingly cheered when Indiana finally scored its first points on two free throws from Durham with 12:57 left. The Hoosiers also missed six of 13 free throws to finish the half in a 33-18 deficit and with their worst scoring output of any half this season.
The Hoosiers tried to change directions by opening the second half with four straight baskets in the lane. And they closed to 38-29 on Phinisee’s 3 with 16:47 left.
But Michigan answered with a 12-3 spurt to make it 50-32 and the Hoosiers never got close again.
Michigan: This Wolverines made a statement in Bloomington, where won for the 15th time in school history. Their suffocating defense is good enough to make another Final Four run and their balanced offense gives them enough scoring options to stretch teams out.
Indiana: Another sluggish start doomed the Hoosiers in this one. And it seems coach Archie Miller is trying to mix and match lineups to find a third consistent scorer. Until he does, Indiana will continue to struggle.
The Hoosiers honored the late Jimmy Rayl with a moment of silence before tip-off.
Rayl died Sunday at age 77. The two-time All-American was named the Hoosiers’ MVP in 1962 and still holds the school’s single-game record with 56 points, which he did twice — in January 1962 and February 1963.
School officials also put Rayl on the cover of the game-day program.