BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Race Thompson scored season-high 20 points and had eight rebounds despite being bloodied in the first half, leading No. 11 Indiana past Little Rock 87-68 on Wednesday night.
Freshman Malik Reneau had 10 points and six rebounds in his starting debut and Xavier Johnson finished with nine points and 10 assists for the short-handed Hoosiers, who are 5-0 start for the second straight season. P reseason All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis sat out with a sore back.
Myron Gardner, the reigning Ohio Valley Conference player of the week, had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Trojans. D.J. Smith scored 20 points to lead Little Rock (2-4), which has lost all three in the series and is 3-13 against Big Ten foes.
Indiana first seized take control with a 15-5 run that started with a four-point possession when Thompson was inadvertently hit in the head by Gardner and Flagrant 1 was called. Thompson went to the locker room for medical attention and when the run ended, Indiana led 37-22.
But Little Rock cut the deficit to 39-30 at halftime and scored the first three points of the second half when Thompson donned a new headband. The Trojans stayed close until Indiana went on a 12-3 to rebuild 60-45 lead and after Little Rock again closed to seven, the Hoosiers sealed it with a 14-1 spurt.
Little Rock: Three days after rallying from an 18-point deficit to beat Jackson State, the Trojans gave Indiana an unexpectedly strong battle for 35 minutes. Little Rock is off to a solid start but coach Darrell Walker will have to wait till later this week to collect career win No. 100.
Indiana: Without Jackson-Davis and playing for the third time in six days, the Hoosiers struggled a bit to put this one way. But they never trailed, stayed in control most of the game and kept their perfect record intact.
Indiana has one more winnable home game this week and a 6-0 start could put the Hoosiers in the top 10 for the first time since 2017 — just in time for next week’s showdown with No. 1 North Carolina. They’ll just need some help from teams in the Thanksgiving Day tournaments.
FRIENDLY FOE, CHAPTER 2
For the second time this season, Woodson welcomed an old friend to Assembly Hall — this time it was Darrell Walker. Before serving as an assistant coach on Woodson’s coaching staff with the New York Knicks from 2012-14, Walker spent 10 seasons in the NBA, playing with the Knicks, Denver, Washington, Detroit and Chicago.
Woodson also faced a former teammate, Reggie Theus, two weeks ago when the Hoosiers beat Bethune-Cookman 101-49.
Little Rock: Closes out the Hoosier Classic on Saturday at Miami (Ohio).
Indiana: Hosts former NBA All-Star turned coach Mo Williams when Jackson State visits on Friday.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25