Without much drama on the court during Indiana’s 88-52 blowout of Florida Atlantic on Friday night at Assembly Hall, it was easy to scan the Hoosiers’ bench looking for something else to talk about.
Certainly, freshman Jeremy Hollowell not playing for a second consecutive game and only watching warm-ups might have been at the top of the list.
While Indiana coach Tom Crean didn’t address Hollowell’s situation specifically after the win against Mount St. Mary’s on Wednesday, he did say some players and coaches were ill.
On Friday, though, Crean opened his postgame news conference by saying that Hollowell’s situation was a personal and private matter that was not related to academics or any disciplinary action. Crean said it was a family matter and that he would respect Hollowell’s privacy and not comment any more on the matter.
Hollowell, who was considered one of the top 10 small forwards in the nation out of Lawrence Central High School by several recruiting services, appeared to be an important piece of the puzzle this season as Crean groomed him early with double-digit minutes in all but one of his first nine games.
Then against Butler, Hollowell played just three minutes, and none against Mount St. Mary’s. On Friday, he wasn’t dressed for action.
In limited time, he has averaged 5.7 points and three rebounds a game.
With Hollowell watching, 6-foot-8 freshman Hanner Mosquera-Perea picked up those minutes. Mosquera-Perea was ineligible the first nine games because of an NCAA ruling, but he appears to be a good fit for what the Hoosiers (11-1) need off the bench — rebounding.
In only 14 minutes, Mosquera-Perea finished with 10 rebounds and four points. Although he looked rough handling the ball (three turnovers), he knew what to do when the ball went to the rim.
“The last few games, I have made a few mistakes,” Mosquera-Perea said. “But the players and coaches have pushed me to keep going. They have given me advice. They told me not to worry about making mistakes.”
It was full speed ahead for Mosquera-Perea against the Owls.
“That was the coolest 10 rebounds I’ve ever seen,” center Cody Zeller said. “That’s what he does. He is going to help us a lot.”
Indiana guard Victor Oladipo said it is another important piece as the Hoosiers head into Big Ten play.
“He rebounded and played defense at a high level,” Oladipo said of Mosquera-Perea. “Now he just has to be consistent.”
Crean is excited to have Mosquera-Perea developing on the court. “He is tough. He is physical,” Crean said. “His toughness. His competitiveness. I did remind him that you have to catch it before you dunk it.”
As far as the rout, the Owls (5-7) provided Zeller with an opportunity to work on his free-throw shooting.
Zeller, who played 22 minutes, went 12 of 13 from the line on his way to a 24-point night. Actually, it was the only free throw missed by Indiana, which finished 26 of 27 from the line.
“I just shot the ball higher,” said Zeller, who came into the game shooting 67.1 percent from the free throw line.
Christian Watford scored 17 points for the Hoosiers, while Oladipo had 16 points and Jordan Hulls added 10.
With just under 15 minutes remaining, Indiana led 68-31, and Florida Atlantic guard Greg Gantt had 20 of his team’s points. Gantt finished with 25.
Owls starting guard Pablo Bertone was a good example of his team’s frustration. He went 1 of 11 from the field with four turnovers and no assists.
Indiana led 55-25 at the half, and the Hoosiers could have easily broken the 100-point barrier if Crean so desired, but he worked everyone on the bench as Indiana has only next Friday’s game at home against Jacksonville before entering Big Ten play.