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From The Locker Room: Indiana 78, Illinois 68

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Following Wednesday night's win over Illinois, IU head coach Archie Miller and select players met with the media to discuss the victory.

TheHoosier.com was in-attendance and has quotes from Miller plus video below.

IU head coach Archie Miller and the Hoosiers defeated Illinois on Wednesday night.
Jordan Wells/TheHoosier.com

Bench Play Key

An important factor in IU's win Wednesday night was the contributions from the bench.

38 of IU's 78 points (49 percent) came from non-starters. That included three different bench players in double figures.

You throw in an additional two starters with double-figure scoring - Robert Johnson and Juwan Morgan with 14 points each - and you've got a recipe for a nice, balanced offensive night.

"In particular it shows that the team is continuing to do the right things - coachability, working towards getting better individually, caring about everything that we do," Miller said. "You don't have performances like that off guys off the bench if they're not completely locked in.

"So I think we have a locked-in team which is good this time of year. We're clearly playing as well as we have played all season, and that's a good sign. Obviously going on the road here, the next one will be very difficult as we know, but I think the guys right now are enjoying playing with one another."

Big Nights For Freshmen

Two of those bench players with double-digit scoring were freshmen.

Guard Al Durham dropped in 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting - tied for a team-high - including 2-for-2 threes, finishing with a team-best +20 in plus-minus for the night.

Forward Justin Smith added 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, plus three rebounds.

Being a freshman in a league like the Big Ten can be tough, especially at this stretch of the season. For those two to step up in a home win, that was encouraging for Miller.

"Freshmen, they go through ups and downs and good starts, bad games," Miller said. "That's what a freshman season is.

"But moments like tonight, hard-fought win where guys make winning plays, they stick with you -- that's how you learn how to win. And these are experiences that will help them develop into really good Indiana players."


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