BLOOMINGTON – Bennie Seltzer came back for this?
The former Indiana assistant coach might one day build Samford into a SoCon power, but this is not that day. The Bulldogs have much to work on, and if they weren't sure what they were before arriving at Assembly Hall, they found out after leaving.
IU jumped on Samford from the start and rolled to a 105-59 victory Friday night.
Seltzer was back in Assembly Hall for a game for the first time since leaving to take over the Samford program in the spring of 2012. Any hopes for a victory were quickly squashed. The Bulldogs (1-2) fell behind by 20 in less than 10 minutes and never threatened.
"The thing I want our guys to understand is that there's a level of intensity that you must play at regardless if you're at Indiana or Samford," Seltzer said. "We need to compete a lot harder. That's what we take away from this game."
Indiana coach Tom Crean used 18 players. Subbing started early and started with seldom-used freshman Collin Hartman, who scored the first five points of his career.
"We did a ton of subbing," Crean said. "Bennie is a warrior. I know what he's all about. We played everybody, We were deep in our bench even in the first half."
Hoosier point guard Yogi Ferrell had his best game of the season with 26 points, six assists and three rebounds. Freshman forward Noah Vonleh had his third straight double-double to open the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds in 18 minutes.
IU also got 10 points each from senior guard Evan Gordon and freshman forward Troy Williams. Williams added eight rebounds.
This was a far stronger performance than what the Hoosiers had during Tuesday's 73-72 win over LIU Brooklyn.
"We played hard, competitive, with great hustle and energy," Crean said. "We were going to get the ball in the paint, put pressure on the rim. We got a lot of very solid basketball."
There was no let up. The Hoosiers won the first half 54-25 and the second half 51-34.
"That's a great sign," Crean said. "You never really know when you're as young as they are. They understood the seriousness that they continue to get better during the game."
If they don't know, the bench remains to reinforce that.
"Our guys know if they are not playing hard enough, we have enough guys on the bench that you might miss some reps. We want our bench to be a strength."
The Hoosiers (3-0) won't get much rest. They host Stony Brook (3-0) Sunday night as part of the 2K Sports Classic. Next week they head to New York City's Madison Square Garden for the final two rounds. They'll play Washington on Thursday and then either Boston College or No. 19 Connecticut on Friday.
Seltzer, meanwhile, has to prepare his team for more road challenges. The Bulldogs are two games into a six-game road swing ranging from Texas to Indiana to Louisiana to Kentucky to Tennessee.
"Hopefully, this can get us better," he said. "Our schedule is a little hectic, but there are some schedules that are even harder."