By CHRIS STONER
NEW ALBANY —
The best show in New Albany right now is not at the Great Escape Theaters. The most entertainment bang for your buck is just off of Grant Line Road and the fireworks were in full gear Wednesday night.
The Indiana University Southeast Grenadiers (12-3) rained in 15 3-pointers and placed four players in double figures en route to an impressive 118-65 win over Miami-Middletown at the Southeast Activities Building. IUS held the Thunderhawks (13-5) to 31 percent shooting and dominated the glass to a 69-33 tune and won its sixth straight.
“One of the main things I stress as a coach is ball movement,” said IUS head coach Wiley Brown, whose team was zipped the rock around like sparklers in the night. “We have a lot of good shooters and when you get open shots like we did tonight you’re shooting percentage will go up. We do a lot of things in practice that simulates good passing and good spacing. We’ve gotten a lot better at that.”
The Grenadiers came out firing on all cylanders as a Cameron Mitchell put back at 14:06 in the first half gave his squad a 19-6 advantage, forcing one of three first half Thunderhawk timeouts. Mitchell, who was recently named the Kentucky-Indiana Athletic Conference player of the week for the third time this season, led all scorers with 25.
“We are brothers. That’s what we say everytime we leave the huddle,” Mitchell said. “We really try to focus on moving the ball on the court — no selfish play. Coach Brown doesn’t want any selfish play and we don’t want that either. We want to keep this winning streak going.”
Jeffersonville High School product Keegan Clark, who finished with nine, converted a 3-point play to finish the first half scoring with the hosts in control, 56-38.
“We started out this season with a young team, and what I mean by that is we didn’t have a lot of guys coming back,” Brown said. “Now they’ve gotten used to each other and my coaching style. Now they know where to be at and the guys making the passes know where everyone will be.”
As well as the Grenadiers played in the first half, the old saying “You ain’t seen nothing yet” duely applied to the second half. IUS quickly pushed its advantage to 63-42 on a Haris Batalevic steal and layup at the 18:02 mark. Less than four minutes later one of Greg Minor’s four triples increased the lead to 77-47.
“We came out in the second half with a lot of energy and pushed the lead up from there,” said Brown, whose team outscored the Thunderhawks 62-27 in the second 20 minutes. “Our press is designed to wear you down in the second half and that is exactly what happened. They got tired and we were fresh and they started to throw the ball away and we got some easy shots.”
Batalevic, who poured in 15 of his 22 in the second half, scored a put-back for a 91-51 lead with 10:03 left. Mitchell and Batalevic combined for 47 points and eight 3-pointers.
“Coach told us to work on our press more [in the second half],” Batalevic said. “We’re a pressing and running team and we need to focus on that. We’re in better shape than most teams and we need to wear teams down. We want to stay focused on what we do and that usually wears other teams down.”
The Grenadiers are back in action Saturday at Alice Lloyd College.