NEW ALBANY — IU Southeast used a tenacious defensive effort and a balanced, efficient offensive performance to lead from the opening tip in taking its season-opener against NAIA No. 16 University of the Cumberlands (Ky.) by a score of 77-65.
The Grenadiers, who started a five-guard lineup, forced 14 turnovers overall and held the Patriots to 38.7 percent shooting. IUS utilized a full-court press to take a quick 9-2 lead in the first 4 minutes. Coach Wiley Brown is filled with a variety of Louisville natives — many of them newcomers this season — and they were big factors early. Jeffersontown product Jacobi Hendricks hit the first of eight 3-pointers on the night for the Grenadiers and had five points in the quick start. Fern Creek graduate Anthony Wales Jr. capped the early run with a drive to the bucket.
David Burton, a junior out of Trinity, had 10 of his team-high 17 points in the first half. He liked how his team played to its strengths.
"We realized [the Patriots] were a halfcourt team. We knew we could get them in the full-court press and get the ball moving up and down," Burton said.
Burton had plenty of help scoring wise. Rangy 6-foot-4 junior wing Glen Hill had 17 points, two blocks and two steals while 6-1 junior guard Tamaje Blackwell came off the bench to score 17 points and grab five rebounds. Burton also had a team-best four assists, setting up Hendricks, the fourth IUS player in double figures (10 points), for a 3-pointer early in the second half to ignite a 13-4 run that helped the Grenadiers take control of the game with a 54-42 lead.
"Nobody can win the game by themselves. You've got to spread the wealth. That's how you win. When everyone's hitting shots, everyone's playing harder, playing defense," said Burton, whose team shot 54.2 percent (26 for 48) from the field.
The Grenadiers' sharing of the ball was what he pointed to as a key to the win — in addition to the defense, of course.
"I'll take it. These guys went out and played hard. They play together as a team. They shared the ball," said Brown, whose team totaled 15 assists against 12 turnovers. "I wasn't too happy on the turnovers because they weren't pressuring us. We've got veterans on those spots."
IUS shot 8 for 20 from 3-point range, using an open-post offense to create drive-and-kick opportunities.
"We've got to do it. Right now, we don't have any size right now so we've got to spread them out and hit the open shot," Brown said.
IUS put the game away with a 10-2 run as Burton converted a smooth 3-point play, dished to Blackwell for a transition 3 and found Antonio Rogers for a layup.
Blackwell hit 3-for-3 from long range and was a spark off the bench, helping in big ways at both ends. The Evansville native, and Goshen College transfer, had nine points in six minutes in the first half.
"It was teammates getting me good open shots, and just being aggressive the whole game," Blackwell said. "We've been working on what Cumberland was going to do. We've been going over their sets. The coaches had us prepared for them."
The Grenadiers host Miami-Middletown (Ohio) at noon Sunday.
IUS 77, CUMBERLANDS 65
CUMBERLANDS (65) — Caleb Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Jahi Hinson 6-11 0-0 12, Tevin Olison 5-14 1-4 13, Jordan Griggs 1-10 0-0 3, Nnamdi Van Dulm 0-4 0-0 0, Chance Edwards 0-0 0-0 0, Danny Butt 1-3 0-2 2, Steven Fitzgerald 7-13 6-7 21, Ethan Snapp 2-4 2-2 8, Hunter Bode 1-1 0-0 2, Austin Hall 1-2 2-3 4.
IUS (77) — Anthony Wales Jr. 3-6 0-0 6, Jacobi Hendricks 4-6 0-1 10, Jared Osborne 0-4 0-0 0, Glenn Hill 4-7 8-10 17, David Burton 6-14 3-3 17, Kereion Douglas 1-1 2-2 4, Antonio Rogers 3-3 0-0 6, Maurice Tolley 0-1 0-0 0, Tamaje Blackwell 5-6 4-4 17, Jacobe Brown 0-0 0-0 0.
Halftime score: IUS 38, Cumberlands 31.
3-point shooting: Cumberlands 6-22 (Olison 2-6, Griggs 1-6, Van Dulm 0-1, Fitzgerald 1-2, Snapp 2-2, Hall 0-1); IUS 8-20 (Blackwell 3-3, Burton 2-7, Hendricks 2-3, Wales Jr. 0-1, Tolley 0-1).
Rebounds: Cumberlands 3 (Fitzgerald 8), IUS 30 (Burton 10, Blackwell 5).
Assists: Cumberlands 7 (Griggs 5); IUS 15 (Burton 4, Wales J4. 3, Hendricks 3, Douglas 3).
Steals: Cumberlands 4 (Fitzgerald 2; IUS 4 (Hill 2, Rogers 2).
Blocked shots: Cumberlands 3; IUS 2 (Hill 2).
Turnovers: Cumberlands 14, IUS 12.
Team fouls: Cumberlands 17, IUS 16.
Fouled out: None.
Next: IUS (1-0) plays host to Miami-Middletown at noon Sunday.