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Devin Davis helps muscle Indiana past Laval

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Hoosiers open Canada trip with victory

Saturday, August 9, 2014 - 1:17 am

Yes, it's way early to glean significant basketball insight from an exhibition game against a weak Canadian college team.

And yet, consider the 16 rebounds that sophomore forward Devin Davis grabbed in Indiana's 110-70 victory over Laval University. It suggests he might develop into the inside factor the Hoosiers will need this season.

The 6-7 Davis never had more than nine rebounds as a freshman last season, and that came in the season opener against Chicago State.

IU figures to play three, four or even five guards at times next season. It needs an inside presence and Davis can provide it despite giving away inches and pounds. It shows the benefit of more than a year in strength coach Je'Ney Jackson's program, plus coach Tom Crean motivation.

Crean has said Davis needs to step up because the “opportunity is tremendous.”

He took advantage in Montreal, adding eight points. All this was far above last year's averages of 2.4 points and 2.5 rebounds.

This is a carry over from last spring. After spending most of the season as a seldom-used reserve, Davis was solid down the stretch. He had seven points and three rebounds against Nebraska, then followed with nine points and six rebounds against Michigan.

IU needed Davis to step up Friday night because it didn't have 6-9 forward Hanner Mosquera Perea, who missed the game because of a visa problem. It's uncertain when, or if, Perea will be available during this six-day, five-game trip.

Also missing inside was 6-11 freshman center Jeremiah April, who is sidelined with an ankle injury.

The Hoosier offense was led, as you would expect, by veteran guard Yogi Ferrell, who totaled 22 points. Sophomore swingman Troy Williams had 21 points.

Heralded freshman James Blackmon had 14 points. Another freshman, Robert Johnson, added 12 points. Sophomore guard Stanford Robinson totaled 11 points.

Guard Nick Zeisloft, who transferred from Illinois State last month in part to provide much-needed perimeter shooting, totaled six points on a pair of three-pointers. Freshman forward Max Hoetzel added nine points.

IU had 16 steals and forced 24 turnovers. However, the 16 turnovers indicates last year's ball-security problem hasn't been solved yet.

The good news: it's early and the youthful Hoosiers -- with five freshmen, two transfers and another freshman walk-on, Crean has called this “the youngest team I've ever taken on a foreign trip” -- are getting valuable experience on this six-day, five-game trip.

Next up: Ottawa University on Sunday.