Hoosiers see huge benefits with Mosquera-Perea in lineup
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent December 25, 2012 10:10PM
Indiana's Hanner Mosquera-Perea works to gain control of the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida Atlantic in Bloomington, Ind., Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Indiana won 88-52. (AP Photo/Alan Petersime)
The Big Number
Cody Zeller’s free-throw percentage in the last two games. Zeller was 2 for 2 from the line against Mount St. Mary’s and 12 of 13 against Florida Atlantic after missing four in the loss to Butler.
Indiana’s players didn’t have a lot of time to celebrate the holidays. Tom Crean said after the Florida Atlantic game that the Hoosiers would be practicing Christmas night in preparation for Friday’s game against Jacksonville.
“It’s a little bit shorter period of time to get ready for a game than we would prefer, but that’s one reason we played this game tonight, especially when ESPN wanted to pick it up,” Crean said. “So this gives them an extra day when maybe a lot of times you would be playing on Saturday, so this worked out fine.”
Updated: January 27, 2013 6:28AM
BLOOMINGTON — In his first 107 games at Indiana, Christian Watford grabbed at least two rebounds every game. In his first 47 games as a Hoosier, Cody Zeller spent the bulk of his time on defense guarding the post.
Enter Hanner Mosquera-Perea, whose presence in last Friday’s rout of Florida Atlantic allowed the 7-foot Zeller to take his defense to the perimeter, and meant Watford could focus on other aspects of his game besides rebounding.
Watford didn’t have a single rebound against the Owls but scored 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, and Zeller’s presence at the 3-point line forced a couple of turnovers.
“He’s still feeling his way through things, but what he was able to do in that period of time (when he was on the floor) was pretty impressive,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said of Mosquera-Perea, who had 10 rebounds in 14 minutes against Florida Atlantic.
“He’s tough and he’s physical and he brings a different demeanor to our team,” Crean said. “I don’t want to call him an x-factor, because we have a lot of x-factors on this team. But his toughness, his competitiveness, and his length, which speaks for itself, will continue to get better and better.”
Mosquera-Perea acknowledged that he still has plenty of room to improve, especially on offense. He had a couple of turnovers when he was a little too eager for dunk opportunities.
“I reminded him that you actually have to catch it before you dunk it because I think he had a couple SportsCenter plays in mind before he caught the ball,” Crean said.
“I have made some mistakes,” Mosquera-Perea said. “I have talked to the coaches and my teammates and they gave me some advice.
“Today, I felt more comfortable going for the ball. I am getting ready.”
Mosquera-Perea averaged a double-double last season at LaPorte Lumiere, averaging 14.2 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. Mimicking those numbers at Indiana would make the Hoosiers, already the top-scoring team in the nation, that much more potent.
The nine-game suspension Mosquera-Perea and fellow freshman Peter Jurkin served for receiving impermissible benefits put the duo behind on the learning curve, but their coach and teammates aren’t concerned.
“I think (Hanner’s) going to look that much better two or three weeks from now and I think Peter will be the same way,” Crean said. “They will continue to improve and be able to help us.”
“We have a lot of confidence in him,” Victor Oladipo said of Mosquera-Perea. “When he catches the ball, we expect a highlight dunk. We’re looking forward to seeing more highlight dunks down the road.”