Jan. 15, 2011
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind.- Junior Verdell Jones scored 24 points and made nine of 10 field goal attempts as Indiana shot 67.4 percent from the field and held visiting Michigan to a 36.4 percent effort as the Hoosiers notched their first Big Ten win of the season, 80-61, Saturday night in Assembly Hall.
The shooting effort by Indiana was their best since February 24, 2001 when they shot 70.2 percent at home against Wisconsin.
Defense and rebounding carried the Hoosiers in the first half as they grabbed the first eight rebounds of the game and limited the Wolverines to 23.8 percent shooting in building a 30-15 halftime lead. The 15 points allowed by Indiana was the Hoosiers best defensive effort since they held Purdue to 15 points in the first half on January 31, 2002.
"Our players understood that it began with what our defensive transition was going to be like because of how well they push the ball up the court and get it up the court," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "They did an excellent job with that."
The Hoosiers started the second half strong and built a 20 point lead on a triple by Christian Watford to take a 39-19 lead with 14:58 to go. Indiana held its biggest lea at 44-23 with 13:22 to go when junior Matt Roth buried a long distance call.
Michigan would go on a 12-2 run to make it 46-35 with 8:33 to go when Jordan Morgan made a dunk for the Wolverines. However, sophomore Jordan Hulls would hit three three-pointers in the next four minutes each time the visitors would close the gap to 11.
"We were very, very solid in the half court, added Crean. "There were a couple of stretches where they got on some runs, but a lot of the things that we wanted to accomplish, things that we were keeping track of, our guys really bought into and they followed the gameplan."
Indiana would make all 10 of its free throw attempts in the final 2:18 to seal the victory.
Watford would have his seventh career-double-double leading the way with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Hulls would finish with 13 points making all four of his shots and senior Jeremiah Rivers would add eight points and three rebounds.
The Hoosiers outrebounded the Wolverines, 37-19, and IU's bench held a 16-6 advantage.
Indiana will venture on the road and visit Wisconsin Thursday night and will go to Iowa on Sunday afternoon.