Jan. 18, 2012
Box Score | Box Score |
LINCOLN, Neb. - The No. 11/13 Indiana men's basketball suffered a 70-69 loss at Nebraska, despite getting double-digit points from freshman Cody Zeller and junior Jordan Hulls.
Zeller led the Hoosiers (15-4, 3-4) with 18 points, to go along with seven rebounds, while Hulls added 12 points on the night. Junior Christian Watford added 10 rebounds and eight points in the effort.
"Our guys had great edge tonight; they had excellent energy," said head coach Tom Crean. "We did so many good things. We played very well; we had excellent ball movement. We were going against a team that was only allowing 22 percent from the 3 in the league, and we got some really good looks. We held this team to 38 percent, but we didn't make enough of the big stops. We made some, we were very locked in to what they wanted to do but at the same time, they made the plays."
The Hoosiers controlled the tempo throughout the first half and into the second half, holding the Huskers (10-8, 2-5) without a field goal for the first five-plus minutes of the second half to take a 49-36 lead. Nebraska used an 8-4 run to battle back within seven, 53-46, with 10:39 to go, but back-to-back 3's from senior Matt Roth kept the Hoosiers up by 11, 60-49, with 7:06 left in the game. A 3 from Toney McCray sparked a 14-2 Nebraska run to bring the Huskers within two, 65-63, with 3:23 to go. Free throws from Zeller with 2:59 on the clock increased IU's lead back to four, 67-63, but three free throws from the Huskers cut Indiana's lead to one, 67-66, with 38 seconds to go. Hulls made two free throws with 35 seconds on the clock, but a jumper and a pair of free throws gave Nebraska the 70-69 win.
Zeller made 7-of-12 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free throw line for his 18 points. He also tallied seven rebounds and two assists. Hulls sank 3-of-8 from the field with a pair of 3's and 4-of-5 from the free throw line for his 12 points. He added four rebounds and two assists. Watford made 3-of-8 from the field with one 3 and 1-of-2 at the free throw line for eight points. He added 10 rebounds and two assists. Roth led the Hoosiers off the bench with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Hoosiers sank 51.0 percent (26-of-51) from the field, 44.4 percent (8-of-18) from 3 and 69.2 percent (9-of-13) from the free throw line. Indiana won the battle on the boards, 34-32, and held Nebraska to 37.7 percent (23-of-61) shooting from the field and 33.3 percent (10-of-30) from the 3-point line.
"For us, we've got to take care of the ball better," Crean said. "I think we're going to go back and look at the film and we're going to look at the turnovers in the second half and just see how excruciatingly painful those were for us, because those turned into more easy baskets for Nebraska.
"Now, we just got a group of guys that have an edge, that have a desire, and we've got to make sure that we refocus them, that we reenergize them, and we do not let them get discouraged. We make sure that we understand disappointment is inevitable in life, but discouragement is our choice and we choose not to have it. So that's our biggest goal right now as a coaching staff with our team is to get them to understand there were a lot of very good things but we did not close this game."
Indiana returns to action on Sunday, Jan. 22, when it plays host to Penn State in Assembly Hall at 12 p.m. ET. Sunday's game will air on the Big Ten Network and the IU Radio Network.