Nov. 11, 2011
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Cody Zeller scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, blocked two shots, added three steals and helped his teammates find open lanes in his college debut as the Indiana men's basketball team opened the 2011-12 campaign with a 96-66 triumph over Stony Brook at Assembly Hall on Friday evening.
Victor Oladipo matched his career-high with 16 points, Will Sheehey added 13 points to lead all scorers off the bench, Derek Elston poured in 11 points, also off the bench, and the Hoosiers rolled to their 14th consecutive opening-night victory.
"The fact that we got up and played defense the way we need to and got into their main scorers helped us gain confidence," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. "That was really, really important, whether it was perimeter, whether it was post, whether it was drives, whether it was transition. We scored the ball from a lot of different places."
IU has now won 27 consecutive home openers and produced its largest season-opening victory since a 34-point win over Nicholls State in 2005.
The Hoosiers pushed the tempo, hit 3-pointers and traded punches with an experienced, physical team that nearly made last season's NCAA tournament. They never allowed the Seawolves to get closer than 12 points over the final 22 minutes.
Indiana held a 29-25 advantage with 4:08 remaining in the opening half and roared into the locker room with a 17-point lead following a 16-3 run.
"Our team, really, the key for them moving forward is that they continue to put not one or two or three possessions together that are good and a couple that are bad, but to continue to have as many solid, all five guys doing the right things, types of possessions as possible," Crean said. "I think, when you have that, you have a chance to break a game open. That's what happened with us late in the first half."
Stony Brook trailed 53-39 with 16:23 to go, but the Hoosiers ran off 10 straight points to push the lead over 20 points, a benchmark they maintained the rest of the ballgame.
Oladipo added six rebounds and two steals, while Sheehey posted five rebounds.
Verdell Jones III finished with a game-high seven assists to go along with his seven points, and Austin Etherington hit all three of his shots, including a pair of three-pointers, to net eight points in his debut.
All 16 Hoosiers that dressed played in the game.
Zeller became the third true freshman in the last four years to record a double-double in his debut. Tom Pritchard (Northwestern State - Nov. 15, 2008) and Christian Watford (Howard - Nov. 13, 2009) previously accomplished the feat.
Indiana shot 65.4 percent (34-of-52) in the game, the second-best percentage in the Crean Era, to go along with the third-highest point total during Crean's tenure.
The Hoosiers return to action on Sunday with their second straight game at Assembly Hall. Indiana and Chattanooga will face off in the first contest of the Hoosier Invitational. The game will tip off at 5 p.m. EST and will be televised on the BTN.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.