Indiana Defeats South Carolina-Upstate, 69-61
Nov. 16, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Indiana - Four players scored in double figures, led by freshman Christian Watford's 17-point, 10-rebound effort, as Indiana (2-0) built a 20-point second-half lead and held on for a 69-61 victory over visiting USC Upstate (0-2), Monday night in Assembly Hall.
"The first thing I would say is welcome to the wacky world of freshmen and sophomore predominant basketball," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "That's where we are at and we have a lot of learning to do. We have a lot of growing up to do to understand how to put people away."
The Hoosiers are 2-0 for the third straight season, and fifth time in the last six years.
The Spartans were led by Mezie Uzochukwu with 14 points.
Indiana overcame a sluggish start with a 12-0 run midway through the first half to take a 16-9 lead. It closed the half on an 8-2 run to make it 32-25, then scored eight of the first 10 points in the second half to take a 40-27 lead.
IU took a 60-40 lead with 9:08 to go when freshman Jordan Hulls made one of two free throws. However, the visitors closed out the game with a 21-9 run to account for the eight-point final score.
"There were times tonight that I thought we played extremely hard," said Crean. "I thought we were really trying to throw that dagger, especially defensively. But young guys, they don't understand that the other team is not going away. That is a very good coach over there and a lot of competitive, prideful people. They are pretty good players who I think are going to win quite a few games when they get into their conference play."
Up next for Indiana is a flight tomorrow to San Juan, Puerto Rico where they will participate in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Classic. Indiana has a first round date on ESPN2 with a talented Ole Miss (2-0).
"I'm very excited to take this time to an event like this," said Crean. "It will be a challenge. There are a number of teams that I think nationally are under valued, and Mississippi is one of them."
Four players are averaging double figures including Watford and Creek (15.5), Elston (12.0), and Jones III (11).
Watford leads the club in rebounding at 10.5.
The team is shooting 50.4% from the floor.
Sophomore Tom Pritchard is shooting 85.7% from the floor, Elston 76.9%, Creek 66.7%, and Watford 62.5%.
Upstate never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
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