Nov. 27, 2011
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -
Indiana won one round in their in-state battle Sunday night.
Sophomore Will Sheehey scored a career-high 21 points and freshman Cody Zeller added 16 Sunday night to help Indiana pull away from in-state rival Butler 75-59 in the title game of the Hoosier Invitational.
Sheehey was named the tournament's MVP as the unbeaten Hoosiers improved to 6-0 for the second straight season. It's only the third time since 2002-03 that the Hoosiers have opened a season with six straight wins.
"First off, I'm truly blown away by our defensive effort," said IU head coach Tom Crean. "To have a team have 74 deflections - I've never been a part of team as an assistant or a head coach that has had that. We had 32 deflections at halftime, which was a very good feeling because there was so much I think anxiety offensively and we were missing layups. We missed a couple of dunks. It was just a matter of time before the baskets went in we felt because obviously we were being defended well, but we were also missing shots that we make. The biggest adjustment we needed to make was making sure the ball inside more in the second half. But with all that being said - the defensive effort, the offensive intensity, to never lose the lead even when we weren't making shots and to have 32 deflections at half was only surpassed by the fact that we had 74 for the game."
Butler (3-3) was led by Chrishawn Hopkins with 19 points and Khyle Marshall with 16, but the rebuilding Bulldogs eventually wore down in the final 10 minutes.
The game pitted the last two Indiana schools to reach the Final Four. Indiana lost in the 2002 national championship game to Maryland. Butler lost to Duke and Connecticut in the last two title games.
Not surprisingly, it was a defensive slugfest most of the night.
Indiana finally broke open the game with an 11-2 second-half run that gave them a 51-39 lead midway through the second half, and the Bulldogs never seriously challenged again.
But neither team could get a comfortable advantage for almost 30 minutes.
Butler trailed 31-28 at halftime, then scored the first four points of the second half to retake the lead, 32-31, when Hopkins scored on a fastbreak layup. Even after Indiana went on a 7-0 run and looked like it would take control, the Bulldogs quickly cut the lead to 40-37 with 12:12 left to play.
That's when Indiana cranked up its defense.
Following a media timeout, Sheehey hit a 3-pointer and 1 of 2 free throws, Zeller posted up for a layup and junior Jordan Hulls converted a turnover into a driving layup to give the Hoosiers a 48-39 lead with 10:07 to go.
The Hoosiers didn't stop there. Junior Christian Watford made 1-of-2 free throws and when Zeller scored on a putback off the missed free throw, Indiana had its biggest lead of the night, 51-39. The Hoosiers extended the lead to as much 21 with 1:23 to go, but fell just short of extending the school record for 20-point wins to open a season to six.
Indiana shot 50 percent from the field in the second half after making only 32 percent in the first half, and four players finished in double figures.