Indiana Downs North Carolina Central, 81-58
Dec. 19, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.--Indiana outscored visiting North Carolina Central 22-9 in the first seven minutes of the second half, and held the Eagles to 28.1% shooting in the final 20 minutes, as the Hoosiers defeated NCCU 81-58, Saturday night in Assembly Hall.
"Well, the first half I think it was pretty clear we were still somewhere in the middle of one of our classes in exams and our mindset was not what it needed to be, in the sense of defense and rebounding," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "It's a great lesson for a team to learn, no matter how hard we have worked, no matter how much time we have spent on the details of the game on the sense of defense and rebounding and pushing the ball, we weren't doing those things. They made their open shots. I don't think it was anything spectacular or special that they were doing other than making their open shots."
Freshman Maurice Creek followed up his 31-point effort against Kentucky with 29 points to lead the Hoosiers. Besides Creek, only freshman Christian Watford, who had 11 points, would finish in double figures as the Hoosiers had one of their most balanced efforts of the season with 12 players scoring at least one point.
Indiana jumped out to a 13-5 lead in the first 3:10 of the game, but thanks to guard C.J. Wilkerson who finished with 22, the visitors rallied back and led 33-32 with 1:53 before halftime. Four free throws by Watford would give IU a 36-33 lead at intermission.
Crean inserted freshman Jordan Hulls to start the second half and the Bloomington native didn't disappoint the home crowd as he sparked the IU run with his floor leadership and produced five points, seven assists and six rebounds in the second half.
"We played with the guys in the second half that had the best numbers for us in the plus minus," added Crean. "I liked the lineup that we ended the half with. In the first half we started out with that lineup in the second half."
The Hoosiers would put the nail in the coffin for NCCU with a 10-0 run midway through the second half and led 73-47 on a conventional three-point play by sophomore Verdell Jones III.
Indiana got a strong effort from its bench, led by Hulls, outscoring the Eagles 24-11. Sophomore Tom Pritchard came off the bench for the first time in his career and had eight points, six rebounds and two blocks. Senior Tijan Jobe also had a key basket in a crucial situation and added a board and a blocked shot. Senior Devan Dumes was hampered by foul trouble but was able to contribute four points.
After being beaten on the glass against Kentucky, the Hoosiers won the battle of the boards, 46-28.
Creek, a 6-foot-5 guard, finished 12 of 17 from the field, including five 3-pointers, and grabbed seven rebounds. He entered the game as the Big Ten's top freshman scorer at 17.3 points per game. He scored a career high 31 in a loss to No. 3 Kentucky on Dec. 12.
"To have 22 assists on 30 field goals, for the game, I think is very, very good, said Crean. "Especially in the game where we were creating some tempo with our defense."
The Hoosiers return to the floor Tuesday night against Loyola (Maryland) for a 6:30 p.m., contest.
"I know there were people in the crowd tonight who were seeing a game for the first time," noted Crean. "I know we are going to have the same thing Tuesday against Loyola. "That's a big, big deal. It's not something that the players are going to understand anything about, but as a coach, and people who follow this program that means a lot."
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