The Hoosiers came out flat and disinterested in the second half and allowed the Golden Gophers to claw their way back into the game. IU managed to hold to get the 88-81 win and improved to 15-1 (3-0).
IU could do no wrong in the first half and jumped out to a 52-29 lead by the end of play. The Hoosiers were connecting of 65 percent of their shots and dominated the glass. The second half was a different story. IU seemed content to maintain the lead and not push the pace, much to the joy of Tubby Smith and the Gophers. It allowed them to make a two-possession game in the closing seconds of play.
Solid free throw shooting from Jordan Hulls (even with three misses in a row) sent the Gophers back to Minnesota with it's first Big Ten loss. Hulls missed two free throws with under :15 seconds left to play, hitting either one would have made it a two possession game. But Cody Zeller was able to use his length to tip the ball back to Hulls who was immediately fouled again. He cashed the next two shots from the charity stripe to all but seal victory.
IU was led by the outstanding play of Victor Oladipo. The junior had 20 points off 8-for-10 shooting, six rebounds (four of which were on the offensive glass), and three steals. He fouled out in the closing minutes in large part due to fouling three-point shooters three different times. For as good a defender as he is, he committed an unforgivable sin of getting underneath a shooter and letting them draw contact.
Hulls finished with 19 points. He also committed four fouls and turned the ball over four times, both rare occurrences for the senior.
Zeller, who was largely a non-factor in the first half due to IU's hot three-point shooting, finished the game with 18 points. He also had six rebounds and three blocks.
Christian Watford had one of his finest games in an IU uniform. He was simply outstanding on defense. He finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Yogi Ferrell had a solid outing for IU as well. The freshman finished with 13 points and eight assists (all of which occurred in the first half).
The bench provided nothing for IU today. They amassed a grand total of three points and four rebounds.
IU will be back in action on Tuesday night when they host Wisconsin.
We'll have more analysis of this game later in the week.
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