Hoosiers defeat Indiana Wesleyan
It took just three seconds, a couple dribbles, and the Hoosiers were already behind.
Sophomore center Cody Zeller lost the opening tip to Indiana Wesleyan’s Jordan Weidner who drove to the basket unattested and rolled in a bucket. 2-0 Wildcats.
The Hoosiers would continue to trail Indiana Wesleyan and fell behind as much as nine points at 13-4 until, with 6:59 to go in the first half, junior guard Maurice Creek hit a deep 3-pointer, sending the Hoosiers ahead for their first lead of the game.
After a Wildcat basket to respond, the Hoosiers took the lead for good after a dunk from junior forward Will Sheehey, leading 29-28 with 6:03 left in the first half. IU would continue to build on this lead during the remainder of the game to take the game 86-57 in the team’s only exhibition match of the season.
But after the game, Sheehey said he was less than impressed with how the Hoosiers started, getting behind nine points early.
“I think our guys are going to notice that and work on our starts,” Sheehey said. “We weren’t a quick-starting team last year, and I think we’re going to put a lot of emphasis on that going forward.”
IU Coach Tom Crean said in their first competitive action against another team, his Hoosiers have yet to develop an identity this early on in the campaign. But he expected that.
“You don’t just walk into the season with an identity, and its not necessarily the one you had the year before,” Crean said. “You’ve got to work into it.”
After struggling to find much momentum early, the Hoosiers seemed to pick it up when, with 10:57 left in the first half, Creek came in off the bench to a standing ovation from Hoosier fans throughout Assembly Hall. He went 3-3 in the first half for eight points, including a 3-pointer to give IU a late offensive burst after the team started off slowly.
This was Creek’s first appearance in competition since Jan. 15, 2011, when he suffered a season-ending stress fracture in his knee against Michigan. Creek also missed last season after rupturing his Achilles heel during practice last fall.
The junior said receiving a standing ovation when he came into the game for the first time was unlike anything he had ever experienced as a Hoosier.
“Standing ovation — that’s big time,” Creek said. “That’s love right there.”
He finished the game with 12 points, a team-high.
On the momentum of Creek’s return, the Hoosiers ended the first half on a 14-2 run and had a 41-30 lead at halftime.
IU wouldn’t look back.
With the large lead for the entire second half, reaching as many as 30 points, Crean was able to shuffle around his lineup early and often, giving 11 guys the chance to play at least 11 minutes in the game.
Creek said with all the guys the Hoosiers have who can come off the bench and bring something productive, the team is deeper than he’s ever seen it.
“We’re a deep team, and I could see that tonight,” Creek said. “We had multiple lineups, and when your number is called, you want to do everything possible to help the team.”
After Creek, Watford followed with 11 points along with six rebounds. Both Zeller and Sheehey scored 11 points to go along with five boards, and Oladipo led the Hoosiers with seven boards to go along with 10 points.
Crean said he has seven or eight guys he can see carrying the starting load as well, but in the end, it just comes down to being consistent with any set of his guys out on the court.
“If you’ve got guys who are that good, that means they can impact the game on both ends of the floor, and you shouldn’t miss a beat when they’re in the game,” Crean said.
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