Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Monday, March 4
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Neutral site feels like home for IU

IUBB

Perhaps it was the metaphorical bright lights of New York City that kept shots from falling for Indiana in the first half, but as the team came back to win by double figures, a familiar sight greeted the Hoosiers.

The Barclays Center was far from capacity Monday as IU defeated Georgia 66-53, but those who did populate the new $1 billion home of the Brooklyn Nets were largely crimson-clad.

“It was kind of a road game, really, with all those IU fans,” Georgia Coach Mark Fox said.

Technically a neutral site game and not an away contest, it was nonetheless IU’s first competition of the year away from Assembly Hall and home crowds.

“We pretty much got the gist of it and the hang of it after today, after the one game,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said. “Those fans came in and basically turned it into Assembly Hall.”

Senior guard Jordan Hulls, a veteran of plenty of road games, said the crowd support was no surprise to him and the Indiana fanbase historically travels well.

“It’s always been good for us no matter where we’ve gone,” Hulls said. “I thank everybody for coming out. It got pretty loud once it got going, so that was pretty cool.”

Hulls has played several neutral site games, including a Madison Square Garden upset of Pittsburgh as a freshman, but for freshmen guard Kevin ‘Yogi’ Ferrell and forward Jeremy Hollowell, Monday’s was a first.

“It was really good for us to get on the road and get a win against a good team like Georgia,” Hulls said. “I thought Yogi came in and played like he has been here for a long time.”

The atmosphere was also altered by the presence of someone who certainly was not wearing cream and crimson. Former IU Coach Bob Knight was calling the game for ESPN’s broadcast, his closest contact with IU since his firing in 2000.

“We shook hands and Coach Knight said ‘good luck,’” IU Coach Tom Crean said. “I just wanted to make sure that I did that. We just happened to have him. He’s working and we’re working and I just wanted to make sure that when they were walking off I had a chance to shake his hand.”

Crean said there were also NBA scouts in attendance to see players on the four tournament teams, though he dismissed any thought of their presence as a distraction to players such as sophomore forward Cody Zeller, who struggled with six points.

But Knight is just one man, and the NBA scouts just a smattering among a crowd that was largely mobilized IU fans. Oladipo said that was ultimately the biggest factor of the environment Monday evening.

“Hopefully they’ll come out tomorrow night, because we’ll need them,” Oladipo said. “It was great support. Without them, we probably couldn’t have won this one. I’m glad they came out and showed us some love, and hopefully they continue to keep doing that.”

Get stories like this in your inbox
Subscribe