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Tuesday, Feb. 20
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Win comes at cost

Central Connecticut State

IU neutralized the nation’s top scorer Saturday evening, and even a superhero effort by his sidekick could not stop IU’s fast break attack.

Junior guard Victor Oladipo and sophomore forward Cody Zeller landed dunk after dunk as IU once again outran an overmatched nonconference foe, coming away with a 100-69 home victory against Central Connecticut State.

“They were absolutely locked in, and our play showed it,” IU Coach Tom Crean said. “They just played at a very high level. We got up. We continued to play hard. We created things off of our defense. We were getting some offense from the guys that were in.”

Senior forward Christian Watford led the team with 21 points, while Zeller had 19 points and 19 rebounds. His rebound total was a career high.

CCSU’s Kyle Vinales entered the contest averaging 25.9 points per game, but was kept at just seven points as he missed numerous jump shots and finished 3-for-15 from the field. It broke his streak of six consecutive games with more than 20 points.

“It was a full team effort,” Oladipo said. “(Junior forward) Will (Sheehey) was on him, (sophomore guard) Remy (Abell) was on him, and we all did a pretty good job of not letting him get comfortable out there, not letting him get to his sweet spots and making him use his off-hand.”

Matt Hunter picked up the slack, though, going off for 40 points. His effort included six three-pointers and perfect 8-for-8 shooting from the foul line as he accrued more than half of his team’s points.

The Blue Devils won the tipoff and struck first, keeping the game close for the opening few minutes. A Blue Devil free throw after the first media timeout tied the game at 9-9 4:06 in.

Then, IU ripped off a fast break-fueled run that largely put the game to bed early.

IU outscored CCSU 35-9 in the next 10:01, with many of the points coming off fast breaks and ending in dunks, including three thundering jams by Oladipo.

Against the undersized Blue Devils, the Hoosiers consistently attacked the paint, even with smaller players such as Oladipo and freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell. All told, the flurry of dunks and layups gave IU 56 points in the paint.

IU was aggressive on defense early and came away with several steals to start breaks. As CCSU’s deficit grew, though, it resorted to launching more and more three-pointers rather than attacking the basket against the larger Hoosiers.

IU adjusted accordingly and focused on the rebounding battle, which it won 53-31 in large part due to Zeller’s 19.

The news was not all good for IU in the first half, though.

Sophomore forward Austin Etherington went down under the CCSU basket with 2:28 left, clutching his knee. He was taken off on a stretcher amidst crowding teammates and cheering fans.

Etherington was taken to the hospital shortly after halftime and diagnosed with a fractured patella. He had surgery Sunday morning. A full recovery is expected, but his season is finished.

“Any time you lose a valued member of your program it not only hurts the team, but also everyone’s hearts,” Crean said in a press release Sunday. “Austin has been doing an excellent job improving, and now we have to help him overcome this setback and move forward.”

The second half saw IU quickly build its lead back up to 25 and keep it in that vicinity for much of the period.

IU continued to employ the fast break, while CCSU slowed the game down somewhat and worked more out of the half court on offense.

Eventually, the fast break wore down the Blue Devils as IU utilized its reserves for energy off the bench and pushed the lead past 30. IU reached triple digits with 1:14 remaining, the second such feat this season.

“We came out with a lot of energy tonight, which was big for us,” Zeller said. “That’s good because we can never come out slow. We will get right back to the drawing board and figure out where we messed up and where we can get better.”

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