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Friday, Feb. 23
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

IU overcomes slow first half, beats Iowa 73-60

Basketball v. Iowa

IU scored just 26 points in Saturday evening’s first half, shooting a mere 28.6 percent.

These had to be the numbers Iowa dreamed of, products of cold IU shooting that would seemingly leave the Hoosiers ripe for another Big Ten upset.

Yet IU had a double-digit lead.

Iowa scored all of 14 points in the first period of Saturday’s 73-60 Indiana win at home, the lowest output of an IU opponent all season.

“For us to defend them the way we did tonight and hold them to 14 points in the first half says a lot about our defense, a lot about our resolve,” IU Coach Tom Crean said.
IU’s first half defensive dominance was not predicated on a single Iowa drought, but rather a series small dry spells. Until their final two scores of the half, it took the Hawkeyes at least 2:58 after a basket to score again.

As he has been numerous times this season, junior guard Victor Oladipo was a defensive catalyst for IU early, racking up three steals in the game’s first 2:40.

However, fouls mounted for Oladipo nearly as quickly, and he was limited to just 22 minutes for the game in one of his shortest outings of the season. Crean said that that did not keep him from having an impact on the game, though.

“We didn’t win without Victor,” Crean said. “We just had to play some minutes without him ... they were trying to foul him out and he kept having to play through extended minutes on the bench ... it just so happened that had to play a different game tonight a little. Once he got the fouls, maybe he couldn’t be as aggressive.”

Even with four fouls, though, Oladipo still came through once again late for IU. As Iowa mounted a comeback and closed the gap to 10 points with less than three minutes, Oladipo swiped the ball from a Hawkeye ball handler, then zipped it to junior forward Will Sheehey, who finished with a layup.

Crean and his players have often spoken of using defense to create offense, and that was again the case Saturday, at least to an extent.

Even though IU scored only 26 points itself in the half, IU led in rebounds, steals and nearly every non-shooting offensive category. Shots simply did not fall.

“When you’re creating turnovers, when you’re getting defensive rebounds, when you’re getting those stops put together, you’re getting easier baskets and at the same time you’re cutting into the fatigue of the other team and into their confidence level,” Crean said. “We’ve been there. That’s why I love the maturity of this group right now. Even when the shots aren’t falling, they’re still playing at a very high level.”

The teams’ first contest this season, a 69-65 IU win in Iowa City, was no barnburner either. IU kept Iowa to just 25 points in that game, but freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell said the team drew lessons from the win that helped it stymie the Iowa offense Saturday.

“We didn’t let the lack of offense affect what we needed to do defensively. They were talking through that.”

“They definitely get the ball out and push,” Ferrell said. “We just wanted to do a better job, especially when we scored, to get back on defense because I remember in the second half when we played at their place, they had a lot of inside looks on us and we weren’t getting back.”

Even when both offenses became more effective in the second half, IU never trailed thanks to the cushion its first half defense built, something sophomore forward Cody Zeller said the team was aware of.

“The thing that kept us going was our defense,” Zeller said. “We kept getting stops on the defensive end. We struggled at times on our offense but when you’re getting stops you’re going to win."

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