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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports men's basketball

Zeisloft rebounds after slow start

All Nick Zeisloft could do was shrug.

To start the game, his first 3-point attempt of the night was a brick off the glass. His second wasn’t much better.

But with 11:09 left in the second half, Zeisloft hit a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc to put IU up 65-48 in a 94-70 rout of Northwood.

As he backpedaled on defense, he gave a quick raise of the shoulders.

On a night when IU Coach Tom Crean joked Zeisloft’s first shot “almost went through the glass,” the Illinois State transfer scored 24 points.

A little more than 24 hours earlier, Zeisloft was sitting alone at a podium within Assembly Hall answering questions about the team’s leadership and off-court issues.

At the podium Thursday night, he was talking ?basketball.

It was a welcome change of topic for Zeisloft.

“We had a lot of fun tonight,” Zeisloft said. “We were ready to play.”

Zeisloft’s slow start didn’t bother him. And Zeisloft didn’t let a slow start bother him on Thursday.

He finished 5-for-10 shooting and was 4 for 8 from beyond the arc after a pair of early misses that Crean jokingly made fun of him about.

“Shooters know that you just have to let the last one go,” Zeisloft said.

On the line, which IU was at early and often in the game, he was a perfect 10 for 10.

That was particularly pleasing to Crean, who said he has been stressing getting to the line and taking advantage of his natural shooting ability.

Zeisloft shot 90 percent from the free throw line last year at Illinois State but only got to the line 30 times, which didn’t allow him to qualify to be among league leaders in free-throw percentage.

“That’s one of the big keys that we talked about when he wanted to come here is (free throws),” Crean said. “It’s part of the whole situation with him.”

Crean also added he’s working with Zeisloft to become better coming off of screens and handling the ball.

Late in the game, he experimented posting up Zeisloft to add a bit more flair to his offensive game.

Near the end of his night, Zeisloft added a one-handed, three-quarter court heave to sophomore guard Kevin Yogi Ferrell on the break to set up a fast break score.

After the game, Zeisloft turned most of the attention away, crediting teammates, especially the other guards.

Zeisloft combined with the freshman pair of James Blackmon Jr. and Rob Johnson to score 63 points.

“We’re going to continue to do that,” Zeisloft said. “We have a lot of shooters out there and a lot of weapons.”

Crean said he only expects Zeisloft to continue to improve with time.

The leadership of a former captain is a welcome addition to IU, but it’s the on-court contribution that had Crean excited after ?Thursday.

“I’m not surprised by how he played, and I’m also not surprised that his shot went off the other side of the backboard when he took his first shot,” Crean said. “It’s a big deal for him to play at Indiana. It’s a big, big deal ... I’m glad to have him because he stands for a lot.”

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