____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>CHICAGO-To most IU fans, Illinois’s Tyler Griffey may represent the Hoosier loss this season that shouldn’t have been.On Feb. 7 in Champaign, Ill., Brandon Paul found Griffey wide-open under the basket off an out-of-bounds play with just two seconds to play and the game tied. Unguarded, Griffey easily dropped in the game-winning bucket to take down then-No. 1 IU 74-72.Friday at the United Center in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament, Griffey did his best to pull the Fighting Illini back from a 14-point deficit they took into the locker room at halftime.But this time around, the Hoosiers didn’t crumble under the charging Illinois offense, fending off every 3-point strike and move onto the third round after the 80-64 victory.Back in February, the Hoosiers led Illinois by as many as 14 points in the second half and held a 10-point lead with close to four minutes to play before poor offensive rhythm and turnovers led to IU’s demise.This time, though, Illinois began striking a bit earlier, as Griffey drained his first bucket of the game, a 3-pointer, to open the second half, cutting IU’s lead to 11 just nine seconds into the second half.Illinois’s Tracy Abrams followed suit just two minutes later, as the Fighting Illini began to fall into a rhythm that they struggled to find in the first half.In Champaign, it was two late back-to-back 3-pointers from D.J. Richardson that helped erase IU’s double-digit lead, but the Hoosiers fought shot-for-shot this time around.The teams traded buckets for the next several minutes until the Hoosiers got some fire off the bench from junior forward Will Sheehey and sophomore guard Remy Abell.With 15:40 left, Sheehey was left unguarded on the right wing, and freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell found the recipient of the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year award in the corner to get IU’s lead back up to 13.Abell kept the lead there with a 3-pointer with 12:48 to go.Illinois Coach John Groce felt like his team came ready to fight in the second half on the offensive end, but he couldn’t coach his players past the unexpectedly consistent shooting from IU’s bench beyond the arc in the second half.“I thought Abell gave them positive contributions, made a couple jumpers, which typically (he) doesn’t do that,” Groce said. “Those are big plays. Sheehey makes two 3’s. He’s whatever he is, a 32 percent 3-point shooter. Those are two big shots.”Richardson tried to spark his team with into another second half run after answering Abell’s trey just over a minute later, but senior forward Christian Watford’s trusty 3-point shot erased any chance at gaining momentum on the Hoosiers.“Watford made a couple, and he’s been really good all year from three,” Groce said. “He buried a couple. The last one was a real dagger that he made.”The Fighting Illini crawled back within single digits for less than two minutes after two Richardson free throws with 8:17 remaining, but another upset win wasn’t in the cards for Groce and his team Friday afternoon.Watford hit his second 3-pointer of the game with 5:33 to play to put IU back ahead 13 points, and from there on, the IU lead never dipped into the single digits and grew as large as 20.The senior from Birmingham, Ala. said that he and his teammates learned a lot from their late second half collapse to Illinois a month ago, and with the help of a rhythm from several players from behind the arc Friday, the Hoosiers prevented a second upset this season by the Fighting Illini.“We learned from that game,” Watford said. “We looked at the film last night, and we looked at some things. We know we shouldn’t have done some things. We let one get away. We knew what they do, and we kept grinding it out and kept playing.”
250 items found for your search. If no results were found please broaden your search.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>After the grueling journey through what many have called the toughest men’s basketball conference in the NCAA, the IU men’s basketball team emerged as the outright Big Ten regular season champions, a feat no IU team had accomplished since 1993.But for the team that came into the 2012-13 season as the nation’s No. 1 team, a regular season conference title was only the start of what they hope will be something very special.“It feels like the season is starting over again,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said.Oladipo and the Hoosiers will begin their post season run this Friday at 12 p.m. ET at the United Center in Chicago with their first game of the Big Ten postseason tournament against Illinois.To pull out a win Sunday against then-No. 7 Michigan in the final minute, the Hoosiers had to not only battle through the defense of Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke and the rest of the Wolverines, but also play in Crisler Arena filled with more than 12,000 neon yellow-clad screaming Wolverine fans.Yet in Chicago, as well as every game the Hoosiers play during the post season, they will no longer have to deal with the noise and tension of playing in an arena where most of the crowd is rooting for them to lose.During three neutral-site games this season - two games in Brooklyn, N.Y. in the Progressive Legends Classic at the Barclays Center against Georgia and Georgetown, along with one game in Indianapolis in the Boston Scientific Close the Gap Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse against Butler – the Hoosiers have clearly had the advantage in crowd numbers.In Brooklyn, the Barclays Center was nearly filled with crimson shirts and jerseys, even during the Georgetown game when Hoya fans would have had to have traveled less than 300 miles from Washington D.C., while Hoosiers from Bloomington had to drive or fly nearly 800 miles to make the trip. As senior guard Jordan Hulls said, no matter where the Hoosiers play, especially with the team’s success this season, there’s always a good number of IU fans in the crowd.“It’s a fun environment. IU fans always travel really well,” Hulls said. “We’ll have people there cheering for us, but we’ll also have people cheering against us as well. It’s always fun to go to a new place. We’re ready to do well, so it’ll be fun.”Along with the three games this season as well as the NCAA Tournament last season, several Hoosiers have past experience playing in the neutral court environment. Freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, sophomore forward Cody Zeller and Hulls each played in Bankers Life Fieldhouse during their high school careers while vying for Indiana state basketball championships.Additionally, Ferrell and Zeller have each played in the United Center previously, each during their respective McDonald’s All-American games in high school, and they both echoed that playing in an NBA arena does pose a different type of atmosphere compared to playing at home or away on a college court.Yet, when it’s all said and done, junior forward Will Sheehey said that the Hoosiers can’t look at this tournament and the post season any differently than the regular season, where the Hoosiers went 26-5 while wrapping up a regular season conference title along with the possibility of holding a No. 1-seed when it comes time for the NCAA Tournament.“We’re preparing for it the same way,” Sheehey said. “We’ll have the same mental focus and the same preparation as always.“We’ve been preparing for this stretch for a long time. We played in the preseason tournament up in Brooklyn, which was similar. It’s a tough league, and it’ll be a tough little tournament.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Along with the status of the regular season Big Ten title, Sunday’s game pitting No. 2 IU against No. 7 Michigan was supposed to settle the Big Ten and National Player of the Year debates.Junior guard Victor Oladipo and Michigan’s Trey Burke had been towards the top of lists all around the country coming into the teams’ regular season finale in Ann Arbor.Oladipo posted a career-high 13 rebounds to go along with 14 points for his second-career double-double. Burke put up 20 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc.Yet to Oladipo, the rest of the country will be crazy if they don’t give the player of the year award to his teammate, sophomore forward Cody Zeller, whose six points in the final 41 seconds Sunday at the Crisler Center boosted IU past Michigan for a 72-71 victory, sealing the outright regular season Big Ten title for the first time since 1993.“I’ve been saying all year long he should be the player of the year,” Oladipo said. “If y’all don’t give it to him, there’s something wrong with you.”But it took a while for Zeller to get going early. The 7-foot forward missed his first four shots as he and the rest of his teammates struggled to get the bounces early on, missing 14 layups in the first half. Oladipo pulled down four offensive rebounds in the first half, but the Hoosiers weren’t quite getting the rolls they needed.Yet.After managing an early 10-3 fueled by two early 3-pointers from senior guard Jordan Hulls, the Wolverines took off on a 12-0 run that lasted 4:22. The Hoosiers took a seven-point lead into the first media timeout, and it wouldn’t be until after the second one that they would score again.In all, IU scored just six points in 11:39, but Michigan wasn’t exactly shooting lights out to build a lead that reached as many as 11 points – tying IU’s largest deficit this season.But Michigan finished the first half making just two of the its final six shots, and seven points from Zeller in the final 3:22 of the half pulled the Hoosiers within three, 33-30.Zeller scored three more points in the first minute of the second half, and another 3-pointer from Hulls gave IU its first lead since the 13:31 mark in the first half.3-pointers would play a major role for both teams in the second half, as Michigan hit 7-of-12 from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes and the Hoosiers were 4-of-10.Glenn Robinson III, Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. each hit 3-pointers during a 9-2 Michigan run to take a six point lead with 15:22 left, its largest lead of the second half.After shooting 0-of-8 in the first half to go along with three turnovers and three fouls, IU’s bench, highlighted by junior forward Will Sheehey and freshman forward Jeremy Hollowell, found its offensive rhythm it lacked in the first half.The pair scored 10 consecutive IU points, including 3-pointers from both, and it seemed that IU had stolen the thunder of the neon yellow-clad Crisler Center crowd.The Hoosiers led by as many as four after freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell hit a jumper with 9:10 to go, but as the lead swung back and forth, neither team gained total control.That was, until Burke tied the game at 66 with 2:12 left. Hulls responded with a missed 3-pointer. Ferrell threw the ball out of bounds. Zeller was called for traveling. After buckets from Jordan Morgan and Hardaway Jr., IU was down four with 1:03 to go and the Hoosiers hung their heads going to into the team huddle after Michigan called its final timeout.But just as they did in the closing minutes of the first half, the Wolverines couldn’t keep their momentum going. Senior forward Christian Watford put a hard foul on Robinson III after he sunk behind the IU defense during an inbounds play and drove to the basket.The hard foul was worth it though, as Robinson III missed the first of two free throws, giving the Hoosiers a fighting chance. Rather than Oladipo, as he did down the stretch in East Lansing, Mich. several weeks ago against Michigan State, it was instead Zeller, a player who may have fallen out of the player of the year race, who helped seal the outright Big Ten title in the final minutes.Even down five points, Crean said his players had the experience of close games down the stretch this season, and they knew that Zeller would be there when they needed him most.“Nobody thought we were out of time,” Crean said. “They had to miss a couple shots to help you out, but I mean, nobody felt like we weren’t going to come down and make plays.“They stayed committed to what was working. No one got into a ‘I’ve got to win this myself’ and they knew that No. 40 was impossible to guard tonight.”Zeller followed with a quick bucket off his own miss, and Hardaway Jr. missed the front end of a 1-and-1 moments later. The Hoosiers were now down only three.After Zeller hit two pressure-packed free throws, Burke had two chances to keep his team in the driver’s seat, but Oladipo’s tenacious defense throughout the game may have drained him just a bit too much in the game’s final minute.“I was just trying to get him tired and slow him down a little bit,” Oladipo said. “He’s a phenomenal player, as you guys can tell. He made tough shots, but maybe he didn’t have the legs to hit that final free throw at the end. Who knows.”Burke clanked the first attempt in a 1-and-1, and Zeller followed with another basket to take a 72-71 lead.Burke took the inbounds pass with 14 seconds left and drove the length of the court and put up a layup that rimmed out.Morgan managed to grab the offensive rebound and flipped in the put back. The ball seemed to stop for a moment on the rim, only to fall off, as Watford pulled down the rebound to clinch the victory and the outright Big Ten title.The Hoosiers finally got the roll they needed.“I’m kind of speechless,” Oladipo said. “It’s been a crazy ride. We’ve had our share of ups and downs, but this team comes together when we really need to. I’d so proud of my teammates.”After the final seconds ticked off the clock, Oladipo shared a moment on the court. The junior said he hadn’t felt like he’d played up to his potential his last few games, and Crean reassured him of how great a player he truly was.After the game, Crean wouldn’t give a definitive opinion on the player of the year race, but like Oladipo, he said Zeller deserved more credit than he’s been getting lately.Through the pressure of being named the preseason player of the year by media all over the country, Zeller has emerged as one of the best players in IU history, Crean said.“I look at some of these teams that are starting to come out, and there he is on the third team, and I’m not even quite sure what anybody could possibly be remotely thinking about that,” Crean said. “That is one of the best players that’s going to come through Indiana, no matter what.“No matter how long we have him, he’s one of the best players, not to mention best people, but one of the best players that’s ever going to come through here.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Even before their stunning loss to No. 14 Ohio State March 5, on Senior Night no less, the IU men’s basketball team already had something to be proud of.After the team’s win against Iowa the weekend before, coupled with losses by Wisconsin and Michigan State the following day, the Hoosiers had clinched at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title, something the program hadn’t done since 2002 when IU, with former IU Coach Mike Davis on the bench, made a journey all the way to the national championship game before falling to Maryland in the finals.Before the March 5 loss, IU Coach Tom Crean said the athletic department, along with IU President Michael McRobbie, had planned a coronation ceremony to celebrate what they hoped would be an outright Big Ten title after seniors Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford and Derek Elston gave their Senior Night speeches.But with the 67-58 loss, the Hoosiers instead cut down the nets and snapped photos with the championship trophy while donning Big Ten champion hats with blank stares and signs of disappointment in the postgame press conference.“We were trying to celebrate what these guys have earned, but at the same time, we didn’t earn it tonight,” Crean said in the postgame press conference.Instead of what could have been the ultimate celebration on Senior Night, the Hoosiers will have to pull out a victory Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich. against No. 7 Michigan in order to seal the first outright Big Ten regular season title in Bloomington in 20 years to go along with the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten postseason tournament the following week.More than a month ago when the teams first met under the pressure of College GameDay, the Hoosiers took down then-No. 1 Michigan 81-73 in Assembly Hall in what was one of the most balanced scoring games by IU’s starting five this season.Each of the five starters scored at least 11 points, with sophomore forward Cody Zeller leading the way with 19 on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. Hulls anchored an IU 3-point attack that was nearly 40 percent for the game, shooting 3-of-4 from beyond the arc by himself.IU gave up 25 points to national Player of the Year candidate Trey Burke, but it took the sophomore guard 24 shots from the field to get there as the Wolverines shot 42.9 percent from the floor, compared to IU’s 52 percent.After that win, the Hoosiers took over as the No. 1 team in the country, and it appeared that after victories against Ohio State and Michigan State in the following weeks that IU was lined up for the outright conference title.But two losses in the past three games have hurt their chances.A win on March 10 against Michigan would clinch the outright title. A loss would mean the Hoosiers will be sharing the honors with at least Michigan, and possibly Ohio State and Michigan State. Tiebreakers will instead determine IU’s seeding in the Big Ten tournament. With titles for both teams on the line, there’s no question the Michigan game will be one of the most important of the season, Crean said, but he added that it’s only one in a long list of big games for the Hoosiers this year.“They’re all big games,” he said. “There’s no question we’ll go into that with a one-game mindset. That’s how you coach this time of year, and that’s exactly how we’re going to operate as much as possible.“We know we’re playing a really good team. We know what they’re capable of. We know the stakes for them.”The stakes for IU, though, are arguably higher. After Michigan’s upset loss to the bottom of the Big Ten, Penn State, the Wolverines fell to No. 7 even with a win against then-No. 9 Michigan State and hurt their chances at claiming a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.Even with the March 5 loss at home, the Hoosiers are still projected by many of the national analysts to hold onto the No. 1 seed in the Midwest for now, but going into the postseason on a two-game losing streak could put that into serious jeopardy.But for now, Crean said he’s got his players focusing on the game ahead, not the standings or the rankings or seeding. Taking care of business will allow all that to fall into place, he said.“We just want to win the next game, “ he said. “That’s really what the focus is on, there’s no hyperbole. There’s no more than what it is other than to win the next game.“Right now, we just need to go up there and put our best foot forward and focus on Michigan and not the rest of it.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>They took the ball down the court for the final time in Assembly Hall this season, and though the IU men’s basketball team was seconds away from a 67-58 loss to Ohio State on Senior Night, the students in the general admission section weren’t done just yet.“Thank you, seniors,” they chanted in unison.A video tribute for Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford began to play on the jumbo-tron with The Wanted’s “I’m Glad You Came” playing in the background, and IU fans were reminded exactly what this senior class brought to the struggling IU program four years ago.“Their efforts have been instrumental to bringing Indiana back to the nation’s elite programs,” IU Assistant Athletic Director Chuck Crabb said.IU Coach Tom Crean started off the speeches, noting that when he was courting the three members of this year’s senior class, he didn’t really have any success to promise them.“Really what we were selling them was the tradition of Indiana,” Crean said. “When we started here, we didn’t have that on the court, but we had the tradition.“They could not only come in as part of the tradition, but they could come in and make their own, and I think they’ve done that.”Crean first introduced Elston, the senior who may have lacked the impressive stats on the court, but Crean said there was no one else more instrumental to impacting his teammates off the court.“He is defined as a leader in this program,” Crean said. “None of the three of them walked into leadership … They had to create their own, and that’s really hard.“Derek Elston takes a back seat to no one when it comes to perseverance.”Elston struggled through the end of his career at IU, plagued by a knee injury that surfaced before the start of his senior season. For several weeks, he took on the role of another assistant coach during practice in Cook Hall.“I’m up here with two guys who came in with me,” Elston said. “We always said to the reporters we were going to be the group to bring it back. Everybody kind of looked at us like we were crazy.”Hulls followed, the one of the trio who was recruited the least up until a magical AAU tournament during the spring of his junior year of high school at Bloomington South High School. Luckily for Hulls, IU Associate Head Coach Tim Buckley was in the stands, and from there on, Hulls stayed another four years in Bloomington and became one of the most important players during the rebuilding process of IU basketball.“We haven’t made a lot of great moves, but that was a great one, that was a big time move,” Crean said.Hulls’ entire family came to Assembly Hall the night he committed to IU, including cousins, aunts and uncles that span across the country. He said that during his time at IU, his family members began creating more and more IU fans across the country, but nothing was more important during his IU career than family, Hulls said.The Bloomington-native got very emotional when talking about his sisters, in particular. His younger sister, Kaila, a fellow IU basketball player, always gave him someone to compete with, and his older sister, Kati, was the one the family always looked to for anything about the team.“They were always there for me, always believing in me, even when no one else would be,” said Hulls as he hesitated to wipe away tears from his face.Watford finished up the ceremony with a thanks, in particular, to the IU students.To them, he will always be remembered for the “Wat-Shot”, but he noted they had always been there, from the 10-win season to storming the court against Kentucky, and even after Tuesday’s loss.Crean had the players cut down the nets after the speeches were complete, saying they deserved it for earning the share of the Big Ten title, along with the long road the seniors had traveled down.But IU’s senior class isn’t quite satisfied yet.“We’ve got more games to play,” said Elston, as he pointed to IU’s five NCAA Championship banners hanging across the gym from him. “In a few weeks, it’s time to go take care of something on that wall.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Luckily for IU’s three seniors, last Saturday’s game against Iowa wasn’t the trio’s last game in Assembly Hall.Sure, the Hoosiers pulled out a 73-60 victory, and Sunday’s game clinched a share of the Big Ten title after losses from Wisconsin and Michigan State. But in a game characterized by an abundance of foul calls and sluggish offensive play early on, IU’s senior class left room for improvement in their final game at Assembly Hall at 9 p.m. today as No. 2 IU takes on No. 14 Ohio State.Senior forward Derek Elston tied his season high Saturday with five points on 2-of-4 shooting in nine minutes of action, but senior guards Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford, two of IU’s most lethal scoring threats, combined for just seven points — all from free throws — while shooting a combined 0-of-15 from the floor.IU Coach Tom Crean said that what’s important is his seniors led the team to another victory.“It’s important that we win, and they impact winning,” Crean said. “For me to tell you that they need to shoot a certain percentage — it’s not like that. Jordan Hulls has had two tough field goal games against Iowa, and we’re 2-0 this year, and that’s the bottom line.“Obviously they want to do well individually, and I don’t blame them. We want them to do well individually, but when you win collectively, that’s what you’ve got to focus on.”Along with playing in their last game in Assembly Hall, Hulls, Watford and Elston will have to deal with the emotion and excitement of trying to clinch an outright Big Ten regular season title, something IU hasn’t done since 1993.Crean said he knows his seniors will be extra energetic, but he hopes they use that energy in a positive way.“There will be a lot of emotion surrounding the game and surrounding the building, but the energy and the excitement of the crowd and the excitement of playing has to override it,” Crean said. “We’ve played in a lot of games that have been surrounded by a lot of hype, a lot of hoopla — highly ranked teams, highly ranked television games — but because we came and were able to focus over that, we’ve been better.”But for a senior class that has gone through some of the roughest moments in IU basketball history, maybe a rough game to lead into senior night is fitting.Hulls, Elston and Watford went 22-41 in their first two years in the candy stripes as Crean and his coaching staff tried to rebuild the struggling program marred by the transgressions of former IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.Watford and Hulls were thrown right into the mix their freshman year. Watford has started all but two games during his entire IU career, and Hulls has started every game since his sophomore year. Because they spent so much of their first two seasons doing whatever they could to scrape together wins, sophomore forward Cody Zeller said stats aren’t as important to the senior class, even if it’s their last game in Assembly Hall.“What makes those seniors so great is they don’t care about personal stats or anything,” Zeller said. “I think if we come out and play well and win, even if one of them doesn’t play well, I think they’ll be happy just because it’s a big win for us, ending on a win and winning the Big Ten.”Crean said he has barely let himself focus on the fact that Tuesday night will be the last time he’ll get to watch his first true recruiting class play on Branch McCracken Court. For him, winning Tuesday night is all that matters.“We have so much in front of us that that’s what you’ve got to keep your focus on,” Crean said. “It hits me at times, it does. I love these guys, but the bottom line is we’re right in the middle of it right now. When you’re right in the middle of it, that’s when you’ve got to keep your focus.“I don’t see closure in front of us, so that’s what’s most important. Everything’s about getting ready to beat the Ohio State Buckeyes.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>After the IU men’s basketball team lost to unranked Minnesota last Tuesday in Minneapolis, Minn., the Hoosiers fell to No. 2 in the latest AP and the USA Today coaches polls released this afternoon.Gonzaga took over the No. 1 spot this week in both polls, taking 51 first place votes in the AP Poll. IU received seven No. 1 votes, taking an obvious hit from the voters, even though the Hoosiers have now clinched a portion of the Big Ten regular season title after their win Saturday against Iowa, along with losses from Wisconsin and Michigan State on Sunday.After taking over the No. 1 spot for the first time this season, Gonzaga set the mark for the highest ranking from any mid-major school this season.Duke (five first-place votes), Kansas and Georgetown (two first-place votes) round out the AP top five, respectively.The top three teams from last week’s poll, including Duke, stayed within the top five, with the Blue Devils maintaining their No. 3 spot. Michigan fell out of the top five this week after falling to previously conference winless Penn State in State College, Pa., although the Wolverines took down Michigan State Sunday.Miami (FL) also fell out of last week’s top five after a three-point loss to Duke Saturday 79-76.The Big Ten continues to have five teams in the AP top 25, with Michigan (No. 7), Michigan State (No. 10), Ohio State (No. 14) and Wisconsin (No. 22). Illinois and Minnesota also received votes this week.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>After a tough loss on the road against Minnesota on Tuesday, the IU men’s basketball team faced a slightly tougher road to clinching an outright Big Ten regular season title.Now with three losses, many thought the Hoosiers would need at least two wins in their final three games to earn at least a share of the title, something IU hadn’t won since 2002.But with a 73-60 win Saturday at home against Iowa, along with losses by Wisconsin and Michigan State on Sunday, IU clinched a share of the 2012-13 Big Ten regular season title.Coming into Saturday’s matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes, IU’s trusty shooter senior guard Jordan Hulls was shooting nearly 48 percent.Yet it took until 6:16 left in the second half of IU’s 73-60 win against the Hawkeyes for Hulls to score a single point against Iowa this season.Saturday night, his scoring woes mirrored the struggles his teammates faced early on, shooting 28.6 percent as a team in the first half.The Hawkeyes gave IU every opportunity they could to let the Hoosiers blow open the game in its opening minutes. Iowa racked up 10 turnovers in less than 10 minutes. Despite Iowa starting the game shooting just 4-of-16 from the field, but the Hoosiers could not capitalize.With 10:03 remaining in the first half, IU managed only 13 points.“I think we were noticing we weren’t really making any shots,” freshman Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell said. “We know we’re a good shooting team. We kept shooting them and hoped that one of them would go down.”And for Iowa, the scoring troubles were even worse. The Hawkeyes scored just six points in the first 11 minutes. The Hoosiers’ lone bright spot for the half came on the defensive end, forcing 13 Iowa turnovers in the first half while allowing just 14 points. “(The offense) comes eventually,” sophomore forward Cody Zeller said. “When we’re defending, they’re not scoring. We’re still in good shape.”Early in the second half, the Hawkeyes cut the IU lead to eight by making their first two buckets in less than a minute. But the single digit lead didn’t last for long.Ferrell answered with a jumper and IU’s lead never dipped below 10 for the remainder of the game.Ferrell’s jumper, though, was the only shot IU would make until the game’s final minute, outside of the paint the entire game.Hulls and the Hoosiers continued to miss from behind the arc, missing their first 12 as a team. Zeller began to see the ball more and more inside, drawing a foul nearly every time down the court.This choppy start-and-stop game flow never allowed to IU to break the game wide open, but the Hawkeyes never managed to come back either. IU shot 19-of-25 from the free throw line in the second half as well as an improved 50 percent from the floor.IU’s traditional shooters struggled Saturday night as Hulls and senior forward Christian Watford failed to hit a single shot from the field.But the Hoosiers were able to maintain their double-digit lead with the inside presence of Zeller and the improved ability of Ferrell to find lanes to the basket, players said after the game.Zeller posted a game-high 22 points off a 7-of-9 shooting performance. He also added 10 rebounds to cap off the 13th double-double of his career.Ferrell scored a career-high 19 points in a performance IU Coach Tom Crean said was much improved from Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota.“Tonight he really focused on making the basket, and he did a much better job with that. He’s really a two-way player, and I wouldn’t trade him for anybody,” Crean said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Five feet.When Jordan Hulls grew up learning to shoot the basketball the proper way, his dad, J.C. Hulls, wouldn’t let him shoot more than five feet away from the hoop.When he first took to the sport, Hulls flung the ball at the hoop, his dad said, because he wasn’t strong enough, but that wasn’t the way to develop a good shooting form.Until seventh grade, Hulls was never allowed to shoot 3-pointers. His dad, who coached many of his teams growing up, just wanted a player he knew could manage the game.Now, after four years of college basketball on one of the top teams in the country, Hulls has blossomed into one of the most prolific shooters in IU history, while managing one of the most successful IU men’s basketball teams in recent memory.***As Hulls matured and continued to play basketball, he rarely shot the ball. His teams had success, his dad said, because he did whatever it took for his teams to win, even if that meant acting as the facilitator rather than trying to shoot.“I was always passing the ball. He always said ‘Just pass. Get the ball where it needs to go. Play defense, take charges,’” Hulls said of his father. “He never really let me shoot, so all the other shooters would spot up.”Hulls tried out for the Bloomington High School South team his freshman year, and he played a fair number of minutes for the junior varsity squad while dressing for the varsity team.Even though Hulls was three years younger than several of the players on the varsity squad, he worked his way into the lineup. The team made it all the way to the semi-finals of the Indiana 4A State Basketball Tournament.As a sophomore, he started alongside four seniors, leading the team right back to the semi-finals again, all the while earning respect for his leadership on and off the court.“We had really good players with him, but he was the guy who we’d turn to with the game on the line,” BHSS Coach J.R. Holmes said. “He had the ball in his hands to make the decision on where we were going to go down the stretch, and he was the leader of many very good players on that particular team.“I think four were Division I basketball players, but it was understood who the man was when it got to crunch time.”Yet, until the end of his junior year, the floor general of one of the best high school basketball programs in Indiana went largely unnoticed by many of the best basketball schools, including the one right down the road.“I wasn’t really recruited by anybody,” Hulls said. “It was just the way it was. I was just a little kid running around shooting threes and stuff. It was difficult.”Hulls and his dad said that during his first few years of high school, scouts from programs such as IU, Duke and Purdue would show up at his high school games, but watching the scrawny white kid with the long range wasn’t on their agenda.That was, until a special Amateur Athletic Union tournament during the spring of his junior year.While playing with his Indiana Elite AAU team in Pittsburgh during April 2008, Jordan led his team to the tournament title while facing off against one of the top guard prospects in the nation, John Wall, who is now the starting point guard for the Washington Wizards.Hulls knocked down 3-pointer after 3-pointer in front of IU Assistant Coach Tim Buckley and Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, and he flew home as one of the hottest names on the recruiting trail.“I remember flying back with him, and he said ‘Dad, I just don’t get it’, and I said ‘I don’t either,’” J.C. said. “‘You’re doing the same thing you’ve always done, so I don’t know why it was such a big deal.’”After hardly looking at the hometown guard, IU and newly-named Head Coach Tom Crean jumped on board to court Hulls, but the Hoosiers weren’t the obvious choice.He grew to become a huge Blue Devils fan after Bob Knight left the IU program, donning Duke posters in his room and a Duke license plate on his car in high school.“Everybody thought he was coming to IU right?” J.C. said. “That’s just an automatic? And not at all.“He wasn’t really coming here because it wasn’t a right fit at the time, and then Coach Crean gets here.“Crean basically comes to him and says ‘You’re the right kind of kid. It’s going to be hard, but we want you being the one to come help us, and we think you can do that.’”His senior season, Hulls would go on to lead BHHS to a 26-0 record en route to an elusive state championship, while being named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball.But no amount of success could prepare him for what the next two years had in store.***Hulls entered an IU program in the process of rebuilding after losing its former head coach Kelvin Sampson to numerous recruiting violations. The Hoosiers lost scholarships, and many players jumped ship, leaving IU with little to work with.The Bloomington native was a part of Crean’s first true recruiting class after the Hoosiers opened Crean’s IU career by going 6-25, the fewest wins by an IU basketball team since the 1915-16 season when the team played just 13 games.During his first season in the candy stripes, Hulls and the Hoosiers lost 21 games — more than he had ever lost during his entire high school basketball career.Losing wasn’t something he had to adjust to growing up, and it didn’t come without some difficult practices and rough nights on the phone with his dad.“You couldn’t have prepared yourself for what we had to go through,” Hulls said. “Winning 10 games and winning 12 games my second year, it was definitely a lot harder than anything I’ve ever done in my life. It was mentally and physically draining, and you didn’t quite know who to talk to or what to do because I came from never losing really my whole life.”Hulls, though, continued to persevere. In high school, he had developed a gym rat mentality, spending late nights and early mornings working on his shot with his dad or whoever would rebound for him.Because he lacked the physical gifts some great college basketball players were born with, Hulls knew he had to constantly improve his game.But hard work wasn’t an easy thing to instill among his teammates, who got discouraged from all the losing.“He would come in and say ‘I’m the only one shooting in the gym’ or ‘I’m the only one that’s doing this, I’m the only one doing that,’ and I said ‘Well, go grab Derek (Elston),’” J.C. said. “Go grab Mo (Creek), go grab Bobby (Capobianco) and bring them to shoot around.’“It was a very big maturing process from high school to college, where in high school, the high school coach is telling the other kids ‘Hey, listen to what that kid tells you. He knows what he’s talking about’, but when you get here, a college coach is saying ‘You tell them. I can’t be there all the time, so you take the reigns and go.’”***But promise was on the way.Feisty freshmen Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo came in during Hulls’ second year. The two players prided themselves on defense and work ethic, and things began to fall into place. Hulls finally had others who were willing to buy into what Crean would call the “365 Club,” a group reserved only for those players who worked on their games every single day.“We were all saying ‘Man, I’m tired’ and he’d go back in there, and you’d say ‘Jordan, you tired man? What’s up?’” senior forward Christian Watford said. “But that’s just Jordan. He’s got a motor, man. He can go forever and ever and ever. That’s what makes him Jordan.”Hulls’ work ethic began to spread as the Hoosiers took small steps back to relevance in the college basketball world.“Seeing him get extra shots made me want to get extra shots,” Watford said. “Seeing the way he shoots the basketball made me want to shoot the basketball as well as I could, and I feel like it’s worked out for the better for both of us.”Hulls said he saw things begin to take shape the summer before his junior season after Sheehey and Oladipo had a season under their belts and a special prospect, Cody Zeller, was preparing to make his debut on the college basketball scene. Players began to take to the gym more often, without Hulls having to pester them.The culture change was coming.The Hoosiers started the season on a roll, winning their first seven games. After a road win against NC State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Hulls said he began to notice he was a part of a different type of team than during his first two years.IU went on to beat No. 1 Kentucky just 10 days after the NC State victory and would go on to earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed.Even in losing to the eventual national champions in the Sweet 16, the Hoosiers had made it back to the promised land sooner than either Hulls or his family could have imagined.And Hulls and the Hoosiers were just getting started.***The Hoosiers now sit on the cusp of an overall No. 1 seed in the 2013 NCAA Tournament, and Hulls can tell it’s because of the culture change around the program that his teammates trace right back to his own work ethic.“We just have guys on the team who want to get better every day, so it’s very competitive in practice,” Hulls said. “That’s what makes us a good team, is that in our practices, we’re going at each other and going against good players, so we’re getting better that way.”But even he can’t deny the losses and the struggles he went through just to get noticed by his hometown school don’t feed into his motivation to work harder every single day.“It makes you appreciate winning that much more,” Hulls said. “You definitely hate to lose. I think we have a bunch of guys on this team who are dedicated to not getting back to that place, even though some of the guys weren’t in that situation.“They can feed off the energy of guys like Derek, myself, Christian, Victor and Will. They can see it in us that we don’t want to go back to that place.”Hulls said that with the success these last two years have brought, they certainly have flown by. Right now, all that’s on his mind is the next game against Ohio State, his last ever in Assembly Hall.He knows he started his career as a 6-foot freshman with the questions of more than 17,000 fans to answer. Nevertheless, the doubt and challenges he has overcome while playing on some of the best and worst basketball teams in IU history have made him even stronger.“There’s a lot of people out there who doubted me,” Hulls said. “They didn’t know if I was fast enough, tall enough, strong enough or whatever, so I feel like over the last four years, I’ve gotten a lot stronger, a lot faster, gotten better at shooting. Just my overall game has gotten better.”Holmes was one of the first to give Hulls a chance when he came into high school, and he said after Hulls finishes this season, all he needs is one more person to believe in him to be able to continue his career as a basketball player at the professional level.He’s got the skills, Holmes said. All he needs is an opportunity.“If someone will give him a chance,” Holmes said. “Sometimes they get into that point where they look at size and quickness and dunking and stuff like that. If they check out the heart and the work ethic and the leadership ability and someone gives him a chance, I think there’s an opportunity for him to play on.”J.C. thinks the sky is the limit for his son.“He’s got a dream, and his dream is to play at the next level,” he said. “Can he play at the next level? I don’t know. People have told him he could, that he has a shot at it because of the things he does, how he shoots, how he sees the floor. The things he does are still valued.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Coming into Saturday’s matchup against the Iowa Hawkeyes, IU’s trusty shooter senior guard Jordan Hulls was shooting nearly 48 percent for the Hoosiers.Yet it took until 6:16 left in the second half of IU’s 73-60 win against the Hawkeyes for Hulls to score a single point against Iowa this season.Earlier this season on New Year’s Eve, the Bloomington native shot 0-of-10 from the floor in Carver-Hawkeye Arena and failed to make it to the foul line in his scoreless performance to open Big Ten play.Saturday night, his scoring woes mirrored the struggles his teammates faced early on, shooting 28.6 percent as a team in the first half.The Hawkeyes gave IU every opportunity they could to let the Hoosiers blow open the game in its opening minutes. Iowa racked up 10 turnovers in less than 10 minutes while starting the game shooting just 4-of-16 from the field, but the Hoosiers could not capitalize.IU started the game shooting just 1-of-7, including four straight misses to open the game by sophomore forward Cody Zeller.The Hoosiers continued to feed Zeller the ball in the post for much of the game, as he was able to draw several fouls inside and take advantage of the tight game being called. But even IU’s big man, who came in averaging nearly 77 percent from the free throw line, missed three of his first six attempts.With 10:03 remaining in the first half, IU had managed just 13 points.“I think we were noticing we weren’t really making any shots,” freshman Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell said. “We know we’re a good shooting team. We kept shooting them and hoped that one of them would go down.”And for Iowa, the scoring troubles were even worse. The Hawkeyes scored just six points in the first 11 minutes. Whether it was at his players for struggling to find the bottom of the net or the refs for some questionable foul calls, Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery seldom stopped yelling.With 10:26 left, his intensity finally earned him a technical foul, but junior guard Victor Oladipo hit just 1-of-2 from the line.The Hoosiers’ lone bright spot for the half came on the defensive end, forcing 13 Iowa turnovers in the first half while allowing just 14 points. Although IU wasn’t lighting it up on offense, it was the defense, Zeller said, that allowed their offense time to catch fire.“It comes eventually,” Zeller said. “When we’re defending, they’re not scoring. We’re still in good shape. Obviously it looks better when we’re scoring, but we can win if it’s a low scoring game because our defense is playing well.”Early in the second half, the Hawkeyes cut the IU lead to eight by making their first two buckets in less than a minute. But the single digit lead didn’t last for long.Ferrell answered with a jumper and IU’s lead never dipped below 10 for the remainder of the game and hit as many as 17 points.Ferrell’s jumper, though, was the only shot until the game’s final minute that IU would make outside of the paint the entire game.Hulls and the Hoosiers continued to miss from behind the arc, missing their first 12 as a team. Zeller began to see the ball more and more inside, drawing a foul nearly every time down the court as the refs never shied away from their whistles.This choppy start-and-stop game flow never allowed to IU to break the game wide open, but the Hawkeyes never managed to come back either. IU shot 19-of-25 from the free throw line in the second half as well as an improved 50 percent from the floor.IU’s traditional shooters struggled Saturday night as Hulls and senior forward Christian Watford failed to hit a single shot from the field, shooting a combined 0-of-15 while combining for seven points, all from free throws.But the Hoosiers were able to maintain their double-digit lead with the inside presence of Zeller and the improved ability of Ferrell to find lanes to the basket, players said after the game.Zeller posted a game-high 22 points off a 7-of-9 shooting performance after his four straight misses to open the game. He also added 10 rebounds to cap off the 13th double-double of his career.Ferrell scored a career-high 19 points in a performance IU Coach Tom Crean said was much improved from Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota.In Minneapolis, Minn., Crean said that Ferrell was looking too much to draw the foul. Saturday night, he went to the bucket looking to score, and his shots fell in.“Tonight he really focused on making the basket, and he did a much better job with that. He’s really a two-way player, and I wouldn’t trade him for anybody,” Crean said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The IU men’s basketball team has come a long way since Big Ten play began on Dec. 31, 2012, in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.IU entered its first matchup of the season with the Hawkeyes, the No. 5 team in the country, still trying to claw its way back to the top of the polls after losing to unranked Butler on a neutral court a couple weeks prior, falling from the No. 1 status it had held all season.And though the polls will not change until next week’s votes from the AP and NCAA coaches are finalized, keeping IU as the top team in the country for at least three more days, the Hoosiers enter Saturday’s matchup against Iowa at Assembly Hall again with something to prove.Just two wins away from clinching at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title, with the possibility of clinching it outright with a win over Ohio State on senior night March 5, the Hoosiers faltered on the road against unranked Minnesota. They lost 77-73 while getting out-rebounded by the Golden Gophers’ length and strength inside the paint 44-30.Minnesota didn’t light up the nets in The Barn, only mustering a 42.9 field goal percentage, including shooting just 4-of-20 from beyond the arc.Yet, with 23 offensive rebounds and 44 total rebounds, the Golden Gophers simply created more opportunities than the Hoosiers, shooting 11 more shots than IU to steal the four-point margin of victory.In their first matchup against the Hawkeyes, the Hoosiers were able to out-rebound Iowa both on the offensive and defensive end, but the Hawkeyes currently stand second in the conference in total rebounds per game at 39.4.Iowa ranks third in the Big Ten with 13 offensive rebounds per game and second in the defensive category at 26.4 per game.Yet Aaron White, Iowa’s leading rebounder, sits outside the top 10 in the conference for total rebounds a game, and Iowa doesn’t have anyone else in the top 20. Instead, they have six players averaging at least 3.5 rebounds per game.Tuesday against Minnesota, IU gave up at least four rebounds to five separate Golden Gopher players, including 12 to Trevor Mbakwe. IU’s top rebounding threats, sophomore forward Cody Zeller, senior forward Christian Watford and junior guard Victor Oladipo, who average to combine for 20.5 rebounds per game so far this season, managed to pull down just 14.In order to avoid another scare — or even another loss to an unranked opponent — the Hoosiers will look to improve on Tuesday’s rebounding performance against Iowa’s stout roster of five players standing 6 feet, 8 inches or taller.On Tuesday, IU Coach Tom Crean said rebounding was the only thing keeping the Hoosiers from a tough road victory, and possibly having this last regular season home stretch clinch an outright Big Ten title.“There is nothing more glaring than rebounds,” Crean said. “That was our biggest issue, the fact that we had six offensive rebounds at half and got four in the second half. (Minnesota) got nine (offensive rebounds) in the first half and 14 in the second half. (Rebounding) was the difference.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Throughout much of the Big Ten season, senior forward Christian Watford had been the catalyst for the IU men’s basketball team early in the first half.But his first shot in Tuesday night’s 77-73 loss on the road to unranked Minnesota proved to be symbolic of how the games of he and several IU starters would unfold. With an open look from the left wing beyond the arc, Watford sent his shot sailing over the rim, glancing off the backboard for one of his uglier shots of the season.From there on, he, sophomore forward Cody Zeller and freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell would go on to combine for just four points in the first half. They were scoreless from the floor on 0-of-11 shooting from the field as No. 1 IU went into the first half with a 34-30 lead.The trio, which averaged 37 points coming into Tuesday night’s matchup all seemed to struggle down low with Minnesota’s size.On several drives to the basket, the usually quick Ferrell could never manage to beat his defender to the bucket. Zeller had two of his shots blocked while he battled down low against Minnesota’s Trevor Mbakwe and Elliot Eliason, an unusual occurrence for the 7-footer.“They were physical with him,” IU Coach Tom Crean said. “Extremely physical with him.”The Hoosiers were able to maintain pace with the Golden Gophers with the help of a stellar first half from beyond the arc from senior guard Jordan Hulls who went 4-of-5 on 3-pointers for 14 first half points.IU’s other starter, junior guard Victor Oladipo, added nine. Ferrell was the first of the three to break through with a field goal early in the second half, and he followed his layup with a 3-pointer 2:02 later to boost IU’s lead to six points.For a few minutes, it seemed that IU may have finally gained the momentum as Oladipo added a layup to boost the lead to eight.Yet in a moment where the Hoosiers could have used veterans like Watford and Zeller to step on the gas and continue to pressure the Golden Gophers, Minnesota finally found its footing.The Golden Gophers went on a 15-4 run to take a 51-48 lead. IU would hold a brief one-point lead for three seconds, but two late Watford 3-pointers that kept IU in the game down the stretch were not enough to dig the Hoosiers out a seven-point hole on the road.Ferrell finished as the only one of the three in double figures with 10 points and Zeller followed with nine. But the pair combined to shoot 4-of-19 shots from the field against a conference foe looking for a quality late-season victory.“We knew we were walking in here to face a desperate team, and they played like a desperate team,” IU Associate Head Coach Steve McClain said.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>All season, IU Coach Tom Crean has boasted about the depth of his No. 1 Hoosier squad.With a team filled with at least six starters, he said, it doesn’t as much matter where the production comes from as much as how his team is executing.But late in the second half against then-No. 8 Minnesota on Jan. 12, IU struggled to find the momentum to close the game out, both from starters like junior guard Victor Oladipo and IU’s sixth man, junior forward Will Sheehey.IU led by as many as 22 points in the second half and even 10 with just 1:10 remaining, but the lead dwindled to just three before five free throws from IU starters sealed the victory.The Hoosiers scored 52 points in the first half but mustered just 36 points in the second half off of 28.6 percent shooting from the floor in the final 20 minutes. The bench added just three points in the game, all off of free throws in the second half, and it was 0-of-8 from the field for the game.But Crean said as long as his team continues to score at the clip they’ve been, having been kept under 70 just three times during conference play, he’s not as concerned who’s making the buckets. If they’re able to score 88 points again against the Golden Gophers Tuesday night at The Barn in Minneapolis, he likes their chances, he said.“It’s just important that we play well for 40 minutes,” he said. “If you’re playing well and increasing the score while you’re in, if you’re impacting the game from both ends, that’s what’s most important. We’re scoring a lot of points, so where they come from is not as important as how we’re getting them, and what flow we’re getting them in, and are we getting them off our defense and are we getting to the foul line.”Sheehey said that coming down the stretch in the regular season and going into the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament, it’s important for the younger guys to realize that as they may see fewer minutes, it’s not as important for them to knock down shots to feel like they’re making a impact.He said he’s seen the freshmen putting in more time in the gym during the past couple weeks and feels like they’ve been making more of an impact, even if it may not always show up on the stat sheet.“If shots don’t fall, shots don’t fall, but you can still affect the game in so many other ways,” Sheehey said. “For me, when I was a freshman, I thought the way to affect the game was to come in and score, but that’s really not the main thing. It’s really on the defensive side first.“If you do that, you’ll be OK, because you get a stop here, a stop there and a defensive rebound or two, and then you kind of get into a good feel, and I think that’s what our team needs.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>EAST LANSING, Mich.-Victor Oladipo couldn’t have picked a better time to reach 1,000 points for his IU career.With 47 seconds left and the Hoosiers down one point, the junior guard found was still searching for his 14th point on the night that would push him over the 1,000-point threshold for his IU career.He found himself right underneath the basket as freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell missed a jumper, and Oladipo gently tipped it in for his 1,001st point and the IU lead.“No play is ever over until the ball goes through the hoop,” Oladipo said. “I was just crashing just in case, and luckily the ball came right to me, and I tipped it in. That’s all she wrote.”He scored the final six points for IU to dig the No. 1 Hoosiers out of a late deficit and giving them the win against No. 4 Michigan State 72-68 at the Breslin Center.Coming into the game, all eyes were centered on Oladipo and sophomore Cody Zeller as they inched close to the 1,000-point milestone for their IU careers. Seniors guard Jordan Hulls and forward Christian Watford had already surpassed the mark, but until Tuesday, no IU team had ever had four active players with at least 1,000 points on the same roster.Zeller left little to chance in his run to 1,000, scoring six of IU’s first eight points early on.His first two buckets came inside over Michigan State’s Derek Nix. Nix made headlines late last week, making comments to local reporters that he felt his team wasn’t getting enough respect and that Zeller and Oladipo were nothing special.“That’s his opinion,” Oladipo said. “If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels. We just came out and played Indiana basketball tonight, and that’s why we won.”Oladipo led the Hoosiers with a game-high 19 points, followed by Zeller with 17, letting their games do the talking.Zeller hit his mark with a long jumper with 15:39 left in the first half, but from there on, he would go dry from the field for the rest of the half. He added just two more free throws to end the first 20 minutes with eight points.Oladipo picked up right where Zeller left off, hitting IU’s third 3-pointer of the half with 9:48 left in the half to boost IU’s lead to 21-16 after the Hoosiers had fallen behind by three early on.Michigan State battled back to within three points before four straight Oladipo points started an IU run that gave the Hoosiers their largest lead of the half at 32-24 before going into the locker room ahead 36-30.But early on in the second half, Zeller wasted little time getting back on the board. He answered a quick layup from Michigan State’s Branden Dawson with a drive from beyond the 3-point line to keep IU up six.He gave IU it’s largest lead in the second half with a layup with 16:04 left to put IU up 45-38. From there on, though, Michigan State began to catch some traction.With the exception of a Hulls 3-pointer, the Spartans clamped down on IU’s offense, scoring 11 of the game’s next 14 points to take their first lead since early on the first half at 49-48.IU fought right back with a run of its own. Ignited by a 3-point play from Zeller and a conventional 3-point play from Hulls, the Hoosiers took back the lead, up 57-51 with 9:49 left.Michigan State’s Adreian Payne came right back with his own run, scoring seven-straight points, taking back the lead and the momentum as Michigan State led 60-59 with 6:27 left in the game.Nix added two layups, but freshman Gary Harris split his free throws with 1:38 remaining as Michigan State led 67-63.A 3-point play from Watford got the Hoosiers within just a single point, but Oladipo proved to be the difference with the game on the line in the waning moments.The Spartans managed just two Harrris free throws in the final two minutes, as Oladipo scored the final six points for the Hoosiers to seal the four-point victory.“I was just being aggressive, finishing plays out, doing whatever I needed to do to help my team win, whether it was crashing the glass like I did or getting big stops, getting big rebounds or hitting big free throws,” Oladipo said.Although Oladipo stole the show to clinch the victory while surpassing the career milestone, he said after the game that without Zeller along side him, he wouldn’t be the attention-grabbing athlete who has caught so much national media attention lately.“I already know who the player of the year is, and it’s Cody Zeller,” Oladipo said. “Without him, we couldn’t win. Without him, I couldn’t be successful. Nobody would be successful. Indian basketball wouldn’t be back without Cody Zeller.”Crean added that even in Zeller’s remarkable feat of 1,000 points in less than two full seasons, what really impresses his coach is the way he makes players like Oladipo look even better.“Cody is so much more than any big man or any type of scorer,” Crean said. “He facilitates so much, and he creates so much attention from the defense, and he’s so willing to find his teammates.“If he was hung up on scoring, he might have gone over 1,000 a while back, but because he’s hung up on winning, that just comes naturally.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>EAST LANSING, Mich.-Victor Oladipo couldn’t have picked a better time to reach 1,000 points for his IU career.With 47 seconds left and the Hoosiers down one, the junior guard was still searching for his 14th point on the night, which would push him over the 1,000-point threshold for his IU career.After nine points in the first half, Oladipo had scored just four points since 4:32 left in the first period.He found himself right underneath the basket as freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell missed a jumper, and Oladipo gently tipped it in for his 1,001st point as well as the IU lead.He scored the final six points for IU to dig the No. 1 Hoosiers out of a late deficit and vault them to a 72-68 win over No. 4 Michigan State Tuesday at the Breslin Center.Coming into the game, all eyes were centered on Oladipo and sophomore Cody Zeller as they inched close to the 1,000-point milestone for their IU careers.Seniors guard Jordan Hulls and forward Christian Watford had already surpassed the mark, but until Tuesday, no IU team had ever had four active players with at least 1,000 points on the same roster.Zeller left little to chance in his run to 1,000, scoring six of IU’s first eight points early on.His first two buckets came inside over Michigan State’s Derek Nix. Nix made headlines late last week, making comments to local reporters that he felt his team wasn’t getting enough respect and that Zeller and Oladipo were nothing special.Oladipo led the Hoosiers with 19 points, followed by Zeller with 17, letting their games do the talking.Zeller hit his mark with a long jumper with 15:23 left in the half, but from there on, he would go dry from the field for the rest of the half, adding just two more free throws to end the first 20 minutes with eight points.Oladipo picked up right where Zeller left off, hitting IU’s third 3-pointer of the half with 9:48 left in the half to boost IU’s lead to 21-16 after the Hoosiers had fallen behind by three early on.Michigan State battled back to within three points before four-straight Oladipo points bolstered a 7-2 IU run to give IU its largest lead of the half at 32-24.IU went into the locker room ahead 36-30.But early on in the second half, Zeller wasted little time getting back on the board. He answered a quick layup from Michigan State’s Branden Dawson with a drive from beyond the 3-point line to keep IU up six.Zeller grabbed an assist off a pass to Hulls, setting up a 3-pointer to put IU back up seven as the Hoosiers and the Spartans traded buckets early on in the second half.He gave IU it’s largest lead in the second half with a layup with 16:04 left to put IU up 45-38. From there on, though, Michigan State began to catch some traction.Outside another Hulls 3-pointer, the Spartans clamped down on IU’s offense, scoring 11 of the game’s next 14 points to take their first lead since early on the first half at 49-48.IU fought right back with a run of its own. Ignited by a 3-point play from Zeller and a conventional 3-point play from Hulls, the Hoosiers took back the lead, up 57-51 with 9:49 left.Michigan State’s Adreian Payne came right back with his own run, scoring seven-straight points, taking back the lead and the momentum as Michigan State led 60-59 with 6:27 left in the game.The Hoosier offense continued to struggle. Oladipo was the only Hoosier to score during Payne’s run, giving him 13 for the night, just one point shy of the 1,000 mark as Michigan State slipped ahead once again, 60-59.Nix added two layups, but freshman Gary Harris hit 1-of-2 free throws as Michigan State led 67-63 with just 1:38 remaining.A 3-point play from Watford got the Hoosiers within just a single point, but Oladipo proved to be the difference with the game on the line in the waning moments.The Spartans managed just two Harrris free throws in the final two minutes, as Oladipo scored the final six points for the Hoosiers to seal the four-point victory.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>For much of the 2012-13 men’s college basketball season, the talking heads of the media have debated which team, IU or Michigan, would come out on top in arguably the best conference in the country.Yet as No. 1 IU travels to East Lansing, Mich., tonight for the team’s second meeting against Michigan State, it is the Spartans who have unseated the Wolverines as the team with the best shot to challenge the Hoosiers for the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.On Monday the Hoosiers (23-3, 11-2 Big Ten) continued their reign atop the college basketball polls, but the Spartans have jumped up eight spots over the past two weeks to sit as the No. 4 team in the nation. They have also jumped into a tie for first place in the Big Ten at 11-2 in conference play. When the teams first faced off Jan. 27 at Assembly Hall, a 75-70 victory for IU, the Spartans held the No. 13 ranking while the Hoosiers had dropped to their lowest spot this season at No. 7.Since then, both teams have endured the rigors of the Big Ten conference season and continued to improve.IU Coach Tom Crean said he’s taken notice.“I thought they were really good when we played them, and I think they’re really good now,” Crean said. Since the Spartans’ loss to IU last month, they’ve become the hottest team in the conference. MSU has won five straight games, including a 23-point rout of Michigan in East Lansing a week ago.The Hoosiers also took down Michigan within the confines of Assembly Hall earlier this month, and they registered their only road victory against a ranked opponent this season — a convincing 81-68 win against then-No. 10 Ohio State.Senior guard Jordan Hulls said wins against ranked opponents, especially on the road, give the Hoosiers some good experience coming into the Breslin Center. Yet with Michigan State playing as hot as anyone in the conference, IU has to focus in on today’s game and put aside the rankings and past games this season, he said. “Each team is different,” Hulls said. “Different matchups, different players, obviously. It definitely helps that we have done that before, but like I said, it’s a different mindset, different type of game.“We’ve got to be able to go up there and execute the way we know we can.”Sophomore forward Cody Zeller said the stiff competition in the Big Ten this season has prepared IU for a game of this magnitude.“It is a big game because both of us are atop the Big Ten, but every game is a big game in this league because there’s hardly any room for error,” Zeller said. “You can’t have any time to relax.”And if taking over the driver’s seat in the conference race wasn’t enough, the Hoosiers got some more motivational material late last week.Spartan Derek Nix said he felt Michigan State and his teammates weren’t receiving the respect they deserve from NCAA media and NBA analysts.Nix specifically called out junior guard Victor Oladipo and Zeller. He said that Michigan State’s Branden Dawson and Adreian Payne, respectively, are every bit as good as the two National Player of the Year candidates, who routinely make appearances in the top 15 of mock NBA draft boards. Crean noted that with a road conference game and sole possession of first place in the Big Ten on the line, his players don’t need anything more to get fired up to play in the Breslin Center tonight. Nix, on the other hand, may have to live up to his words against a fired up Hoosier squad.“They don’t need any more of an edge going into this game,” Crean said. “They know who they are. They’re starting to realize what they’re capable of. They know the pageantry of it — most of them have been up there. They know the environment, and they’re extremely locked in.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Even with a lopsided victory last month in West Lafayette against Purdue, the IU men’s basketball team wasn’t quite satisfied. Although they handed the Boilermakers the team’s worst-ever home loss in Mackey Arena, the Hoosiers gave up 30 points to freshman center A.J. Hammons, while holding the rest of his teammates to the same number.Going into Saturday’s home rematch against Hammons and Purdue, IU Coach Tom Crean said Hammons’ career performance was still fresh in their minds.After experiencing the freshman’s breakout game first-hand, the Hoosiers made certain there would be no repeat performance Saturday, holding Hammons to just six points while defeating Purdue 83-55.“They saw the film and saw plenty enough on how A.J. had 30 points in that first game and all that,” Crean said. “We came out and had a little different viewpoint on how we were going to defend him.”Rather than marking Hammons with sophomore forward Cody Zeller as IU did for much of the first meeting, Crean decided to go with a different matchup. Senior forward Christian Watford guarded Hammons for much of the game, holding him to just 3-of-10 shooting from the field as well as limiting him to only three rebounds.Crean hinted after the teams’ first meeting earlier this season that the Hoosiers may need to double-team Hammons in order to keep him from getting too many touches in the post. While Watford gave up three inches to Zeller, Crean said he was pleased his senior was able to hold his own down low Saturday and prevent Hammons from torching the Hoosiers from the foul line, where he shot 10-of-12 against IU in Mackey Arena.Saturday, he didn’t take a single foul shot.“That was a big key for us today,” Crean said. “We didn’t want to put him on the foul line. He makes them. He’s quick. We just needed to make life tough down there in a sense of being active. “If he gets you on his back, and you saw that late in the game, for his age, he’s almost unstoppable, and that says a lot.”Over the past few weeks, much has been said about Watford’s success from behind the 3-point line and at the charity stripe — he leads the conference in 3-point percentage and is second in free throw percentage. Saturday, though, Crean said Watford proved to NBA scouts he can be more than just an offensive threat.“Christian really rose to the challenge,” Crean said. “He can guard anybody. I’m glad people are seeing that. We had GMs here today. We had other NBA teams, and he can guard anybody. He has a toughness to him. “He can make shots. He can get to the rim. He can make foul shots, but he can really, really defend.”Zeller said oftentimes in practice, when Crean splits his players into teams for what he calls a “best-on-best” scrimmage, Watford has to take on the task of guarding Zeller. The 7-foot sophomore said that in those practices, Watford has given him a tough time, so he knew defending Hammons wouldn’t be a problem.“I knew he could do it,” Zeller said. “It kept me out of foul trouble, and he did a nice job with it.”Zeller even added he wouldn’t mind taking some time off from guarding the team’s big man. But for Watford, one game was enough.“I’m done, Cody,” he said.And for the Hoosiers, one game was all they needed.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Even with a lopsided victory last month in West Lafayette against Purdue, the IU men’s basketball team wasn’t quite satisfied. Although they handed the Boilermakers the team’s worst-ever home loss in Mackey Arena, the Hoosiers gave up 30 points to freshman center A.J. Hammons, while holding the rest of his teammates to the same number.Going into Saturday’s home rematch against Hammons and Purdue, IU Coach Tom Crean said Hammons’ career performance was still fresh in their minds.After experiencing the freshman’s breakout game first-hand, the Hoosiers made certain there would be no repeat performance Saturday, holding Hammons to just six points while defeating Purdue 83-55.“They saw the film and saw plenty enough on how A.J. had 30 points in that first game and all that,” Crean said. “We came out and had a little different viewpoint on how we were going to defend him.”Rather than marking Hammons with sophomore forward Cody Zeller as IU did for much of the first meeting, Crean decided to go with a different matchup. Senior forward Christian Watford guarded Hammons for much of the game, holding him to just 3-of-10 shooting from the field as well as limiting him to only three rebounds.Crean hinted after the teams’ first meeting earlier this season that the Hoosiers may need to double-team Hammons in order to keep him from getting too many touches in the post. While Watford gave up three inches to Zeller, Crean said he was pleased that his senior was able to hold his own down low Saturday and prevent Hammons from torching the Hoosiers from the foul line, where he shot 10-of-12 against IU in Mackey Arena.Saturday, he didn’t take a single foul shot.“That was a big key for us today,” Crean said. “We didn’t want to put him on the foul line. He makes them. He’s quick. We just needed to make life tough down there in a sense of being active. “If he gets you on his back, and you saw that late in the game, for his age, he’s almost unstoppable, and that says a lot.”Over the past few weeks, much has been said about Watford’s success from behind the 3-point line and at the charity stripe – he leads the conference in 3-point percentage and is second in free throw percentage. Saturday, though, Crean said Watford proved to NBA scouts that he can be more than just an offensive threat.“Christian really rose to the challenge,” Crean said. “He can guard anybody. I’m glad people are seeing that. We had GMs here today. We had other NBA teams, and he can guard anybody. He has a toughness to him. “He can make shots. He can get to the rim. He can make foul shots, but he can really, really defend.”Zeller said that often times in practice, when Crean splits his players into teams for what he calls a “best-on-best” scrimmage, Watford has to take on the task of guarding Zeller. The 7-foot sophomore said in those practices, Watford has given him a tough time, so he knew defending Hammons wouldn’t be a problem.“I knew he could do it,” Zeller said. “It kept me out of foul trouble, and he did a nice job with it.”Zeller even added that he wouldn’t mind taking some time off from guarding the team’s big man. But for Watford, one game was enough.“I’m done, Cody,” he said.And for the Hoosiers, one game was all they needed.
If the Hoosiers allow Hammons another 30-point performance Saturday night, Crean may not be very pleased, but IU will have to make sure the freshman’s performance and confidence doesn’t spread to the rest of his teammates.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Early on in No. 1 IU’s only matchup of the season with Nebraska, the Hoosiers struggled to get shots to fall while the team’s big man, sophomore forward Cody Zeller, dealt with foul trouble. The Hoosiers fell into a rhythm with Zeller on the bench late in the first half, and once Zeller caught fire midway through the second, IU broke away from the Cornhuskers for a 76-47 victory at Assembly Hall.The Hoosiers began the game shooting 2-of-11 from the field, while Nebraska, 3-8 in the Big Ten, hit four of the team’s first five shots to take an early 8-4 lead.The Cornhuskers were able to fend off the Hoosiers for several minutes, still leading 14-11 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first half.Zeller exited the game for the remainder of the half just moments later after picking up his second foul of the evening, a call he could have easily avoided, IU Coach Tom Crean said.Zeller seemed to take advantage of his mismatch early on against Nebraska’s Andre Almeida, a 6-foot-11-inch, 314-pound center, using his speed to trip up the Cornhusker big man and forcing him into two early fouls.Zeller, though, was just 1-for-4 in those two trips to the free throw line.But senior forward Christian Watford said the Hoosier offense didn’t falter with the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year on the bench.“I don’t think we feel like our style of play changed too much,” Watford said. “We kept playing basketball and getting to the foul line.”Back-to-back 3-pointers from freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell and junior guard Victor Oladipo put IU up for good as Nebraska Coach Tim Miles was forced to take a timeout with 7:11 remaining in the half.Out of the timeout, Oladipo stole the inbound pass as IU challenged the Cornhuskers with a full-court press. Senior guard Jordan Hulls drove to the basket for a layup to boost IU’s lead to 21-14 to cap a 10-0 run.Nebraska made two-straight buckets to come within three points before IU closed out the half with six-straight free throws to end it ahead 27-18.Zeller started the second half on the floor, but less than three minutes into the half, he drew his third foul. IU had already broken the game wide open with a 7-0 run to begin the second half, and Crean decided his team could manage without Zeller on the floor.“He didn’t like sitting over there,” Crean said. “He knew they were going to come after him to get his third.”The sophomore forward sat on the bench for almost seven minutes as the IU lead crept up from 14 to 17 points.But once Crean put his big man back into the game, Zeller seemed to refocus, and his teammates took notice.“When Cody came in in the second half, he didn’t stop,” Watford said. “He came in and played with tremendous energy and got to the foul line and got involved.”Zeller scored his first field goal of the game with 9:54 remaining, and in the next six minutes, he would go on to score 11 of IU’s 19 points to finish as the team’s leading scorer of the evening. Zeller’s scoring spree included a series where he made a jumper before stalling Nebraska’s Dylan Talley near midcourt, stripping him and grabbing the steal before storming ahead for the two-handed dunk that invited a thunderous applause from the IU faithful.He would also make three more trips to the foul line, hitting all five of his attempts, unlike his performance in the first half where he shot just 3-of-6 from the charity stripe.Crean said after the game that teams will continue to center their game plans on how to stop Zeller at both ends, just as Nebraska was able to do for much of Wednesday night’s game. He added, though, that when Zeller fights through the pressure, he’s as good as anyone on the court.“He’s got to stay low. He’s got to block out,” Crean said. “He’s got to have his hands active. He’s so good when he gets down and when he bends those knees even a little bit, his athleticism is off the charts. We need him to be like that constantly.”