IOWA CITY, Iowa – No. 5 Indiana escaped from Iowa City with a narrow win over an unranked opponent – and the Hoosiers were thrilled about it.
Life on the road figures to be this tough all season for Indiana and everyone else in the stacked Big Ten.
Cody Zeller scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and Indiana opened league play by holding off Iowa 69-65 on Monday night.
Victor Oladipo scored 14 points for the Hoosiers (13-1, 1-0), who snapped a four-game losing streak in Iowa City and have now won four straight since losing to Butler two weeks ago.
We know this is a huge win for us, coming in here, Indiana coach Tom Crean said. We kept saying that if we get a win in (Iowa) it’s going to be a big deal, because not a lot of teams are coming in here and winning.
The versatile Oladipo was huge again for the Hoosiers in the final moments. He beat the shot clock with a putback with 1:04 left to put the Hoosiers up 65-60. He also made two key free throws with 26 seconds to go to make it a two-possession game.
The Hoosiers went just 3-6 on the road in the league last year, so this one was big for them.
We struggled a lot on the road last year, but we won games on the road last year. We know what it takes in order to win games. Cody did a phenomenal job, Oladipo said.
Aaron White had 15 points to lead Iowa (11-3, 0-1), which might have pulled off the upset had it shot better than 3 of 17 from three-point range.
To our credit we were much more effective in the second half in terms of our execution, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. We had great looks at it. Just have to shoot it better.
The Hawkeyes had all kinds of trouble knocking down shots from everywhere in the first half. But they made nine of their first 10 after the break to inch within 48-46, keeping the high-powered Hoosiers offense from building an insurmountable cushion.
But even though Indiana later went without a field goal for nearly five minutes, the Hawkeyes couldn’t muster enough offense to retake the lead.
Devyn Marble, Iowa’s leading scorer, had an awful afternoon from the field. He shot 1 of 14 and bricked a three after Oladipo’s key putback.
I thought defensively he was tremendous. He didn’t turn it over. I love him. He fights for me every night out, and you know, he didn’t want to shoot 1 for 14, McCaffery said of Marble.
Iowa’s Zach McCabe missed a three that would have tied it at 65-all with under a minute left, and Oladipo sealed the win at the line.
Will Sheehey scored 13 points, Christian Watford had 11 and Zeller and Oladipo each grabbed 10 rebounds for the Hoosiers.
Indiana freshman forward Jeremy Hollowell returned Monday after athletic director Fred Glass said the NCAA had cleared Hollowell of any potential infractions. He was scoreless Monday.