Saturday, February 16, 2013 11:07 pm
Fast start sends No. 1 Indiana past Purdue 83-55
By MICHAEL MAROTAP Sports Writer
Freshman center A.J. Hammons was bottled up. Shooting guard D.J. Byrd had twice as many turnovers (four) as 3-pointers. The Boilermakers committed 17 turnovers and shot just 37.5 percent from the field.
It was all part of another dismal Saturday for Purdue. That it came at No. 1 Indiana only made matters worse.
Will Sheehey scored a career-high 22 points, set a new school record by going 9 for 9 from the field and led the Hoosiers to an 83-55 victory that was never really close.
"If you look at the four guys that started for us that shot the most - 2 for 7, 3 for 10, 5 for 12 and 2 for 8. We had some good looks especially inside, we have to convert some of those," coach Matt Painter said. "It gets very frustrating for them and it makes it worse. You throw on top of that that you're playing the best team in country, it's a recipe for disaster."
The stat sheet was every bit as ugly as Painter made it sound.
Only two players, Terone Johnson and Anthony Johnson, reached double figures. Each finished with 11 points. Hammons, who had 30 points in the first meeting, was scoreless in the first half and finished with six points and three rebounds.
The Boilermakers (12-14, 5-8 Big Ten) have lost five of their last six games, have dropped four straight to the Hoosiers and 2 1/2 weeks after enduring the most lopsided home loss in school history, also against Indiana, the Hoosiers swept the season series with another 20-plus point victory - the first time Indiana has achieved that feat in the 200-game history of this series.
"It's really frustrating," Terone Johnson said. "They weren't having a good year the first year I got here and for them to go out and work hard and to become the team they became now, that says a lot about them. I think that's something that we need to take into account going on for the rest of the season."
Now that Indiana (23-3, 11-2) has bucked the trend of No. 1 teams losing, it can stop worrying about votes and start focusing on more important things like the Big Ten title chase.
Last week, the Hoosiers got a reprieve after losing at Illinois before winning at No. 10 Ohio State. They held onto the top spot only after the next four highest-ranked teams all lost, too.
But Saturday's win assured the Hoosiers of hanging on to a share of the league lead as they head into Tuesday night's showdown with No. 8 Michigan State. The Spartans beat Nebraska 73-64 later Saturday.
And this time, Indiana didn't even need its best defender in the second half.
Victor Oladipo limped off the court in the final minute of the first half after spraining his left ankle. After the game, Indiana coach Tom Crean said the medical team opted against playing Oladipo in the second half, and it's unclear whether he'll play at Michigan State.
"I hope he's going to be OK, he thinks he's going to be OK," said Crean, who is now 78-78 at Indiana. "Wishful thinking would be that he will play, but we'll have to see how he does over the next 24, 36 hours."
Losing Oladipo only slowed down the inevitable rout Saturday.
Cody Zeller finished with 19 points and nine rebounds. Christian Watford scored 10 of his 14 points in the first five minutes. Jordan Hulls had 11 points and five assists.
Indiana made eight 3-pointers, shot 56 percent from the field, forced 17 turnovers, limited the Boilermakers to just 38-percent shooting from the field, and they got a brilliant offensive and defensive game from Sheehey, who became the first player to make all nine of his field goals in school history.
The previous record of eight was done four times - by Jared Jeffries in 2001, Matt Nover in 1992, Ricky Calloway in 1987 and Mike Giomi in 1985.
"I got excited because I got to play a little more," Sheehey joked when asked about Oladipo's injury and before turning to his shooting performance. "There's definitely a zone. If you see a couple of shots go through the hoop, your confidence goes up a little bit."
That's the last thing these Hoosiers need after winning eight of their last nine.
On Saturday, Purdue never even had a chance.
Indiana broke to a 14-5 lead, made it 21-8 less than nine minutes into the game and led 33-14 with 7:06 left in the first half.
Purdue rallied to within 41-29 at halftime, then watched Indiana open the second half on a 12-4 run. The Hoosiers sealed it with a 19-4 spurt that ended with Sheehey's layup with 3:40 to go. That made it 82-48.
"The first two years, it was tough," Watford said when asked about the four-game winning streak over Purdue. "But any time you can come back and win against your rival, especially the way we've been doing it, it feels good."