Indiana scored on 15 straight possessions during a pristine first half, and the top-ranked Hoosiers walloped Ball State, 101-53, Sunday night at Assembly Hall.
Will Sheehey and Jordan Hulls led Indiana’s offensive barrage, combining for 36 points on 15-for-19 shooting. Sheehey, who came off the bench, was 8 of 9 from the floor and added six rebounds. Hulls buried 3 of 6 from the 3-point line and is shooting 55 percent from beyond the arc this season.
In all, five players reached double figures. Christian Watford scored 11 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the year. Cody Zeller had 15 points and eight rebounds. Victor Oladipo netted 13 points and swiped three steals. Both Zeller and Oladipo were 5 for 7 from the field.
"I’m really pleased with the way our guys played," said Associate Head Coach Tim Buckley, who filled in for Head Coach Tom Crean at the postgame press conference, according to IUhoosiers.com. "We talk about it all the time, whether we're in a film session or practice session, a walk-through or warm-ups, we're always trying to improve and get better. We obviously felt like we did tonight. We got key contributions from a lot of guys and played really well, played Indiana-type basketball. We want to sustain that in order to continue to improve as we go forward."
It’s hard to come up with a word that fully encapsulates what kind of beat down this was, but here’s a video which sums it up pretty nicely (thanks, Family Guy).
Sandwiched between an overtime win over Georgetown and Tuesday night’s showdown with North Carolina, Indiana (6-0) could’ve been forgiven for overlooking the in-state Cardinals. Instead, the Hoosiers came out and blew away Ball State (2-2) in the first half.
Leading 21-13 with 7:56 left in the opening half, Indiana got hot. Like, crazy hot. The Hoosiers pieced together a 29-6 run, scoring on 15 consecutive possessions, to take a commanding 50-19 advantage into the break.
Hulls poured in 10 points during the spurt, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers and adding two mid-range jumpers. Maurice Creek scored all nine of his points in the first half.
In the opening 20 minutes, Ball State had twice as many turnovers (10) than made field goals (5), and the Cardinals were held without a bucket over the final 5:44. The 19 points allowed were the fewest points the Hoosiers have given up in a half since Indiana held Virginia Commonwealth to 19 in the second half of last year’s NCAA Tournament contest. Indiana nearly had as many made field goals (22) as Ball State had shot attempts (25).
Intermission didn’t do much to cool off Indiana. The Hoosiers started the second half with a 19-4 run over the first 6:06, opening up a 69-23 lead.
The only drama the rest of the way came when Austin Etherington converted an old-fashioned three-point play in the final minute to push Indiana past the century mark.
With North Carolina 48 hours away, no Hoosiers played more than 24 minutes, and every (eligible or uninjured) player on the roster got into the game.
Indiana -- who had season-highs in blocks (4) and steals (9) -- got 43 points from its bench, the most this season. Already this year, the Hoosiers’ reserves have scored 40-or-more points four times. Indiana scored 1.29 points per possession in the game.
Indiana kept up its rebounding dominance, winning the battle on the glass, 42-29. The Hoosiers have outrebounded their opponents in all six games. Indiana rebounded almost half its misses (48.6 OR%) and snatched up nearly three-fourths of Ball State’s misses (73.0 DR%).
Majok Majok had 18 points for Ball State, and Jauwan Scaife chipped in with 11 points.
Indiana hosts ninth-ranked North Carolina at 9 p.m. Tuesday. The game, which is part of the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge, will be shown on ESPN. The Tar Heels (5-1) are coming off a 112-70 win over Chaminade in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational. That victory was preceded by an 82-71 loss to Butler. Here's a link to the Tar Heel Blog.