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Indiana Hoosiers 81, North Carolina Central Eagles 58: after poor first half, Hoosiers dominate Eagles in final 20 minutes.

Here are the stats.  As even a quick glance at the box score reveals, this game was a tale of two halves.  North Carolina Central, one of the worst teams in Division I, played even with IU in the first half, taking a lead late in the half and trailing by only three at halftime.  IU outscored the Eagles in the second half 45-25, however., and IU put the game permanently out of reach with an 11-0 run that began with about 15:00 remaining in the second half.   

After that fairly even first half, characterized by strong three point shooting and ball handling by the Eagles, IU won the second half with stifling defense, strong offensive rebounding, and three point shooting.  The Hoosiers were 6-18 from behind the arc in the second half.  NCCU shot only 28 percent from the field in the second half.  Of some concern is that IU turned the ball over 16 times, 8 in each half, and their turnover percentage of 23 percent is the highest since the loss to Mississippi in Puerto Rico. 

There's not much to take from this game.  This young team has to learn that it cannot take halves off against any Big Ten opponent.  On the other hand, if IU had won the first half by 20 and the second half by 3, no one would bat an eye.  The concerns remain concerns, but this is a team that can score in bunches from the perimeter.

The individuals:

  • Maurice Creek was excellent again.  He scored 29 points on 12-17 from the field, including 5-10 from behind the arc.  Unfortunately, he didn't get to the line at all.
  • Christian Watford continues to struggle, scoring 11 points on 3-11 from the field. 
  • Derek Elston started for the first time, and played only 15 minutes, but as usual, he made the most of it: 7 points, 2-2 from the field, 2 rebounds.
  • Jordan Hulls, in 22 minutes off the bench, had 8 assists and only 1 turnover.
  • Jeremiah Rivers had 8 assists, but 7 were in the first half.
  • Tom Pritchard played better than he has in a while, scoring 8 points on 4-5 from the field, grabbing 6 rebounds, and blocking 2 shots in 21 minutes.

Well, next up is Loyola (Maryland, not Chicago) on Tuesday night at 6:30, followed by a layoff before finishing the non-conference season against Bryant.