No. 6 Indiana runs past Mount St. Mary's 93-54
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)
If the Mountaineers didn't figure out what Christian meant at practice, they certainly understand now.
Cody Zeller and Christian Watford dominated the middle and the Hoosiers shot 70.6 percent from the field and again looked like the nation's top team in a 93-54 rout of the Mountaineers on Wednesday night.
''That is a national championship caliber team,'' Christian said. ''I really admire how they play the game of basketball. Any coach wants their team playing unselfishly, and I think they had 28 assists tonight. It is unbelievable how they share the ball.''
Officially, it was 27 assists, but that didn't change the point or the result.
The Mountaineers (4-5) were already overmatched against Indiana's size, speed and depth, and on a night the angry Hoosiers were determined to make amends for their first loss of the season. Mount St. Mary's had no chance.
Indiana won the rebounding battle 41-18 and forced as many turnovers (17) as baskets allowed. The Hoosiers limited the Mountaineers to a season-low 31.5 percent from the field, while Indiana produced the fourth-highest percentage in school history including going 9 of 12 from 3-point range.
Indiana had five players in double figures, the 27 assists on 36 baskets and never let Mount St. Mary's get closer than 31 points over the final 14 1/2 minutes.
''You miss shots against a good team, they're going to rebound it, they're going to outlet it and they're going to push and they're one of the faster teams, so that's what happened today,'' Christian said. ''I'm just happy they didn't score 100.''
Wednesday's game was a respite for the Indiana players, who the first part of Christmas break trying to work out the kinks following a substandard performance in Saturday's stunning overtime defeat to Butler.
Coach Tom Crean put the players through rigorous two-a-days, focusing on rebounding.
And when the Hoosiers showed up against Mount St. Mary's, they looked like the team that had been No. 1 all season - until the loss.
Every day was just a battle, whether we came in the first time or the second, we battled hard every time,'' said senior forward Derek Elston, who returned to the lineup after missing the first 10 games because of knee surgery. ''That was something we had to do, we had to get that grip back and tonight we did.''
They did it emphatically and with everyone playing a role.
Sheehey scored 16 points off the bench. Victor Oladipo had 14 points, five assists and five rebounds. Remy Abell finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists. Yogi Ferrell had eight points, nine assists and four rebounds, and Jordan Hulls added eight points and five assists.
With numbers like that, even Crean found little to critique.
''Whenever you lose, I think It creates a different level of urgency with your team and it did,'' Crean said. ''We dealt with a multitude of things this week, whether it be an injury, whether it be an illness or whatever. I thought our guys did an excellent job. I thought we moved the ball extremely well. I thought we kept the pace.''
If the Hoosiers play like this, they'll be even tougher to beat - as Mount St. Mary's discovered.
That's about the only thing Indiana didn't accomplish in winning its 28th straight home game against a non-conference team.
The Hoosiers used an 8-0 run to take a 26-17 lead midway through the first half, and when the Mountaineers got within 30-26, Indiana finally had enough.
Oladipo's steal led to a layup by Ferrell, Zeller posted up for a short jumper and Oladipo knocked down a 3 to extend the lead to 37-26. Indiana closed the half with two free throws and a layup from Sheehey and Watford's 3 on a fast break to make it 46-29.
The Hoosiers opened the second half with a dunk from Zeller that sent Indiana on an 18-2 run to make it 64-31.