Locked-in Indiana squad eviscerates Howard, 107-50

There was all sort of warranted concern that this would be a let down game. Indiana had made it through the teeth of it’s non-conference schedule unscathed and faced a 3-8 Howard team in front of an Assembly Hall that was far less raucous than it was the last time the Hoosiers were in it against Kentucky.

But after the first five minutes of Monday’s game, the Hoosiers made sure no one questioned where their heads were. They put the pedal to the floor and didn’t take it off until they had posted a 107-50 massacre of the Bison in front of the semester break crowd of 11,111. The 107-point total was the most at Indiana since March 12, 1996, when they scored 110 against Iowa.

“I think it’s a sign of our maturity and being able to stay focused,” senior guard Verdell Jones. “This could easily with Christmas coming up, this could’ve been the game we let up, but we came out here with the right focus and attacked and did all the necessary things we needed to do to win.”

The Hoosiers shot a blistering 67.3 percent from the field (35-of-52) and hit 11 of their 20 3-pointers, tying the Evansville game for the most this season. They posted 27 assists on those 35 baskets, a record in coach Tom Crean’s three-plus years at the helm.

Indiana had six players in double figures for the first time this season and two more had at least eight points. Five players had at least three assists.

Junior guard Jordan Hulls led the way with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting and 4-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc to go with four assists and four rebounds. One of those 3-pointers was an off-balance left-hander with the shot clock running out and a Howard defender draped over him.

“That was actually pretty cool,” sophomore guard Will Sheehey said. “I think it was the best 3-pointer I’ve ever seen.”

Said senior guard Verdell Jones: “When we’re shooting around he always does stuff like that. We’re just like, ‘What are you doing?’ But what you don’t know is he’s practicing for games like this. Those little trick shots.”

Jones had 12 points and seven assists, and freshman forward Cody Zeller had 12 points, six rebounds and three assists. Sheehey also scored 12. Sophomore guard Victor Oladipo had 10 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and junior forward Christian Watford also scored 10. Freshman guard Remy Abell had nine points and five assists, and junior forward Derek Elston added eight points.

More impressive than the offense was what the Hoosiers did to Howard on defense. The Bison shot just 18.8 percent in the first half (6-for-32) as the Hoosiers blew open a 52-15 lead by the break. They finished at just 30.6 percent (19-for-62) for the game and 3-for-15 from beyond the 3-point arc. Freshman guard Simuel Frazier was the only Howard player in double figures with 13 points.

The Hoosiers caused 19 Howard turnovers, turning them into 27 points. They only gave the ball away eight times, meanwhile, and Howard scored four points on those.

In order to keep his players locked in throughout the game, Crean turned the game into something of a practice. They used zone defense more extensively than they had all season, working in 2-3 and 1-3-1 looks, and also kept full-court pressure.

“Our guys were completely locked in,” Crean said. “They played with a relentless spirit. Their energy was tremendous. They were active. The communication was excellent. We wanted to play a 40-minute game especially on the defensive end. I think these guys did it.”

With the win, the Hoosiers improved to 11-0 for the first time since the 1975-76 season when Indiana finished the season unbeaten, still the last team in Division I to do so. They become the fourth team in Indiana history to start 11-0, matching the unbeaten team, the 1974-75 team that was unbeaten until losing in the NCAA regional final to Kentucky, and the 1942-43 team that started 16-0.

AUDIO: Will Sheehey, Verdell Jones, Christian Watford

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Remy Abell, Kory Barnett, Raphael Smith

33 comments

  1. Yes the competition wasn’t that good, but it gave IU time to use various combinations, try different Ds, play the entire roster and have a bit of fun. Just about right with the B-10 around the corner. I was really impressed by the little things CZ does…positioning, footwork, screens, passing… what a talent! Remy Abel is going to be a real contender for more playing time. He can help this team an awful lot. Hulls shooting is great. Notice how Hulls and Zeller concentrate at the release point when shooting instead of just flinging it up there as others do. Great game. Go Hoosiers!!

  2. CTC is the second coming! I do not believe this team can lose with a coach like that! God has abandoned Tim Tebow and now resides in Bloomington.

  3. I don’t know who else feels this way, but I am no longer fearing Ohio State, MSU, nor anyone else in the Big Ten- particularly in games at Assembly Hall. Our squad has a lot of confidence right now , and ain’t going down easy. Congrats CTC for teaching this bunch to be a player- driven team which believes it can win on any given night, and can back it up.

  4. No reason for any fan to ever fear a team until its an elimination game… I still think OSU wins if they’re healthy. Hope I’m wrong about that one too.

  5. My wife sure is lucky. Indiana plays on Dec 28 and 31. Our 50th wedding anniversary is Dec. 30. I will be able to make the celebration. Steve Mc Brian

  6. “I was far more concerned with this game than I was Notre Dame, in the sense of being locked in,” Crean said. “I had no doubt they would be ready to play Notre Dame, but this was the one that was concerning maybe but they locked in. They erased those coaching fears that you have, and it’s only natural, but they erased those right away.”

    Crean is as clueless as most of the bloggers on the Scoop. That’s his genius, in some sense. The element of (total) surprise. Thank God we didn’t play South Dakota St. though! I heard those jackrabbits are reaallly BAAAAD!

  7. Being a high school coach, I know that I really do fear these type of games. What if you aren’t locked in and you force shots and you don’t make them and all the sudden it’s a close game? You always have these fears, because you prepare for the worst. Crean coached a great game tonight. Everybody got their points, keeps people motivated, tried some new things, and then got valuable reserves valuable minutes they aren’t going to see against Kentucky or NC State.

  8. I said, “there is no reason a FAN should fear any opponent…”

    Maybe I’m cutting hairs here, but I don’t think fear is the proper emotion for a coach (or player) either. Not sure many good results come from fear. Wariness or concern may be better words.
    The best you can hope for if in fear is survival.

  9. Fear …..no. I think IU fans have a right to be concerned going into E.Lansing for our first B10 game though. Don’t know if anyone saw state play tonight but they matched our Defensive intensity the whole game. I think we can win but it will take an effort like we showed tonight. Our first 3 conf. games are as tough as they get and 2 are at home. Remy clearly earned some more minutes tonight and we will need him badly as the season progresses.

  10. 11,111 people watched the game at Assembly Hall? I know it’s Monday night, during the semester break, and the competition was weak, but what’s wrong with the fans living in/near Bloomington?

    This team is good, undefeated, and fun to watch. Let’s get butts in all those seats! That was weak!

  11. Still gotta have the ticket. They are probably sitting on the dresser back in Delphi.

    Great use of the game as a chance to practice a few things at game speed. You could tell it kept the players engaged and sharp. I doubt that Howard is that bad but it was a terrible personnel matchup for them and our shooting was just filthy. Remy is the real deal. Verdell’s numbers weren’t that bad but with each game he’s looking slower and more tentative compared to everyone else. Did CWat play in this game? I like watching Austin on the court. He just seems to have a certain moxie out there. Despite limited playing time he looks confident as soon as he enters the game. Everyone that played stayed aggressive on both ends of the floor.

    The ‘concern’ about upcoming games is pretty amusing. People! We’re not going undefeated. This team is better than we ever imagined. Just enjoy it. I imagine we’ll right there at the end of most every game and we have a bunch of guys capable of making ‘the big shot’. Would anyone not feel good with the ball in Jordy’s hands at the end? A left handed, leaning, three pointer with a defender all over him as the shot clock expires. Are you kidding me? That gives me H-O-R-S-E, I’m out.

    The Crean haters are just sad anymore. They’re trying to make their posts on here witty but they just come off as pitiful. There won’t be many smiles on their faces when they ask if you want fries with that today.

  12. Wish I had seen this one live.That’s as close to perfection as it gets.From to to bottom a magnificent game.they are being compared to the 76 team because of the 11-0 start.That’s just having some fun but actually last nights game was a bit reminicent……

  13. I just saw where Southern Conference member (as is Chattanooga) Davidson handed Kansas a 6 point loss last night.

    I wonder who had the most future NBAers?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Illinois just squeaked by Cornell, too.

  14. Not having a true power forward still scares me. Zeller’s gonna need some help rebounding and CW isn’t consistent.

  15. There will be ups and downs but all in all these guys are playing good team basketball– They are really young. It has been many years that I have seen any team so unselfish. I credit this to coach Crean! It is evident they are continuing to improve! What a pleasure to watch how they play!

  16. I’m am so incredibly excited about this start, and this team has FAR surpassed expectations, but I really think that we need to take some advice from the Wolf in “Pulp Fiction,” where he said, “Lets don’t start…………” This is family blog, so either you know the rest or you can Google. What I’m saying is, we must approach this Big Ten season with a little more caution.

    The Big Ten is tough this year and is going to be a heck of slog. While my expectations have been surpassed, I still think there are some weaknesses on this team that the Big Ten schedule is going to exploit over time. The good news is, these guys seem to be a resilient bunch and are about as competitive as a team can be.

  17. They have definitely exceeded expectations. I think they’ll do well in the BIG 10 and will make the NCAA Tournament though not without some very tough times. The only teams Indiana has beaten so far with winning records are NC State, Kentucky, and Notre Dame. The Big 10 is going to be a LOT tougher than the other 8 teams they’ve beaten. Having said that, they can hold their own with ANY of the other Big 10 teams as proven by those 3 wins.

  18. Double-

    What gives me hope for the Big 10 season is how hard the team plays and how tenaciously they approach the defensive side. Throw in the major confidence booster wins over NC State on the road and UK, and I just don’t see this team suffering many letdowns. I foresee close contests both at home on the road, from here on out. We still may only win half – or even 40% – of our Big 10 schedule, but we’ll never feel like we have zero chance against a given opponent.

    Let’s not forget that even only 8 wins in the conference -assuming we win our remaining two non-conference games – would give us 21 overall wins.

  19. Steve in ottawa- your nuts!! 40 % in the b10? Why so scared? We will win 80% of our b10 games!! Why do IU fans on here so scared to admit that we are a very very good team? Come on IU fans get a backbone already! Our first 3 b10 games will be our hardest stretch and I think we will get 2 and maybe all 3!

  20. I don’t think any Big 10 team dominates on the road this year…not even OSU. Undoubtedly, the Hoosiers are a much tougher team for opponents to have answers for with Zeller in the middle. Plus, the added depth/development on the roster gives us advantages down the stretch of the season when other teams that rely heavily on set-in-stone starting fives may be wearing down. The top eight teams are currently 82-8. The Big 10 dominated the Big 10/ACC challenge. Everything points to parity and nothing coming easy away from Assembly Hall.

    I love our improvement…We truly have a roster of interchangeable parts that circle around a post player that is exceeding all expectations. If we can pull some upsets on the road, and secure most of our home court, I’ll be plenty satisfied. Taking down MSU in the opener on the road may be the toughest challenge of the season. The game has much more significance than a win against Kentucky at home. Riding the momentum of a win against the Spartans in East Lansing will get the Hoosier fans in another frenzy when the Buckeyes come into Assembly. The amount of confidence/belief gained by going 2-0 at the onset against two of the best from the conference would be monumental in signaling that the success is more than wavering and the Hoosiers have gone into warp speed a return to the prominence rooted in their long hoops tradition. I hope we get a healthy Sullinger on OSU. I want to send them back to Columbus knowing we beat them at full strength.

    Once into the NCAA tournament, as the old cliche goes, anything can happen. It could be a very special year.

  21. I agree, 40%??? LOL My original prediction was 12-0 regular season, I’m even considering revamping my 7 loss prediction in Big Ten Conference.

  22. Half of the Big Ten Regular season is nine games. Assuming IU wins the last two non-conference games and wins one game in the Big Ten tourney, they’d have 23 wins and they’re going dancing. That would be a huge success and I believe exceed almost everyone’s expectations.

    Earlier this year, I predicted IU would go 17 – 14 before the Big Ten Tournament and hoping that I’d be wrong. Although we should not count our chickens before they hatch, I’m glad to say that it now appears I my prediction was too conservative. It won’t be easy, but it is certainly possible for IU to win 23 (or more) games this season.

    Let’s hope they stay healthy and that they’re fueled by memory of the last three seasons.

  23. Yeah, health is probably the biggest factor. We need Zeller, Dipo, and Hulls to remain healthy. We could probably afford a nick-up on anyone else, but those 3 would be really tough to replace for different reasons.

    Harvard, I love your optimism. I hope it all comes to fruition!

  24. Geoff-

    Optimism? That’s nothing. Most I keep under wraps. There are countless reasons I could enumerate for my optimism, much of it based on messages from higher powers confirming my natural understanding of the game…I see the obscure when most look for the obvious…I guess you could call me a “natural.” It’s confirmed by my flawless predictions and things like identifying future Hoosiers and channeling those thoughts to our coach before he even realizes his next move.

    How do I know my knowledge of the game is so vastly superior to yours? It’s never intended..Nothing I’ll ever gloat about. I wouldn’t want to make you feel so despondent with all you have invested into making basketball the center of your universe…But, there are small signs someone is always watching…someone is evaluating. Someone is reaffirming that I got da goods…I wish you could comprehend it all. I’ll grant you one tidbit into what I’m talking about..Greatest player to ever play in the NBA wore #23..Agree? Whose screen name is next to post #23 on this thread. Now you have one small taste the source my eternal optimism. It’s not about me. It’s not my gift. I simply carry the gift for now. It’s about what’s been given to me. One day you’ll understand that about Jordy Hulls and how the beauty of faith and dedication in your desires transcends the skills seen with naked eyes.

  25. I did some quick research. Nothing to be ashamed of…He has good range and I love the way he wears his socks up to his knees. He’s no #23, but I would say he’s relatively handsome.

    Did you know I grew up watching the Chicago Bulls? During the NBA seminar you were conducting on the other thread with “Chet the Jet” and “Butterbean Clarion,” you left out a name from your ‘no 7-footers list’…You forgot to mention Tom Boerwinkle when talking of centers that played during the Wilt era(albeit the latter ’73-’78 Laker years). There’s your 7-footer. (Boerwinkle’s listed height: 7 ft 0 in).

    He wore #18..Congratulations Hammer!

  26. I only call Clarion “Butterbean” because I Love him. And “Chet the Jet” should be relatively self-explanatory if you’ve followed along on the Scoop blog for any amount of time.

  27. It can’t compare to Geoff’s b-ball diploma, but here’s the teachers that gave Harvard his early lessons watching the game. The guys playing in the NBA today may be more athletic and freakishly skilled, but there was something classy and endearing about the old days. There was a love for the game and your teammates were akin to your family. I think that’s why many are bored by the NBA game thrust in our faces today. It’s outgrown its purpose. It’s just not genuine.

  28. Yeah Harvard, there were a couple 7-footers in the league, just not very many, and none that were of any consistent all-star calibre during Wilt’s reign.

  29. Not much disagreement, handsome. Main reason the Bulls of the 70s could never get past the Lakers in the playoffs…The Lakers always had the most dominant guy in the middle.

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