Indiana survives injuries, pounds UMBC 89-47

With sophomore swingman Will Sheehey on crutches on the sideline, junior forward Derek Elston sitting out with a busted nose and senior guard Verdell Jones spending the second half in the locker room, Indiana still managed another blowout on Thursday to head into the Big Ten season with a 12-0 record.

After allowing an overwhelmed Maryland-Baltimore County team to stay within 15 points for most of the first half, the Hoosiers went on a 3-pointer fueled 40-7 run to blowout the Retrievers 89-47 in front of a holiday break crowd of 12,665 at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are unbeaten heading into Big Ten play for the first time since the 1989-90 season and 12-0 for the first time since the 1975-76 campaign, in which they finished the years as undefeated national champions.

Combined with Monday’s 107-50 win over Howard, the Hoosiers have won their last two games by a combined 99 points. 

“I’m proud of the way they played,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “Especially with the adversity of having a couple of guys out and then a key guy like Verdell going out during the game.”

Crean said both injuries are “day to day” and that he doesn’t expect either of them to be long-term problems. Sheehey, he said, stepped on a loose ball during a scrimmage in Wednesday’s practice and rolled his left ankle. Jones went down with 43 seconds to go in the first half when he slipped while trying to feed freshman forward Cody Zeller in the post. Jones did not return to the bench in the second half, but Crean said he was moving better afterward.

“Those are day-to-day situations right now,” Crean said.

Junior forward Derek Elston is expected to return for next week’s game at Michigan State after sitting out Thursday’s game. He had surgery to repair a fracture in his nose after taking an elbow from sophomore guard Victor Oladipo during a practice last week. Crean said he will have to wear a face mask in games.

“He wanted to paint it,” Crean said. “He had some ideas. We shot that down real fast. … He’s not painting it like a hockey goalie, I know that.”

Without those three, the Hoosiers took a while to start shooting. UMBC used a 2-3 zone to pack the paint to keep Zeller from beating them and dared the Hoosiers to shoot 3’s. After junior guard Jordan Hulls hit two 3’s in the first four minutes, the Hoosiers didn’t make another the rest of the half and finished 2-for-14 from beyond the arc and just 9-for-26 from the field.

They caught fire in the second half, however. Senior guard Matt Roth hit four 3-pointers in the second half, which seemed to ignite the rest of the squad. After shooting 1-for-6 from the field and 0-for-4 from beyond the 3-point arc in the first half, junior forward Christian Watford was 7-for-8 and 4-for-4 from 3-point range in the second half, finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

Hulls had 16 points and three assists, Zeller had 13 and sophomore guard Victor Oladipo finished with nine points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals.

The Hoosiers shot 58.6 percent (17-for-29) from the field in the second half to finish 47.3 percent for the game.

“We just kept on our ball movement,” Roth said. “In the first half we moved the ball well, but we just weren’t getting shots to drop. We knew that coming out in the second half, as long as we kept playing well defensively that we were gonna knock down shots eventually. We did a great job of moving the ball and sharing it and we were able to make shots.”

Hulls, though, was upset after the game about one shot that didn’t fall. He missed a free throw after a technical foul to snap his streak of 58 consecutive made free throws, an Indiana and Big Ten record that is one of the Top 10 longest streaks in Division I history.

“I don’t know,” Hulls said when asked what happened on the shot. “That’s unbelievable. I’m so mad.”

AUDIO: Jordan Hulls, Matt Roth and Christian Watford

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 1

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 2



  1. Really appreciate you posting the audio. One favor please. If possible, move your microphone away from your laptop. We can hear you pound away on those keys. Thanks!

    BTW, you type really fast!

  2. Mark R.,
    Sorry about that, but It’s kind of a pick your poison situation. I keep the recorder by me because if an interview goes over 16 minutes, I can’t load it on the blog. And Crean sometimes goes over 16 minutes, so I watch the recorder closely while I’m typing on Twitter.

  3. Crean really needs to reconsider letting Elston paint the mask. He comes out with those tats and a demonic mask and he’ll have Sullinger wetting himself.

  4. @kurk81 :

    The minute I read where Elston wanted to paint it ,Darth Maul from that Star Wars movie came to mind…That would be a sick paint scheme ,with D.E. already having the tats ..Haha

  5. That would be hilarious if Elston came out painted up like Darth Maul or Jason. Maybe he could paint some teeth black as well. He’d headline Sportscenter for sure!!

    I would like more info as it becomes available on Sheehey and Jones. Now is not the time to be short-handed, but at least it’s a few days until the next game. The cupcake cakewalks are over.

  6. Do the rules allow him to paint the mask?
    Losing Jones makes this a better team.
    And Hulls will miss another free throw this season.

  7. @ Big Bob

    1. Im not sure about painting the mask and where that stands in the rule books …

    2. I agree if youre talking bout overall team efficiency improving .. ,although I feel Jones brings a very capable mid-range game at times ..IU needs that against teams that can guard them inside & out..

    3. I disagree 😛 Hulls had long free throw streaks at Bloomington South and he is only getting better at shooting them..In terms of pure shooting ,Hulls is truly in the mold of Steve Alford , except with more ability to create his own shot on offense .He is converting the 3 at the rate Steve did which has me giddy ..

  8. BIG BOB….Really. Jones takes so much S*** from the Hoosier fan base. Yes, he can be aggravating to watch and still make some of the same fundamental mistakes that he has his whole career. But has he not tried to adapt to his new role on this team? Is he not working on feeding Zeller the ball more, instead of ALWAYS forcing shots. Isn’t he a senoir on our team that has struggled beyond belief the last 3 yrs to help and get our program to where it is now? Plus, he had faith in CTC and our tradition to come here when hell froze over. Sure he has his fails and may not be the most talented, but HE’S A SENOIR ON OUR UNDEFEATED TEAM…I believe its time that WE ALL give him a lil respect and honor for what he has endured and put up with over the last 3 years. I’m not saying I don’t get frustrated as hell at times. But we have far surpassed anyones expectations and I truly feel that going forward the hoosier nation should all support VJIII and the rest of the this team for everything they’ve been through and where they are. Let’s not rag on our senoirs guys b/c its their last year you’ll see them on the court and b/c they deserve your respect.

    Get well Elston/Sheehey/VJIII…we need all of you boys come next week to keep this thing rolling! Merry XMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all HOOSIERS EVERYWHERE!

  9. Ok .So before I open this controversial can of whateverucallit, I am ONLY being fun & hypothetical here..IU is only 12 games into the season so it is WAAAAAY too early to tell..Haha, I know this…BUT ,to draw a FEW comparisons to IU’s last final four team (2001-02)seems appropriate since this season falls exactly one decade later.

    Compared to the ’01/’02 Runner – up team, 2011-12 IU is at this juncture :

    1.Similarly experienced
    2.Better with shot selection.
    3.Sharing the ball more and better at finding the open man.
    4.More efficient on possessions(commits less turnovers even with Verdell Jones playing).
    5.Slightly less deep in the frontcourt.
    6.Similar in team Chemistry.
    7.Less prone to overlooking lesser opponents.
    8.Getting comparable dribble penetration.
    9 Better at mid-range offense.
    10.Better at Center
    11.Deeper at Guard
    13.Lacking the AJ Moye skill set/intangibles in one player. (Lol)
    14.Better coached.
    15.Getting similarly balanced scoring.
    17.Similar if not higher in “basketball IQ”
    18.Overall a more talented team.
    19. Displaying similar physicality.

    20.To add to the above and break from my horrific attempt at a comparison to the 2001-02 Hoosiers, they are playing as hard as the last 2 Butler teams that went to the final game with less on their roster.This IU team ,SO FAR, SEEMS to possess more intangibles & willingness to learn than most IU teams over the last decade have shown…

    I think its way to early to presume anything this early,but if this squad gets healthy again and stays that way Big Ten play could very well round them into something very special before the Big Ten Tournament begins in March ..from here out who knows what will happen but this squad just gives me that gut feeling….

    The more questions the are surrounding a team the more potential there is for promising answers..Let the agreements and disagreements commence ;P GOOOOOOO IU !!!

  10. Ryne, Big Bob – I think your comments about Verdell summarize this debate which has gone on forever. Actually, I think you may both be right, and that’s how the debate gets going. Both sides are arguing different points.

    Bob didn’t say he didn’t support Verdell, he just made a statement about his playing ability. Ryne, you said we should all support him, but you made some concessions about his occasional lapses.

    Personally, I will always support Verdell as a Hoosier who stuck through this program through thick and thin, and has definitely improved this season quite a bit. Likewise, I will always support Pritch, but I think we are a better team with Pritch only getting a few minutes per game. That doesn’t mean I don’t like him or support him.

    I think we are a better team with Verdell getting <20 minutes a game, less than what he usually gets, but losing him entirely is probably not good. He has stretches where he plays very well, and then he has letdowns. I feel like he would concentrate a little harder and avoid those bonehead plays if he played less minutes.

    Well, we may have a chance to see how the team does without him in the next game…

  11. Jon, I think the intangibles you mention are what make this team unique. This team is sick of losing, so they are very driven and I don’t think they will ever get over confident. This also makes them want to win any way they can, which is why they are so unselfish. They really play like a TEAM.

    If they continue to improve in the B1G, I can see them making a good run in the tournament. They are very similar in the team concept to Butler last year. While not the most talented or athletic team in the country, they could get lucky and be a cinderella team. Stranger things have happened (ala NC State vs Georgetown).

  12. Go Hoosiers…. Crean has us back on the right track IU Admins.after giving the job to a couple of jokes that ran the program in the ground. Davis went to the final game with Knights players and system. Sampson did the same thing at IU that he got in trouble for at Oklahoma. Hope we can stay healthy and finish in the top 5 in Big Ten and do well in the Big Ten Trny, You never know what can happen in the big dance.

  13. Out of all the Hoosiers on our talented team, Hahvahd thinks Jones has the most legitimate shot at being a future NBA guy…..folding towels. Extend loyalty to a guy that for the last three seasons has been a ball hog and turnover machine only caring about accumulating his own points. Most those turnovers were created by forcing issues in an attempt to pad his scoring stats. It’s never been team ball. Play him more minutes because he deserves it based on being a senior? Hell, if that’s our theory, then put Danny Moore on the floor before Sheehey! Didn’t Geoff just take hours of his time on another thread talking about Wilt Chamberlain as a guy that only cared about the Padding of his stat sheet? Jones is different? Yes, now let’s allow him to be Wilt Chamber-turnover-again and play him minutes that do nothing in helping this team collectively succeed..Give him extra minutes because he went through such terrible times while getting a fully paid education…Give him more chance to pad his career scoring numbers though it will hamper us from legitimate shots at winning the tough conference games on the road? Not this Hoosier fan. Mid-range game? Sounds more like a deranged game.

  14. I worry they will live and die by the three too much. I really only trust Hulls or Watford shooting threes with any consistency and even Watford can go cold. Zeller wil have to continue staying out of foul trouble and continuing getting the ball in good post position.

    VJ and Sheehey are a much bigger loss than Elston. He hasn’t done anything to show he deserves any considerable minutes. Painting his mask would be the only entertaining thing he’s done all year, I say let him do it.

    If Sheehey and VJ are out our guards are going to have to play a ton of minutes. Moore cannot play major minutes and Crean doesn’t seem to trust Abell or he isn’t good enough to play.

    Now we really see how good the team is

  15. The thing that sticks out to me, is the way IU can take control of games this year. This is usually lead by three Players. Zeller, Oladipo and Hulls.(Jeffries, Moye and Coverdale ?)Those are IU’s three best “basketball” players. It’s thier mindset actually. These are the guys that will need to stay healthy. Yes Sheehey is very important, as is Elston and Jones. That 01/02 team ended up in a three or four way tie for first.
    My point, although bad timing, the injuries, it provides playing time for others for future play. This will help down the road. I think the Big Ten winner could have 3-4 losses. If Watford plays well, the other three mentioned current players create enough problems on defense for opposing teams.
    I have been critical of Jones, but he does bring some good things to the court. Elston has seen less minutes. Sheehey will be hard to replace. But I don’t think we will struggle without those guys.

  16. all you jones haters should stop and think that you are attacking a college kid. how would you feel if that was your son being attacked by hoosier fans? he plays hard and he is trying to help his team win. i also get frustrated by his turnovers but please let’s remember he is just a college kid and not a professional athlete.

  17. We aren’t attacking him, we are simply desiring he gets fewer minutes. Remy is a freshman and he turns the ball over at a lesser rate than VJ3, is more explosive going to the basket, and seems to have the rest of the offensive package… Oh and he shoots FTs well.

  18. Jon, etal…. One thing you didn’t bring up was defense. I think this team puts as much pressure and is as sound fundamentally as any IU team I’ve seen since the early 90’s… Mostly because of the ability for Zeller to defend on the post, both individually and as a help defender, but more importantly because of his (amazing) ability to hedge and recover on perimeter screens.

    I think we will really know a lot more about this team once they experience a little failure… How do they respond to losing 2 games in a row? What happens when they blow a lead to a conference rival. How will they play in a hostile environment. I am thrilled so far, and think this team is every bit as good as the ’02 team, but there are still a lot of questions to answer.

    … Unless they are like the ’76 team… How bout those words Hahvahd?! Didn’t see that coming did you. You’re turn to talk me down from an overly optimistic premise…

  19. Where have many of you been when Watford has been attacked on here numerous times? Watford has probably taken more criticism this year. People call him lazy..They say the Hoosier ship has sailed and he’s not aboard…They diminish his importance to the team and claim of multiple reasons his game will never translate to the next level..I’ve seen you on here before, t.burns. If you’re all about defending every member of this team, then do it top to bottom.

    At the end of the day, this is a blog. One person interprets Jones’ play as “trying hard”…Another blogger sees Verdell as not trying hard enough to play a role on the floor that gets teammates more involved. It’s not just about turnovers. It’s a false perception of his own skill level, a delusion of grandeur, that is dysfunctional in the realm of a team game with other highly capable options on the floor. The damage that can cause to the psyche of a team goes way beyond the simplistic view that he just turns the ball over too many times.

    And Don’t call people “haters” when you turn the other cheek based on your personal preferences. Anyone that has been on this blog, or payed attention to a ScoopTalk session, has seen plenty of criticism and doubt aimed at Watford that has received little of the same fiery defense that Jones is granted.

    I tend to believe the extra defensiveness toward Verdell is more about the coach because of the obvious protective nature Tom Crean has for his first recruit to Indiana. Isn’t that what all of this is truly about? There is zero allowance for any critique the decision o processes made from the bench. If you question why the kid is playing, then you are questioning the guy writing him into the starting lineup. If a journalist questions it, they lock themselves out of Tom Crean’s office. That’s a deflection none of you can stomach in the box score.

  20. Not only is Jones a college kid but so were Bawa, Capobianco, Malik Story and Nick Williams. Crean is in love with Jones just like some of you are in love with Crean, that is, because all of you Crean worshippers are, like Crean himself:

           .__                .__                        
      ____ |  |  __ __   ____ |  |   ____   ______ ______
    _/ ___\|  | |  |  \_/ __ \|  | _/ __ \ /  ___//  ___/
    \  \___|  |_|  |  /\  ___/|  |_\  ___/ \___ \ \___ \ 
     \___  >____/____/  \___  >____/\___  >____  >____  >
         \/                 \/          \/     \/     \/ 

  21. This is not the ’76 team. That’s laughable. This is not the ’02 team. Not near the depth in the backcourt.

    That being said, if they get into the Big Dance, which I’ve predicted they will, anything can happen. Match-ups and momentum dictate everything in the NCAA tournament. This team could pull some big upsets as the gain experience during a tough, grind-it-out Big 10 season. Zeller, Watford, Oladipo, and Hulls will give opponents very big challenges…It’s pick your poison when attempting strategies in guarding these four. Too heavy of a concentration on Zeller leaves the danger of Watford and Jordy from the outside. Pushing Cody away from the basket can open things up for Victor to drive and kick. I like our chances because we’re versatile and deep off the bench. Jordy needed a Bobby Wilkerson. VO is improving immensely, but he’s still not that kind of threat going to the basket. With a Wilkerson, we’re closer to ’76.

    I’m not blindly optimistic. And we have to look beyond our emotions and put the guys on the floor that play together.

  22. Final thought: I’ve always felt the most confidence a guy can display on the floor is the confidence he has in his teammates. I see that trait in Zeller, Hulls, Oladipo, and Watford. Sorry if my personal view offends, but I struggle to see it in Jones. A drama queen owning the moment is more about not believing.

  23. The ’02 team relied on the three heavily, as well. They just weren’t as good at it. Streaky. They rode the arc to the Finals where it failed them. Jordy has a lot of the same qualities as Coverdale but he’s a better shooter. They are/were both mentally very tough.
    Something to bear in mind, I think most of us are comparing this team to the ’02 that made the finals, not the ’02 team in December. This bunch is so focused and, IMHO, much better coached. I think the ceiling for this team is very high. Will Zeller be better than JJ? Maybe. I think so, but they do different things. Will Jordy be better than Tom? I think so. His stats indicate he might. Offensively for sure. CWat and Fife? Yeah. VO to AJ? Vic has crazy skills.
    I know these aren’t all direct player to player comparisons but I think this team has the potential to be special.
    I don’t think the ’02 season produced a lot of great teams nationally, either. Even if they can improve enough to be the equal or better than the ’02 team they may not make it as far.
    HforH, I get what you mean about Verdell. Sometimes it looks like everyone get one game plan and Verdell gets a different one. Finding the right role for Verdell may be one of the biggest challenges for CTC because he is going to play a key roll, one way or another.

  24. Those of you who say Verdell deserves less minutes or is this terrible player are entitled to your opinions. He certainly has faults. But just remember that holding that opinion means you also backhandedly show a lack respect for Coach Crean’s ability to recognize and understand his own team’s talents. To suggest Crean is just enamored with VJIII or plays Verdell the minutes he does only because he’s a senior is insulting in my opinion.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – while Verdell makes mistakes and isn’t perfect, the head coach believes in him, and his teammates believe in him.

    As a fan, that’s good enough for me.

  25. Personally, I think it speaks to his loyalty and character. Anyone who thinks they know more about basketball than he does and they aren’t named Izzo, Kryzewski, or the like, is a delusional narcissist. He knows what’s going on and chooses to play him. I believe it speaks more to his humanity than his coaching. I’ll live with that.

  26. And, as said above, apply the same standard to bloggers that imply Watford is lazy and plays as if he doesn’t care to be aboard the Hoosier ship. Can the coach not identify laziness and half-a$$ defensive effort?

  27. Please do not question Comrade Crean’s decisions. When Comrade Crean signed with the Hoosiers a double rainbow appeared over the Baekdu mountains in the Korean peninsula — are you now going to question the rainbows? Comrade Crean knows best what his team’s talents are: without Verdell the team went on a 40-7 run. This just shows how well they were coached during that period. Sorry these are just facts.

    For Big Ten play I heard Crean is training Elston to trip Jones in key moments of the game(s). Elston tried it with Sheehey in practice and Sheehey retalied. ?! So they have to work a few kinks out but for me this speaks volumes — more about Comrade Crean’s humanity than his coaching.

  28. Why not criticize Crean for playing Jones?We should just accept it?Assume he know’s what he is doing?When Knight played his son I used to tell people just be glad he didn’t have a daughter!All we are saying is Jones doesn’t deserve 27 minutes a game.It isn’t just the fact that he makes more turnovers than Betty Crocker,it’s how he makes them,head down dribbling into defenders.he has played for 3 years like he thinks he is a great one on one player.The fact is he is a grade D player at best and we have better options now oladipo,Sheehey should get his minutes.Remy Should be developed.Period!

  29. Hey, Comrade Rico, you spelled “retaliated” incorrectly… also, you’re still an idiot and a troll. Just so you know.

  30. Sure, VJONESIII may have made some poor decisions with the ball late in games in the past but give home some credit: he passed off in the closing seconds against UK which led to one of the most epic moments in IU basketball history. At least he´s learning team play.

  31. Very good point Geoff …I did not mention the defense ..This team plays like it enjoys that side of the ball immensely.They are indeed very sound on that respective end .

    I am also curious about how they will respond to possible things like a 2 game skid ,as well as how they will deal with hostile Big Ten environments…Its one thing to play at NC State ,but another to go to venues of in conference rivals..

  32. I just hope we’re seeing the best team we can have on the floor. My opinion doesn’t really mean as much as a hill of beans anyway. I just don’t understand how a journalism grad from Michigan, working his first sports season for Scoop, can come in here and honestly believe the Hoosiers fail to operate on all cylinders without Verdell in the lineup. The perplexity written all over Dustin’s face in the last ScoopTalk was more than obvious. I think Ryan would love nothing more than the Hoosiers playing Verdell for 40 minutes against his Wolverines.

    Sometimes you just have to go with your heart. There is undoubtedly a loyalty thing going on. If Verdell wasn’t shooting the ball so damn good, possibly coach Crean would be taking away a bigger chunk of his minutes….Possibly not. I can only come to terms with it in the same way Chet is seeing it. hiensohn is also a bit on the same page. It’s almost a father and adopted son relationship we may be witnessing. I’m taking a vow to not criticize the decision to play Verdell for the rest of the year. You have to find some room between loyalty and the struggle to sleep at night for doing the right thing. Each man has a different scale in balancing out those decisions.

    Merry Christmas to all of you. Poker more important than blogging with Hahvahd? Bah, humbug!

  33. Give Crean his due. The team is undefeated. Noone predicted that. So far, the coaching has been outstanding, both in game play and in game preparation and in halftime adjustments. The ONE area where it needs to be better is late game handling of a lead. This team has to learn how to remain calm, run clock and force the other team to panic when IU is up 6-8 late in the game. JH should have 15-20 more free throw attempts this season if they kept the ball in his hands and ran more clock. But they have never been in that position, so the kids are learning.

    We can all agree that VJ has had problems in the past and that he is still turnover-prone and that he does not control the offense (and get them settled down) the way JH does, but he fills a role for this team that includes the ability to score and the ability to defend. (I love JH, but VJ is MUCH better on the defensive end this year).

    If you cannot see and acknowledge the progress and improvement that VJ has made over last year on all of the things that you criticize him for, then you have no watched IU play. Crean sees that same improvement, and I expect that he demanded it.

    As for the calls to play Remy instead of VJ–fine, as long as you have been saying all along that you do not care about the team’s record this year. Remy was not (and is not) ready to run this team full time. He is a freshman. If Crean played him instead of VJ, we are looking at an 8-4 record.

  34. There is the argument that playing Remy more early in the season(and I highly doubt it would have meant more losses), would have reaped us added benefits come March. Aren’t we going to have to play him anyway with the current injuries? I think his experience this year is vital in helping this team maximize a season that screams “Why wait until next year?”. I thought Abell was highly skilled six months ago and I’ve only seen examples from him on the court that confirms my earlier opinions. He has the “it factor”….He’s similar to Zeller in maturity and IQ on the court beyond his freshman level standing..He’s a baller.

    Once again, Merry Christmas..I’ll shut up.

  35. as a fan of the hoosiers i root for ALL the players and i always will. i will freely admit that i am not qualified to choose which player gets how many minutes. i am not a college basketball coach nor have i attended a practice nor have i studied any video. i trust the the head coach and his staff who have worked with the team and who makes these choices for a living. they are the ones who have been trained for this job and who are QUALIFIED to make these decisions. GO HOOSIERS! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU ALL

  36. Yes, Merry Christmas to all of you…Chet, Podunker, David, Hravard, Hoosier Clarion.., to coaches and players, to DD, Andy, Ryan and the HT staff. And, may 2012 see the Hoosiers competing at the top in all sports.

  37. Yes I agree,Merry Christmas to all.No criticism today.We can all agree this team is playing about as well as it can and are pure joy to watch.

  38. In my opinion, Harvard for Hillbillies’s analysis of VJIIIs basketball skills is brilliant!

    I just watched a replay of the last game when Verdell went down. Coach put in Matt Roth and I was astounded at the things his game brought to the team.

    I would love to see a comparison chart of Jones/Roth similar to those people used when comparing Jones/Hulls.

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