Indiana hangs on to win at Northwestern, 67-59

WHAT HAPPENED: Indiana held Northwestern to just 17 first-half points, built a lead that was as great as 16, and held on despite a second-half Wildcat rally to claim a 67-59 victory in front of a split-allegiance crowd of 8,117 at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.

Northwestern went on an 8-0 run midway through the second half to cut Indiana’s lead to five with 6:48 to go. A 3-pointer by junior guard Victor Oladipo made it 54-43 Indiana with 4:52 left, but Northwestern hung in and cut the deficit to 56-51 with 2:05 to go. The Hoosiers staved off the upset, however, and hit six free throws in the final minute to put the game away.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: IU sophomore center Cody Zeller and senior forward Christian Watford took full advantage of the Hoosiers’ edge in the post, and Indiana got the ball inside for layups and free throw opportunities. Zeller posted his second-straight double-double with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Watford hit a pair of 3-pointers as well and finished with 14 points.

For the second time in three games, senior guard Jordan Hulls missed three free throws in a row. Hulls, who owns the Big Ten record with 58 consecutive made free throws, still managed to shake it off and hit four free throws in the final minute. He finished with 15 points.

Junior guard Victor Oladipo struggled to find room to operate on offense and didn’t have his best game, but still posted seven points, six rebounds, five assists, a block and a steal.

Northwestern senior guard Reggie Hearn scored nine of the Wildcats’ 17 first-half points and finished with 22 points. Senior swingman Jared Swopshire had 13 points and eight rebounds and freshman guard Tre Dempos scored 11.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: In the first half, Indiana took advantage of Northwestern’s man-to-man defense by exploiting their advantage in the post. The Wildcats defended the perimeter well, but didn’t have the muscle to deal with Watford and Zeller without fouling. One of the only reasons the Hoosiers weren’t able to put the game away early is the Hoosiers missed some shots at close range. The post game did eventually open up 3-point looks froom the outside, which in turn also opened up driving lanes for Hulls and freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell.

The Hoosiers also kept Northwestern’s Princeton offense from giving them too many problems. The Hoosiers kept Northwestern from beating them with backdoor cuts. They also defended Northwestern’s 3-point shots reasonably well and had some good fortune on open 3’s, as the Wildcats made just one of nine 3-pointers in the first half.

In the second half, Northwestern shot the ball better, knocking down five of 10 3-point attempts, and also got the ball to the rim. After the under-12 timeout, the Wildcats switched from man-to-man to a 1-3-1 zone. The Hoosiers had major problems with it early, as Ferrell threw a pass that was picked off by Swopshire and taken all the way for a dunk and Indiana went six possessions in a row at one point without scoring. However, Zeller hit a running bank shot to get the scoring started and also tipped in a miss by Hulls. Oladipo hit a huge 3-pointer and junior swingman Will Sheehey hit a jumper in the mid-range that helped the Hoosiers find their groove against it.

The Hoosiers finished the day shooting 47.6 percent from the field and made 23 of 31 free throw attempts. Ferrell’s giveaway for Swopshire’s dunk was one of only six Indiana turnovers despite Northwestern’s trapping zone.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: The Hoosiers would certainly have liked this win to have looked a little bit prettier. It was clear from the beginning that the Hoosiers were far superior athletically to Northwestern, and that this Wildcat team isn’t nearly as dangerous as Northwestern has been the last four seasons with John Shurna and Drew Crawford. Lesser teams than Indiana — Iowa, for instance — have had an easier time putting the Wildcats away than the Hoosiers did.

But the fact remains. Indiana has gone on the road three times this season and they haven’t lost yet. The loss to Wisconsin will force them to tumble in the polls, but the Badgers lost at Iowa on Saturday night, so there are no more unbeatens in the Big Ten and the Hoosiers are on the level with one defeat. They didn’t allow the Wisconsin loss to beat them twice. They hung on and didn’t fold in the face of a rally on the road. Obviously, that’s against an inferior team in a road environment that was very friendly to Indiana with much of the Hoosiers’ Chicagoland alumni base coming out, and it doesn’t portend much of anything about what might happen in tougher road environments like Columbus, East Lansing or Ann Arbor. But basically, the Hoosiers survived another game in which they could have stubbed their toes.


Tom Crean:

“I thought our Indiana team responded in a huge, huge way today.We’ve had a long week, and we’ve gotten better throughout all of it. To come in here today and get this result on the road, to win our third straight game on the road, is a big deal,” Crean said. “It’s not easy to win in any league. It’s especially tough to win in this league. I don’t think there’s any coach, player or program that wouldn’t agree with that. It’s very difficult to win.”

“You just have to stay locked in to what’s important. That’s how do youiprove. how do you make your teammates better, and what’s your recipe for winning. Our guys have done a very good job the last couple of days of really understanding that again. They’ve been very locked in to this game. I think it showed in our defense. Now, with that being said, there were times when Northwestern took advantage of our mistakes. That’s what Northwestern does better than maybe anybody in this league. If you play a screen the wrong way, they’re going to make you pay for it. That happened to us a couple of times, we missed a few layups, but we never got down.”

Jordan Hulls

“We got the win. That’s all we really care about.”

On his feelings on the fact that Northwestern made a point to foul him.

That’s fine. Put me on the line.”

Cody Zeller

On playing against the 1-3-1 zone.

“They just kind of sped us up for a while. We kind of panicked for a while just because that’s what the defense forces you to do. Once we started getting it into the middle, getting it to the baseline, we started getting open shots.”

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Cody Zeller, Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford (and also about seven minutes of whatever was going on in the press room when I left my recorder there)

AUDIO: Bill Carmody, Reggie Hearn, Dave Sobolewski


  1. Road win and that’s good and tough to come by. Let’s be real though, we’ve won 4 games against teams in the lower half of the B1G. What’s going to happen when we play the top tier teams? The so called movement that was suppose to bring top talent so far hasn’t panned out. Perea flat out sucks. Why he ever plays is beyond me. I’d rather have Howard come in and spell Zeller. Hollowell should be renamed Houdini because he disappears. The movement’s best defender was kicked off the team. Jurkin is a waste of a scholarship. Yogi will be ok and is playing through freshman mistakes but won’t be a standout and will never be a scorer. My guess is if we continue to play like this, we will finish the B1G at 10-8 at best. Crean has to be about the 9th best coach in the B1G. I can only imagine what would have happened today if Crawford was eligible to play for NU. Right now we are not a top 5 team and maybe not a top 10 team. We still have the same talent as last year due to the movement not giving us anything. At best we finish the season as a sweet 16 team again. Watford is still Watford. Hulls is still Hulls. Zeller has improved slightly. Oladipo has improved greatly. But last year we overachieved to get to the sweet 16. This season our talent will only get us to the same place. That is until Crean screws it up.

  2. To quote the late great Chris Farley from the movie Black Sheep. “What in hell was that all about?”


  3. 10-8 REALLY? I can’t stand IU fans like you, all you do is complain about how we play and always say Crean is such a bad coach. You might as well switch your support to Purdue or Kentucky because real fans don’t criticize there team when they are winning.

  4. Take time to Appreciate 16-2. How long has it been? Think of where we have been in the last 8-10 years. Thanks to coaches and team. Been there through all the tough times with you. Bought the tickets. Made the trips. Heard the jokes. It’s not a perfect world, but this little part of it is much better. Proud of you. Very proud. Keep perspective everybody.

    Go Hoosiers!

  5. Debbie,

    Instead of complaining about how Crean is such a horrible coach, why don’t you explain it to us? Give me some examples. What does he do wrong? What does he need to fix? Give me one example of him being outcoached, and explain it to all of us, please.

  6. There’s Slaco with another name change. Come on, man, Crean has done some many things that will forever cement his place in the Pantheon of IU coaches, just off the top of my head here are some:

    Crean has made possible the Harbaugh SuperBowl
    Crean has made Eric Arnett co-pitcher of the season
    Crean (like AAA) helped stranded motorists all across Indiana
    Crean has brought Johny Marlin to IU
    Crean is actively following Joyce
    Crean once found a guy mopping in Cook Hall gave him a job
    Crean has twice attended Dwyane Wade Fantasy camp
    Crean is planning to attend the fantasy again in the future
    Crean has almost delivered a hug from Fred Glass to Bob Knight
    Crean has brought to IU from Marquette the “big heads”
    Crean coaches by happenstance, like a master
    Crean is sincere even when he doesn’t mean it.

    How can you not appreciate the man, Debbie!?

    Slaco, two words for ya: U-tah. Hahahahahahahahaha!

  7. Forgot the most important part:

    Crean has recently had a commercial released for a footlong Dentyne.

    His line: Delicous, delevered via Twitter, at half-time.

    Crean is a phenomical coach!

  8. Picknose- I might have to revoke your title of Internet Wizard for thinking I’m Slaco. Nice try buddy! But the Utah thing hurt, even if you shot it towards the wrong target. S’ok, though! Love my Dawgs just like I love my Seahawks!

  9. Utah? Don’t be knocking Utah. Once you get past the nuclear waste thing Utah is spectacular. Campsite off 150 on Upper Setting Road and 132- Salt Creek Canyon Road. No phone service. Watch out for bears, don’t feed the moose. Can’t wait for summer.

  10. But the Utah thing hurt, even if you shot it towards the wrong target.

    Knew it. I could throw it to any target you’d intercept it proudly like a Patriot missile. Don’t worry buddy, the Huskies have been impressive so far and they’ll win PAC-12 this year. They will make it again to the NCAA where they will shock the world. They’re imprevisible and that makes them very frightening.

    Prediction: they will win 7 of their next 8 (likely losing only to Oregon State at home).

  11. Knew it. I could throw it to any target you’d intercept it proudly like a Patriot missile

    The only thing intercepting Patriot Missiles these days are Baltimore Ravens defenders. (Touché, Geoff).

    Nice Romar pic. He must have looked good with hair back in the day. Thanks for the encouraging words about the Huskies. They’ll never be as good as Crean-diana, but Romar always recruits exciting NBA-caliber players (Isaiah Thomas, Terrence Ross, Brandon Roy, Quincy Pondexter, John Brockman, Spencer Hawes, Nate Robinson – to name a few) and once in a while they’ll knock off a pretender in the tournament (like New Mexico) and give us sad Seattlites something to cheer for.

  12. There’s a lot that shows up when googling “podumper/poopdunker.” You’ve been very busy. What happened to the previous “Webshots” site?

  13. I have no idea what you mean. At this stage I just decided that like Chet I too am infuriatingly secure. Or did he say “infuriatingly senile”? Yeah, I think that’s what he said. Either way works for me if it works for Chet.

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