The Minute After: N.C. State

Thoughts on an 86-75 win over N.C. State:

Christian Watford and Verdell Jones were dribbling into traffic and turning the ball over. C.J. Leslie was blocking Cody Zeller. The Hoosiers were failing to get the free-throw line and ball movement had disappeared.

You could feel it slipping away as Tom Crean called timeout with his Hoosiers facing a seven-point deficit at the 7:43 mark in the second half.

But they punched back.

Victor Oladipo, who was quiet most of the night due to foul trouble, rose to the occasion. He slashed to the basket for scores off the left wing. He got out and transition and received a flagrant-1. He hit free throws. And with four fouls, he showed no fear in picking up a fifth, blocking Lorenzo Brown’s shot at the 4:17 mark and recording two steals — the last of which he highlighted with a reverse slam with 20 seconds to go. The sophomore’s energy has been so crucial to the ebb and flow of Indiana’s games this season. Tonight, on the ropes, they needed him in a big way. And he delivered.

Cody Zeller was there, too. Early in the second half, Indiana looked to feed him the ball early and often. But in a hostlie road environment,  Zeller, well, looked like a freshman. He sped up his game; he tried to do a little too much. But there he was in those final few minutes scoring around the rim. A dunk, a lay-up, a put-back off an Oladipo miss. He hit two free throws in the closing minutes, too. In the end, it was another efficient shooting night for the Washington native (8-of-14 for 19 points), as he also ripped down nine boards.

Jordan Hulls. He made the difference tonight, too. After getting off to a red-hot start and being one of the few players this evening to look competent in one-on-one situations, Hulls hit a key three at with 1:45 to go to put IU up four that just about sealed the deal. He also hit four free throws in those closing minutes and has now hit 52 straight dating back to last season. Hulls finished with 20 points. Impressive stuff.

Had this been last season or the season before or the one before that, it’s sayonara for Indiana — likely before they even got down seven at the 7:38 mark.

But we’ve seen it these first seven games now: This is a different team. A different year. A new energy has risen up from Indiana’s soul. They are confident. They have resolve.

The road ahead is long. And it doesn’t get any easier from here.

But for the first time in Crean era, Indiana appears ready for the challenge.

QUICKLY …

+ Indiana gave up way too many offensive boards in the first half, as N.C. State registered a whopping 63.1 offensive rebounding percentage. This allowed them a lot of second-chance opportunities. But the Hoosiers did a much better job of keeping Leslie, Richard Howell and C.J. Washington off the boards in the second half. N.C. State only recorded five offensive rebounds and just one resulted in second-chance points — a Leslie putback with 2:37 to go. This was key in keeping the Wolfpack at bay down the stretch.

+ Indiana was losing the free throw battle for most of the night, but during that final stretch from the 7:38 mark to the final buzzer, it made 14-of-16 and beat N.C. State in the free-throw rate battle, 38.3 to 33.3.

  • http://twitter.com/IUgrad07 DaMitchellBoy

    Does Zeller have an official nickname ?

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    It was a fun game, but man it was a grinder!!!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Cody or CZ is all I have heard.  I think he is kind of above a nickname really.  Cody just fits him.

  • Anonymous

    Perdue is a  7 foot moran who knows nothing about the travails of IU b-ball over the past 3 years.

  • Anonymous

    send a copy to IU atheletics..that should be reported to the school and the ACC.

  • Anonymous

    Lets hope Hulls misses one sometime before its critical. I remember Louisville under Denny Crum had a guard named Terry Howard who went the entire season without a missed FT. Media were calling on him to jack one so the pressure didn’t get to him. Into their second or third touranment game..it came down to Howard making his FT’s at the end of the game..and I believe he missed both and UL had an early exit. Hope Jordy set the IU record..then miss one just for the hell of it!!

  • Anonymous

    good comeback win last night,down 7 with 8 to go i felt like we were kinda just holding on but the kids came right back took the lead back and never lost it. we played our best down the stretch with VJ on the bench cheerleading,i know he is a senior but the kid dribbles way 2 much. and turns the ball over. Will should be starting. we wont have to worry about that next year when we will be freaking loaded at every position.DE may not see the floor next  year if hes doesnt start playin D in a hurry.

  • Anonymous

    I understand, may I ask which player/coach that was? Good story. I just thought I would let you know, (I can’t stand it when people call CZ “Zellers”) and I agree with you, CWat shows flashes of showing what he truly has, but it is to rare. Hopefully whatever clicked at halftime of this game continues through out the rest of the season.

  • Anonymous

    We can all hope, but there are a lot of teams making a case to be ranked. I was glad that Creighton got the victory over SDSU though as it helps IU’s chances to crack the top 25. I’m curious though, if IU does make the top 25 Monday, then lose to pUKe (for the love of God I hope not) the following week, will that put them out of the top 25? Thoughts?

  • Anonymous

    espn can suck it. I stopped paying attention to anything on there that’s not an actual sports game a long time ago. May 26, 2011 to be exact, which was my 26th birthday and the day I saw the article on their website about IU, which I’ll not specifically name. They ruined everything for me on their network, website, magazine, and anything else publishable by letting that garbage of an article make it on their website.

  • Anonymous

    I feel for ya TRAH and I somewhat know how you feel. I live in Frankfort (about 35 minutes from West Lafayette) and work in Lafayette (about 5 seconds from West Lafayette lol) and I am outnumbered most of the time. There are people here who are IU fans, but the fan base isn’t what it used to be here either. You have to remember what this program has gone through (like you could forget) and remember what that means to casual or not so “die-hard” fans. We still have to rise from the ashes to garner the support we’ve had in the past. Having said that, I am not worried about the state of the program and have total faith in what Coach Crean and his recruiting classes will being Hoosier nation in the next few years. Also, when BTN completely screwed up the online broadcast, they said that Indiana University basketball brings their highest ratings. Let’s also remember that attendance has been up and this team sells out all the time. These are both great signs that the fan base is still there. IU basketball has to have the most loyal fans of any sport to continue these numbers. Give it just a little more time TRAH and pay no mind to will perdue (who played at vanderbilt right? are you kidding me?) and andy sweeney — who the hell is andy sweeney??

  • Anonymous

    whose to say there wouldn’t be at least those 7 feeds down low to Zeller, PLUS feeding the Z on the possessions where he drove the lane with his head down, or dribbled off his foot? I’m not in the “bench VJ3 crowd”…i’m just sayin’ we can’t say “X” is missing, therefore “Y” is also missing.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, but Ace would sell his kids for a double cheeseburger;) Not sure who’d buy them though….. hahhahaaa Ace…jk;)

  • defendtherock

    I agree with making a point about the push in the back calls on the boards.  Teams watch tape of our games.  They will see that if you put a forearm right in our back and push while the ball is in the air, we go under the basket and no foul is called.  It is so annoying to watch, especially on free throws.

  • Anonymous

    It is a private moment in that I was invited in those practices under the basis of confidentiality but that is an old coaches trick. As for Zeller it is my poor attention to detail. The thing is #2 is a disappointment, not sure what is the underlying factor. He does not play with urgency or fear that his butt might be sat, A coach once told me that the greatest motivator is the fear of not playing, esp when they have talent to play. That the only power a coach really has is the power to decide when and where a player will play, the rest is up to them. If a player does not fulfill the demands of a coach the coach either sits and takes it or puts in someone else.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Well, half the problem is they’re not all my kids.  I’m a foster parent so honestly some of my kids are so bad I couldn’t pay someone to take them!

    JUST KIDDING – although I am a foster parent and most people . . . well, you get the picture.

  • Anonymous

    Good comment (and not just because I totally agree either) and a take on the Hulls vs VJ3 thing, that as far as I can remember, has not been used when debating this issue. I enjoy reading  your comments and they seem to be from someone that, for a lack of a better way to put it, instead of thinking outside of the box you seem to watch the game “outside of the box” if that makes sense. I would venture that, like me, you enjoy watching the action away from the ball almost as much as the action that surrounds the ball. Doing that has went a long way in how I view this subject. This is exactly the way I see the Hulls vs VJ3 thing, not necessarily whether one should be playing “instead” of the other one but rather how much they should be playing given the game situations at the time and how their individual game is going in the game at hand.

    Do I smell a little bit of “coach” flavor to you comments ?

  • Anonymous

    Your last sentence is exactly what I have posted more than once this season. Heck give us just one of those two and it could be making a big difference, even with our vastly improved play this year without them.

  • Anonymous

    Agree with your point and I could live with not winning the rebounding battle, in a game like this one, but we can’t lose those types of battles as badly as we did in the first half and for the game overall when it come to the offensive glass.

  • Anonymous

    Know exactly which one you speak of I believe and remember thinking to myself ” you finally combine the two things that I harp on you about, getting up off the floor and playing help side D” but choosing to do those two things at a bad time.

    Maybe my wife is right there’s just no making me happy. lol

  • Anonymous

    Yep, 17 -19 minutes, or less, is probably the amount of minutes he would be playing as a senior had he come to IU under more normal circumstances.

  • Anonymous

    I think I could hear the entire IU nation screaming that at that particular moment.

  • Anonymous

    Agree with your point and it becomes even more so when you look at it that way and remember that VJ is a senior not a junior.

  • Anonymous

    I would be hard pressed to think of a game that we won that I wouldn’t trade for a win over those buck toothed sister sleepin’ idiots.

  • Anonymous

    ESPN associated with something done in bad taste ? Never have I heard of such a thing. Surely you jest !  dws

  • Anonymous

    Was the “feed the Z” comment made while all the while you were secretly harboring the “I’d marry CZ if I was a 20 year old girl” comment…hhhmmmm

  • Anonymous

    BeeJay has publicly stated that VO has been like a big brother to him and that he more or less lived with his family for a long stretch at one time.

  • IUJeff

    VJ3 does his best and has busted his ars for over 3 tough years now. He represents the program well, and the IU fans need to get off of his ars. We all have our limitations.  

    People need to stop and think about how they would feel if someone was saying this stuff about their kid. If it was not for VJ, we might have 0 wins these last 3 years.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I apprecriate that. Go IU!!

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    It is frustrating to say the least.  At least those folks in Laf and W Laf are a fan of an in state school.  These people down here that cheer for pUKe and pUke of L by acting like that those schools are their state school.  If you ask them about pride for their state school they tell you Kentucky is close enough to be my state school.  I just shake my head hearing an idiotic comment like that.  I can’t wait for Indiana’s bandwagon to be fired up again.  At least I will be able to spot the bandwagon fans, it is always so easy. 

  • Anonymous

    So would leaving a bit early to make sure you see your other kid be “gozellering”?

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