Oladipo’s late rebound basket helps Hoosiers escape on road

IUBUTLERITH0005IOWA CITY, Iowa — Time and again, No. 5 Indiana built a reasonably comfortable lead, and then let Iowa back in the game. And time and again, Victor Oladipo was there to bail the Hoosiers out.

So it was only fitting that when they needed a huge bucket late to put the pesky Hawkeyes away on the road, Oladipo was the one to get it. With 1:03 remaining and Indiana ahead just 63-60 inside a sold-out and raucous Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Oladipo grabbed a missed shot from Cody Zeller and laid it in to break the spirits of the Iowa players.

“Rebounding is one of my strengths,” Oladipo said. “I just saw Cody shooting it and I saw how it was coming off the rim, and I was in the right place at the right time.”

And then, after a miss by the Hawkeyes (11-3, 0-1 Big Ten) on the other end, Oladipo grabbed another big rebound, his 10th of the game, to go along with 14 points in 34 minutes.

Ballgame. Indiana 69, Iowa 65.

“That’s the exclamation point for our team in that situation,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean. “That’s just a ‘finding a way to make a play to win a game’ type of situation. I wouldn’t trade [Oladipo] for anybody on finding a way to win with anybody in the country.”

Oladipo has improved in so many areas over the last two years on both ends of the court. But during crunch time on Monday afternoon, it wasn’t his jump shot, his ball handling or his athleticism that helped the Hoosiers (13-1, 1-0) escape with their first win at Iowa during the Crean era. It was Oladipo’s heart and hustle that ultimately pushed Indiana over the top, something he has always brought to the table for this team, even as a raw freshman two seasons ago.

“They’ve been kind of punking us the last couple years, especially here,” Oladipo said. “They’ve been outrebounding us and, basically, just outplaying us. This year, it was kind of the mentality going in here that we were going to take the first punch and play hard.”

Vocal Zeller comes alive in second half

Crean knew he was going to get a productive performance out of Zeller before the team even arrived at the arena. Zeller was much more vocal than normal during the Hoosiers’ walkthrough at the team hotel on Monday morning, and it caught Crean’s attention.

“Some guys, we hear ‘em constantly when we’re going through the other team’s stuff, but he was very vocal,” Crean said. “So we knew he was gonna be a great leader today and I thought that he was.”

Added Zeller: “That’s what you have to do to win on the road in the Big Ten. That’s definitely one of the things I’ve had to get better at, and I tried to make that an emphasis tonight.”

Zeller was vocal on the court, and he was also very aggressive. It was clear from the start of the game that he was going to try to take advantage of Iowa’s freshman center Adam Woodbury. But Zeller wasn’t always effective early.

The sophomore center had two quick turnovers and two missed shots early in the first half, and he had just four points at halftime.

But Zeller remained aggressive in the second half, and his teammates made more of an effort to find him in spots to score. Zeller scored five points in the first 92 seconds of the second half, and he had 15 points in the final 20 minutes overall. He finished the game with a game-high 19 points and 10 rebounds.

“He just kept playing the game. He didn’t get rattled,” Crean said. “It’s easy to drop your head a little bit when you’re missing close shots and you’re not getting to the line like you think you should, but that’s not Cody. His mental toughness is so strong it just doesn’t affect him.”

Crean not worried by Hulls’ struggles

It was a sight Indiana fans aren’t used to seeing: open shots from Jordan Hulls that don’t go in, and lots of them.

Hulls, who entered the game shooting 55 percent from beyond the arc on the season, was 0-of-10 from the field and 0-of-4 from 3-point range against Iowa. He had plenty of good looks and had several rim out, but he just couldn’t get a shot to go in.

Crean, though, was not the least bit concerned about the performance from his star shooter. In fact, he didn’t think Hulls shot enough.

“The 0-for-10 is meaningless,” Crean said. “I thought he passed up about five or six other opportunities that he needed to shoot the ball with. He could go 0-for-10 the next three games and if he doesn’t take the first open shot in the fourth, we’re gonna sit him down. That’s how good of a shooter he is.”

To be fair, Hulls didn’t let his poor shooting impact other aspects of his game. Despite dealing with some foul trouble, Hulls finished with six assists and zero turnovers.

Etc.

· Hoosiers hold down Marble: Iowa guard Roy Devyn Marble entered Monday’s game as the team’s leading scorer at more than 16 points per game. And while he finished just two points below his season average, Marble shot just 1-of-14 from the field. Marble, who was mostly defended by Oladipo, was 12-of-13 from the foul line.

“We’re well aware of what Devyn Marble is doing, we’re well aware what his numbers are like,” Crean said. “No question, we know what he’s capable of. We had a game plan, and our guys did an excellent job with it.”

· Lots of Zellers in attendance: Zeller said his dad’s side of the family had a family reunion in Iowa on Sunday night so many members of his family were in attendance for Monday’s game.

“My uncle bought like 50 tickets,” Zeller said. “My dad is the youngest of 12 so I’ve got a lot of cousins.”

· Sheehey hears chants: At multiple times during the game, the Iowa students began chanting, “Sheehey sucks” when Indiana forward Will Sheehey was involved in a play. He was asked after the game if he heard the chants and whether he enjoys hearing them.

“Yeah, I did. They were classy,” he said. “I don’t mind being the team’s most hated player.”

· Quote to note: “We feel very good about the win. We feel very good about our toughness inside of this game. This was truly one of those 15-round heavyweight-fight games that the Big Ten is full of where you can’t necessarily land the knockout punch and you just want to make sure it doesn’t get landed on you.”

– Indiana coach Tom Crean

  • Kevin Tolliver

    Im thinking Iowa fans still remember Will’s poster dunk two years ago.

  • PDXHoosier

    yep! I usually follow the unspoken rule of not heckling amateurs that aren’t being paid to play, but college kids will be college kids.

  • PDXHoosier

    yep! I usually follow the unspoken rule of not heckling amateurs that aren’t being paid to play, but college kids will be college kids.

  • marcusgresham

    Will Sheehey is very much like Reggie Miller mentally. It’s pointless, if not totally counter-intuitive to attempt to get in his head.

  • Kelin Blab

    I know Dakich said it a bunch tonight but I will echo him. Victor is a PRO! I believe a late first round pro and a team like a LA, SA, or some solid team would get a steal with him. The guy just changes the game on both ends.

  • jermhoosierfan

    Brennan on ESPN.com has a blog out about how Victor is Indiana’s best player. Cody gets all the attention, but he is the guy you can’t game plan for that easily unless you have a guy like him. He has a motor that will not stop like Will’s. This team has balance that is a luxury not many teams have. Victor hounds the glass and sets the tone on defense. In any given game, we have 4 or 5 players that can be the leading scorer. Like Seth Greenburg said at halftime of Mich St. vs. Minnesota, those last 5 games and 3 – 4 potential B1G tournament games will be mentally taxing on the team. I know they will fall somewhere in that stretch. I just hope it isn’t the B1G tournament or NCAA.

  • jermhoosierfan

    Brennan on ESPN.com has a blog out about how Victor is Indiana’s best player. Cody gets all the attention, but he is the guy you can’t game plan for that easily unless you have a guy like him. He has a motor that will not stop like Will’s. This team has balance that is a luxury not many teams have. Victor hounds the glass and sets the tone on defense. In any given game, we have 4 or 5 players that can be the leading scorer. Like Seth Greenburg said at halftime of Mich St. vs. Minnesota, those last 5 games and 3 – 4 potential B1G tournament games will be mentally taxing on the team. I know they will fall somewhere in that stretch. I just hope it isn’t the B1G tournament or NCAA.

  • Dagwoods

    Just don’t tell Vic that. If there’s anyone we need back next year (even above Cody), its Vic.

  • Dagwoods

    Just don’t tell Vic that. If there’s anyone we need back next year (even above Cody), its Vic.

  • sloan screen #45

    At this point in the season VO is a first rounder and the only one on this team right now. I know Cody had 19 and 10 or whatever but he just looks so out of sorts for long periods of time this year. Hopefully he gets it together soon. He is not playing like a national player of the year candidate. Plumlee at Duke is.

  • Ignatius J Reilly

    Oladipo reminds me a lot of Terrance Williams out of Louisville a couple years ago. He’s a rare athlete in college hoops, and a superb D1 player, but I’m not so sure about when he’s going to do at the next level.

    Regardless, this team has a chance to be special, barring injury or bad ref night. But we should expect road games like this in the B10. It’s really like the B10 in the mid80s-late90s – anyone can win at home, even Iowa.

  • Ignatius J Reilly

    Oladipo reminds me a lot of Terrance Williams out of Louisville a couple years ago. He’s a rare athlete in college hoops, and a superb D1 player, but I’m not so sure about when he’s going to do at the next level.

    Regardless, this team has a chance to be special, barring injury or bad ref night. But we should expect road games like this in the B10. It’s really like the B10 in the mid80s-late90s – anyone can win at home, even Iowa.

  • HoosierPat

    Oladipo is the most important player on the team. No doubt. I believe it was Aceman that was saying it on The Minute After, Oladipo looks for the big moment and attacks. He doesn’t shy away from pressure and always seems to come through. I sure hope he says for his senior year.

  • Dick_Pepperfield

    Gresham nails it again. Spot on

  • MPmike

    Why is Indiana only scoring 69 points in this game when they are leading the nation in scoring at 89 points per game? I know the Butler game was in OT, but they at least scored in the mid 70′s after regulation. I thought Crean was going to speed up the game and use his bench more? Why isn’t he doing this?

  • aka Hoosier Daddy

    I do agree that VO is our most improved player it looked to me that CTC had victor bringing the ball up court? Is this due to Jordy not be effective or is it in the future? I still feel CZ and VO will stay but Will sheehey has improved just as much that he will play in the NBA also.Indiana still does not have the killer knockout punch that i feel theyshould have but i was glad to see that CTC player subing selection was much better in this game and hopefully CTC gets better at this.Jeremy Hollowell looked a bit more comfortable in this game than any other hope he improves i see alot of talent and motovation in this kid but all n all not a bad road game plus a win.There are alot of teams emerging as the year goes on IU looks as if they have peaked somewhat they are a good team im not sure there the best in the country though time will tell and they have slowed paced of the game measureably still i love my beloved hOOSIERS and will stick it out come hill or highwater.

  • azhoosier

    Pleasantly surprised by this win….thought they might have a good shot at this one….I thought this was the most important game of the season…remember last year at Iowa they were out of the game early. Might set the tone for the rest of the season.

  • azhoosier

    Sheehey is a ..maniac…in a good way…LOL

  • azhoosier

    Sheehey is a ..maniac…in a good way…LOL

  • Creek

    Well, when Jordy goes 0 for 10 and we turn the ball over a bunch you don’t score as much.

  • Jon

    Um because u aren’t guaranteed to score a certain number of points? Get over it man, we won a road game in the Big 10. Oh wait it minute come back and talk after Purdue gets spanked a couple times to start Big 10 play.

  • azhoosier

    33.3%….17.6% Iowa shooting:

    this tells the story and out rebounded them by nine.

  • azhoosier

    VO and Sheehey are like the Eveready Bunny……keep going….and going…and going……

  • WhatsUpKnight

    tough, ugly win. welcome to this season’s road games in the big ten. get used to it!

  • BangkokMike

    The 2-3 zone was a mess. Weak side still not covering ball side elbow and block. Iowa crushed it.

  • hoosiersfan33

    U forgot about hollowell’s jump shot haha

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Because this was a big ten road game, not Eastern Directional Cupcake State.

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    Every season is about growth, team wise and player wise. That said I thought by the middle of February that the five best players on the court as a unit would be: Wadford & Zellers in the front court, Sheehey on the weak side wing and Olidipo & Ferrell in the back court which teams will have big trouble matching up. Roles will be better defined with Hulls & Abell coming off the bench in the back court, Elkins, Mosquera-Perea, Hollowell coming off the bench in the front court. Olidipo is the best basketball player on the court game in game out on both ends of the court. Each game he learns to stay within his game more and more than when he was a freshman. Sheehey attacks the rim and his offensive player. As for Zellers he just seems weak going up offensively against the body, not sure what it is but it is something, But near the end of this game I saw him exert more physical will on the back boards.

    Now for the good thing, IU won on the road with Hulls having a very bad game. He pressed himself, pressed his own psyche in trying to score and that compounded the situation. Crean will eventually have to make a decision sometime between the MSU and UM game when the above five will get the most amount of time together.

    Finally, Mosquera-Perea really got screwed in that he is still back in November mentally. Crean must work him through January to have him provide some valuable minutes in February and March.

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    Sheehey appears to be in a different place when on the court and not concerned in the least what others from the opposition have to say, he is an attack always player. When he is on the court with Olidipo and Ferrell these three are physically and mentally better than most.

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    forget the stable mentality. Play for this year, this is their life. Olidipo stays healthy and then leaves, Sheehey will step up to the spot and develop while the Hoosiers are already reloading.

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    Cupcake schedule has ended.

  • http://twitter.com/RWNemanich Robert Nemanich

    way to early to worry about a schedule in late Feb, it will come and IU will have to play each game and each possession as it comes, forget what the talking heads imagine…

  • azhoosier

    B1G season started…will be no more…90…100 point games…thats not very hard to figure out.

  • azhoosier

    B1G season started…will be no more…90…100 point games…thats not very hard to figure out.

  • dtfreed

    They may need PJ against MN there center is tough

  • dtfreed

    or maybe Butler did. IU was out toughed in that game and almost in this one, long FG dry spells in both games.

  • dtfreed

    Yeah but we play better when the offense goes through Cody, like the second half, and still everyone else was involved.

  • The Rez

    Hoosier fans are shopping at the Oli-Depot.
    Big Red, Big Man, Big Time.

  • WatchingYogi_atYogis

    Wadford=Watford, Zellers=Zeller, Olidipo=Oladipo, Elkins=Elston; At least you got the easy one=Mosquera-Perea.

  • MPmike

    NO one answered my question about Crean using his bench more and pressing and wearing out teams which he mentioned to do this season.

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