Notebook: Watford’s start fuels IU in comfortable road win

IUJackITH0006STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Christian Watford set the tone with a 13-point first half Monday and the Hoosier defense took care of the rest as No. 5 Indiana set down an overmatched Penn State team, 74-51.

Thanks mostly to Watford, the Hoosiers (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten) were hot early against the Nittany Lions (8-6, 0-2).

Indiana led 44-27 at halftime and despite a sloppy second half that included 13 turnovers, the Hoosiers prevailed easily in front of 9,386 at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Eight of the Hoosiers’ first ten points in the game came from Watford.

“We wanted to get him going. We went to him right off the bat,” Tom Crean said. “That was a big part of our gameplan. And he responded.”

Penn State only led once, 3-2 at the 18:20 mark of the first half, but Indiana would quickly get the best of the Lions, reeling off a 13-0 run from there.

“I just wanted to be aggressive, wanted to get in the paint and get some easy buckets to start off,” Watford said. “My teammates did a great job of finding me and we executed some plays and took it from there.”

Though the second half produced a more balanced score (30-24) and Watford only scored three more points, Indiana had an answer every time Penn State scored. The longest run of unanswered points the Lions could muster was six, and the rest of their runs were no greater than 3-0.

“I’m really proud of our team’s effort defensively, on the road, to come in and hold a team to under 32 percent shooting,” Crean said.

When it was all said and done, the Hoosiers outshot the Nittany Lions 52.4 percent to 31.7 percent, with four starters finishing in double figures.

Hulls bounces back

It’s not like senior guard Jordan Hulls to endure an 0-for-10 shooting night, which he did on Dec. 31 in the Hoosiers’ 69-65 win at Iowa.

As such, the senior bounced back in a big way against Penn State, knocking down four of six field goals, including two of three 3-pointers, and finished with 14 points.

“I was in [the gym] quite a bit, yeah,” Hulls said with a laugh, “but nothing really changed. Those games happen and we were able to get a win – that’s all I really care about.”

Yogi slows down Penn State’s leading scorer

Penn State’s leading scorer D.J. Newbill was shut down Monday, due mostly to the defense of freshman Yogi Ferrell, who stuck with Newbill in man defense for a good portion of the night.

“Oh, extremely happy,” Crean said when asked what he thought of Farrell’s performance. “Yogi’s drawing big assignments. DJ Newbill is really good … and he’s got some serious strengths.”

Newbill, who entered the contest averaging 15.5 points per game, hit just 3 of his 15 field goal attempts and finished with a season low eight points.

Tim Gilbert is a sophomore at Penn State majoring in print journalism and is a Daily Collegian copy/wire editor.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Christian Watford catches a lot of flack. Some of it is justified and some of it is not. I think the first half of last night’s game was one of his best performances and if we are going to criticize him when he deserves it, we should give him credit when he deserves it.

    Watford was aggressive, efficient and absolutely locked in to scoring and rebounding. Seniors are supposed to lead your team on the road and that’s exactly what he did last night.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Christian Watford catches a lot of flack. Some of it is justified and some of it is not. I think the first half of last night’s game was one of his best performances and if we are going to criticize him when he deserves it, we should give him credit when he deserves it.

    Watford was aggressive, efficient and absolutely locked in to scoring and rebounding. Seniors are supposed to lead your team on the road and that’s exactly what he did last night.

  • xCowHoosier

    I still look at CWat as the barometer of how successfull this team can be; especially come tourney time

  • Ole Man

    Crazy question —- This isn’t the first time IU has fallen apart in the second half. Are they running out of gas?
    Tom Crean’s practices, and even his game day run throughs are becoming legendary for their fierceness and toughness.
    Is this catching up with the team in the second half of the games? Thoughts?

  • SCHoosier

    I think they just lost focus with a big lead and an opponent that wasn’t doing much. IU did play hard defense the second half..which speaks to their condition.
    This team is not as deep as everyone predicted..in the front line..so the rotations are going to have to be smart against the contenders..with the starters playing a lot of minutes.

  • dtfreed

    how about the stoppage of play after the Penn State player hit CWat in the junk.

  • dtfreed

    how about the stoppage of play after the Penn State player hit CWat in the junk.

  • HoosierTrav

    We started to see how good we can be when CWat gets going. We are going to need his scoring and rebounding. He’s like a pressure release valve for Cody. Good W. I have nothing negative to say at all. I think as much as we like to critique players play and then say they rebounded well, we should give CTC and staff the credit for making their own adjustments. He had a much better coaching performance in this game than he did in Iowa City.

  • thebighandsome

    Same here! Christian Watford has to bring each game! He will determine our success this year!

  • twarrior87

    I feel like they’ve had more slow starts and big second halves than the opposite. I can’t remember too many other games where they had a sloppy second half. I think you’re reading too much into it. These kids are 18-22 years old.

  • Ole Man

    So are the kids they’re playing against.

  • Ole Man

    Some good points there; especially regarding the depth on the front line.

  • Ole Man

    Some good points there; especially regarding the depth on the front line.

  • Ole Man

    I did like the way Coach “rested” Cody last night. He got his minutes, but at the same time those minutes weren’t “stressful”. That will be important as we get into a more intense part of the schedule and the starters play more minutes.

  • MoyeFacial

    I keep hearing about these intense practices too. Hopefully CTC will start to taper these as the season goes along. And spend more time on blocking out drills… giving up offensive rebounds is by far our biggest problem this year.

  • CreanFaithful

    …who, with the exception of one team, have all gotten beat.

  • marcusgresham

    I can’t see this as an explanation, as most of the ugliness was to begin the second half, when everyone should have been sufficiently rested. They got it got it together and closed the last 10-12 minutes. I’d also be pretty sad to think these guys would be getting worn out at this point, given the amount of minutes the bench is getting. There haven’t been any Ironmen so far.

  • marcusgresham

    Don’t forget this was the same team that had a guy almost get in a fight with Sheehey last year–Colella, who played last night.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Absotively. He’s not our best player, but he’s super versatile, and really inconsistent. If we get a good night from Wat, we are tough to beat.

  • Daburns0

    yeah, I am not impressed with Pat Chambers. He is trying to be this edgy underdog coach, but his team plays too loose and a little dirty. He looks like a little foul-mouthed jerk the whole game. You can tell he is being sarcastic to his own team the whole game.

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