Notebook: Zeller has a big night

After a week without a game, Cody Zeller‘s legs were certainly very fresh. He attacked the boards like a madman against Central Connecticut State on Saturday night, and his effort showed on the stat sheet in No. 1 Indiana’s 100-69 win.

Zeller finished the game with 19 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. Zeller’s previous high of 13 came in an NCAA Tournament game against Virginia Commonwealth last season.

“I think 19 and 19, that’s nothing to sneeze at,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said afterward. “That’s a big-time night. He was very, very aggressive. He was on the attack. It wasn’t like he was given any benefit of the doubt at the rim when it came to the way the game was called in that area. But 19 and 19 is pretty impressive.”

Added Central Connecticut State coach Howie Dickenman: “We didn’t have any answers for him.”

The Hoosiers (9-0) also attacked the glass well as a team, outrebounding the Blue Devils 53-31 in the contest. Junior guard Victor Oladipo, as usual, was everywhere. He finished with 15 points, nine rebounds, five steals, three blocks and two assists in 22 minutes. He also tied his own Indiana record with 20 deflections, set last Saturday against Coppin State, according to Crean.

Oladipo had four big dunks on the night, including a posterization of Central Connecticut State forward Terrell Allen in the first half.

“He got me into the game too,” Dickenman said. “Where did you get this guy from? Fantastic athlete. We tried to find weakness with the Hoosiers and we had a tough time.”

Hoosiers’ defense shuts down Vinales

Much of the talk leading up to Saturday’s game was the fact that Central Connecticut State guard Kyle Vinales was the nation’s leading scorer at 25.9 points per game.

But Vinales had yet to see an opponent like Indiana. When he did, well, it wasn’t all that pretty.

Vinales finished with just seven points on 3-of-15 shooting and four turnovers in 37 minutes. That’s 11 points fewer than his previous season-low of 18.

The Hoosiers sent a host of defenders at Vinales, but mostly it was Oladipo and Will Sheehey who were responsible for locking him down.

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The Minute After: Central Connecticut State

Thoughts on a 100-69 win over the Blue Devils:

I.  Christian Watford has had his struggles finding shots in the flow of Indiana’s transition-heavy offense of late. At times, it’s as if he’s been on his own island hunting for shots to no avail. But Watford was engaged from the onset and actively scoring early in this one. (Tom Crean said after the game he was coming off his best practice of the year.) By game’s end, he’d have a hyper-efficient offensive output  —  21 points on 8-of-12 shooting in just 20 minutes. Watford did have three turnovers, but the speed of this game — Central Connecticut State, a team that can put the ball in the basket, had no issue going at a quick tempo with the Hoosiers  — dictated that mistakes were going to happen. Each team shot the ball on 72 occasions. So the 16 turnovers the Hoosiers amassed? It worked to turnovers on 18.3 percent of the team’s possessions. Not great, but not glaringly worse than the team’s season average of 17.2 percent — a mark that was 33rd best in the nation coming into the night.

II. Because of the fast pace of this one and Indiana’s 100 points, we had some gaudy stat lines. Beyond Watford’s offensive output, Victor Oladipo carried over his strong defensive stand last weekend with another top-notch performance in that department tonight. The junior wing had a career-high five steals and was part of the three-headed monster along with Yogi Ferrell and Will Sheehey that shut down the nation’s top scorer, Kyle Vinales (3-of-15, seven points). (The weird part about it, though? The Blue Devils still had someone go off. Matt Hunter had a ridiculous 40 points on 13-of-25 shooting.) Oladipo also had a number of highlight reel dunks — including this one — on his way to 15 points, nine boards and two assists. It was a dominant performance and one where the potential his game has to translate to the next level was on display.

Cody Zeller pumped in a 19-point, 19-rebound performance. Those 19 boards were a career-high. Indiana was also strong on the offensive boards tonight, rebounding 59.4 percent of them for 22 second-chance points. The Hoosiers also scored 1.31 points per possession. They held the Blue Devils to just .83 points per possessions and an effective field goal percentage of only 38.9 percent.

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HD Video: Tom Crean reacts to win over CCSU

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 100-69 win over Central Connecticut State on Saturday at Assembly Hall.

Watch and listen to the press conference in the embedded media player below:

Select quotes available after the jump. (more…)

HD Video: Oladipo, Watford and Zeller react to win over CCSU

Christian Watford (21 points, five rebounds), Victor Oladipo (15 points, nine rebounds, five steals, three blocks, two assists) and Cody Zeller (19 points and 19 rebounds) met with the media following Indiana’s 100-69 win over Central Connecticut State on Saturday at Assembly Hall.

Watch and listen to the press conference in the embedded media player below:

Select quotes available after the jump.

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Etherington leaves Saturday’s game with “significant” knee injury

Indiana sophomore guard Austin Etherington suffered a left knee injury late in the first half of the Hoosiers’ 100-69 win against Central Connecticut State on Saturday evening.

Etherington attempted to take a charge under the basket, and then went down in agonizing pain as the Indiana medical staff quickly surrounded him.

Indiana coach Tom Crean called the injury “definitely significant” after the game, but said it would probably take until later Saturday night to learn just how significant the injury is.

“It’s gonna take a little time to make that determination,” Crean said. “They’re fully in the process of that. He was in a lot of pain when it happened, so it takes a little time for that to settle down before they can get to the degree of where it’s at.”

After Etherington was loaded onto a stretcher, his teammates surrounded them and shared words of encouragement before he was taken off the floor.

Etherington, an Indiana native, stuck one finger up in the air and received a standing ovation as he was wheeled off.

“When you have a close-knit group, it affected everyone,” Crean said. “And I’m proud of the way that they bounced back because they were really bothered. It wasn’t as much about the win or anything, they were just really concerned for their friend. They’re all close friends.”

Live Discussion: Indiana vs. Central Connecticut State

Video: Devin Davis scores 28 in win over Fishers

2013 Warren Central senior and IU signee Devin Davis Jr. scored 28 points and grabbed nine rebounds on Thursday night as the visiting Warriors beat Fishers 57-54 in overtime.

Inside the Hall was in attendance and we’ve compiled over two minutes of video of Davis in the embedded media player below:

What to Expect: Central Connecticut State

After a week off following their convincing 87-51 victory against Coppin State last Saturday, the No. 1 Hoosiers return to Assembly Hall on Saturday for a 6 p.m. meeting with Central Connecticut State. The Blue Devils (4-3) are coming off an 87-84 win against New Hampshire on Wednesday night. 

The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.

On paper, Central Connecticut State just looks like another easily beatable non-conference opponent on Indiana’s schedule. And mostly, it is. The Hoosiers shouldn’t have much of a problem at all cruising to their ninth win. But unlike some of the other non-conference opponents up to this point, the Blue Devils are very capable of scoring, and scoring in bunches.

They have the nation’s leading scorer in guard Kyle Vinales (25.9 ppg), and they average nearly 77 points per contest. And while the competition hasn’t exactly been the greatest, CCSU has lost its three games by a combined seven points.

So what should you expect to see on Saturday night? Well, the Blue Devils don’t run many set plays. They play more of a pickup style where they push the tempo, set screens occasionally, and try to create their own shots. They also don’t pass the ball all that often, averaging only 12 assists on their 28.6 made field goals per game.

“We’ve really focused on personnel with this team,” Indiana associate head coach Tim Buckley said Friday. “They’re not really about their plays, they’re about their players, and they go and make plays. That stuff’s more impromptu than it is orchestrated.”

CCSU only goes seven or eight deep, and it has five players that average 30 or more minutes per contest. Buckley said he’s yet to see the Blue Devils get tired in a game when watching them on tape, but they’re up for a whole other challenge on Saturday.

“We’ll see how good of shape they’re in tomorrow,” sophomore Cody Zeller said. “We’re definitely gonna push the tempo and see if we can wear them down.”

Vinales is a volume shooter, but he’s also been fairly efficient in several games this season. He’s averaging 20.4 shot attempts per game, shooting 46.2 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from beyond the arc for an eFG% of 53.1. Vinales hits about three 3-pointers a game, and he also gets to the free-throw line about five times per contest.

Don’t expect to see Vinales come out of the game on Saturday, either. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound guard has played all but five total minutes in seven games this season (285 out of 290 minutes), including the additional 10 minutes from the Blue Devils’ two overtime games.

“He can score in a variety of ways,” Buckley said. “He can beat you off the dribble, he can go right or left, he can shoot the pull-up, he’s got a step-back to his game. He does a terrific job of getting angles. When he gets an angle, he’s very difficult to stop.”

Added Zeller: “He’s so quick on film. He was just driving right around guys. He shoots, he gets it off quick. … Not many people can say they’re averaging 26 a game. Actually, nobody. That’s saying something right there.”

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HD Video: Buckley, Creek and Zeller preview CCSU

Associate head coach Tim Buckley, redshirt junior Maurice Creek and sophomore Cody Zeller met with the media this afternoon to preview Indiana’s meeting tomorrow with Central Connecticut State at Assembly Hall.

Watch and listen to both press conferences in the embedded media player below: