No. 5 Indiana holds on to beat no. 8 Minnesota

By Max McCombs

Indiana Daily Student, Indiana U. via UWIRE

No. 5 Indiana holds on to beat no. 8 Minnesota

Turnovers and fouls nearly derailed a 23-point halftime lead, but No. 5 Indiana hung on to come away with an 88-81 win against No. 8 Minnesota.

Senior guard Jordan Hulls had 19 points and iced the game for IU with multiple trips to the line in the final minutes. Junior guard Victor Oladipo led IU with 20 points.

As has seemingly become routine in games this season, the game stayed close in the early going. IU controlled the board in the opening minutes, but 3-point jumpers by Minnesota’s Andre Hollins kept it even until other Gopher’s found their touch on layups.

IU responded by feeding the ball inside to sophomore forward Cody Zeller. Though he passed out to open teammates on several occasions, Zeller still scored 6 of IU’s first 14 points.

Minnesota pulled within a single point at 16-15 before one of IU’s customary scoring sprees began, starting with 10 straight IU points.

After an early miss, Hulls hit several 3-pointers, including one from several feet beyond the arc. He finished with four 3-pointers by halftime.

In other cases, the defense forced turnovers that bred quick offense for IU. At one point, Zeller reached out his long arm to steal a pass and start a fast break.

Moments later, Oladipo seemingly barreled through a Minnesota ball handler, emerging with the ball on his way to a score.

IU closed the half on an 36-14 run overall during the final 11:03 to enter the half leading 52-29.

Much as IU fed off its defense in the firs thalf, Minnesota took advantage of four IU turnovers early in the second period to cut its deficit to 13.

The game’s pace changed as the second half wore on as Minnesota dictated more half court sets. When IU had the ball, Minnesota often had a defender on the IU point guard before he reached half court.

The referees were more active as well, further slowing down the half. After only nine toal fouls called in the first half, it took just 6:54 to reach that mark in the second.

IU could not capitalize on its chances from the line, though, shooting 26-of-40 for the game, a regression after improved play on free throws.

This allowed Minnesota to continue to chip away at the lead. With 5:55 remaining, the Hoosier lead was down to 12. By the 2:48 mark, it was down to nine, single digits for the first time in just under 25 minutes.

A Minnesota steal threatened to make it a two-possession game before an Oladipo rebound and two timely free throws made it a 10-point game once again and appeared to ice the win for IU.

However, two more 3-pointers by the Gophers, including Hollins’ fifth, and several fouls against IU near the Minnesota basket sliced the lead all the way down to four.

Hulls hit one of two free throws, but a controversial foul call on IU with 19.5 seconds remaining allowed Minnesota to pull within three points. Free throws by Hulls and Watford finally iced the win for IU.

Read more here: http://www.idsnews.com/news/story.aspx?id=90406
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