Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

December 2, 2012

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Oladipo lifts No. 1 Indiana to rout of Coppin St.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — There was no time for Indiana to head back to the practice court at halftime.

So Tom Crean and his assistant coaches took to a hallway between Assembly Hall and Indiana's practice facility, Cook Hall, to work on the press the No. 1 Hoosiers would be using in the second half.

It worked.

Indiana forced eight second-half turnovers and harassed Coppin State into 38-percent shooting in the second half of an 87-51 win over the Eagles on Saturday night.

"We just went into that little corner hallway, everybody that wasn't in just stood back," Crean said. "It was more of a reminder, just kind of a focus-centered thing."

The Hoosiers (8-0) didn't appear focused the way they started against the Eagles (1-6), who were playing a No. 1 team for the first time in school history.

Indiana struggled to shoot against Coppin State's zone, missing its first nine shots from the field. It was 9-2 before the Hoosiers' first field goal, a putback by Christian Watford.

Indiana senior forward, who struggled in a win over No. 14 North Carolina on Tuesday, also gave the Hoosiers their first lead of the night on Saturday when his 3-pointer broke an 11-11 tie.

They would not trail again.

Crean felt his team came out ready to go, despite the cold-shooting start.

"They played extremely hard, even at the beginning when shots weren't going, we were having some turnovers," he said. "These guys, they were ready to go. And if they're not ready to go, it shows up in effort, it shows up in your running ability, it shows up in lackadaisical travels and things like that. We didn't have any.

"It was just a matter of time."

Coppin State coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell acknowledged that the Eagles (1-6) were concerned with Indiana's transition game.

"We had control early, but we're a young team, and it's hard to keep that going and maintain that tempo," Mitchell said. "And then coach Crean put pressure on us and that contributed to changing the tempo."

"We didn't have a great start, but I thought we played well defensively the whole game," Indiana junior Victor Oladipo said. "We did a good job of turning it up in the second half."

The Hoosiers know they'll have to contend with zone defenses designed to stymie preseason AP All-American Cody Zeller. The sophomore had nine points and seven rebounds in one of his less significant statistical performances.

"We will see more zone," Oladipo said. "But at the end of the day, we can still get the ball to Cody."

"You look at the zone as a situation to take that away anyways," Mitchell said of defending Zeller, Indiana's leading scorer and rebounder. "We wanted to extend on the shooters, but also make sure we had somebody on top of him, and it worked.

"It worked for a while, but results said we need to do a better job to make it work."

Oladipo and Will Sheehey led Indiana with 14 points each. Watford and Remy Abell each scored 10.

Coppin State came into the game 343rd in the nation in field-goal shooting, and didn't fare much better against Indiana. The Eagles finished 19 for 56 (34 percent) from the field.

"We put a big emphasis on defense from the beginning of the year and throughout the year," Oladipo said. "Defense wins games, and we can't always rely on our offense too much."

Taariq Cephas scored 13 points to lead Coppin State. Michael Murray had nine points and 12 rebounds, his sixth straight game of double-digit rebounds.

Coppin State fell to 1-48 all-time against ranked teams, and 0-25 against teams from the Big Ten.

 

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