BLOOMINGTON – Meyers Leonard stood near Indiana's basket, dazed.
The 7-foot-1 Illinois center had just collided with Cody Zeller after fouling Indiana's 6-foot-11 forward early in the second half Thursday at Assembly Hall.
Zeller and Hoosier would eventually knock out the Illini. Zeller scored 22 points, leading No. 23 Indiana to an 84-71 victory.
Zeller's basket, while getting fouled by Leonard, capped a 12-2 Hoosiers' run.
Indiana trailed the Illini 44-42, but then scored 12 of the game's next 14 points.
Zeller started the spurt with a basket. Jordan Hulls, who had 15 points, made a jumper. Hulls answered a dunk by Illinois' Myke Henry by making a three-pointer to give IU a 49-46 lead.
Zeller then scored while getting fouled. He added the free throw to stretch the lead to 52-46. Zeller scored while making contact with Leonard, extending the lead to 54-46 with 15:24 remaining.
The Illini were stunned but didn't go away. Brandon Paul made 1 of 2 free throws to draw Illinois within 57-55 with 10:58 to go. Hulls then made a three-pointer to stretch the lead to 60-55.
IU later used an 11-2 run to build a 73-61 lead. Christian Watford made a three-pointer to give the Hoosiers the 12-point lead with 5:44 to go. Watford finished with 18 points. Victor Oladipo also scored 18 points.
Indiana (19-6, 7-6 Big Ten) maintained the comfortable lead the rest of the way.
Much of the pregame attention went to the team's two big men, Zeller and Leonard.
And both performed well. Leonard battled foul trouble in the second half and finished with 17 points. He fouled out with 3:09 remaining. D.J. Richardson led the Illini (16-8, 5-6) with 19 points.
Leonard scored seven points for the Illini during a 12-4 lead. He completed a three-point play with a free throw to give Illinois its first lead, 14-13, with 13:52 left in the first half. His dunk extended the lead to 16-13. Leonard had 15 points in the half.
Back-to-back threes by Watford and Matt Roth gave Indiana a 32-29 lead with 4:11 left in the half.
Richardson made his third three-pointer of the half to tie the game at 32 with 3:45 to go.
Zeller made two free throws to give the Hoosiers a 36-34 lead. Zeller went 6 of 6 from the foul line in the half. The Hoosiers were 16 of 16 from the free-throw line.
IU went to halftime leading 38-36. Zeller provided the scoring punch to help the Hoosiers pull away in the second half.
Notes: Indiana played its second game without Verdell Jones III. The senior guard is recovering from a shoulder injury. … Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell earned a spot on the West roster for the McDonald's All-American game. Ferrell, out of Park Tudor, was ranked the No. 17 recruit nationally when he signed, according to Rivals.com.