BLOOMINGTON – Jordan Hulls started walking toward Indiana’s bench during a second-half timeout when he was stopped by coach Tom Crean.
Crean then escorted Hulls back toward half court and raised his hand. It was a way for Crean to show appreciation to Hulls after the senior scored his 1,000-career point with IU.
Hulls finished with 10 points as No. 1 Indiana defeated Sam Houston State 99-45 in front of 17,472 fans Thursday at Assembly Hall.
I had no idea what was going on when coach raised my hand up, Hulls said. It’s pretty cool to be able to do that, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.
I’m not really into personal accolades as long as the team wins. But it’s a pretty cool club to be a part of.
Hulls became the 44th player in school history to reach the 1,000-point mark. The guard entered the game needing 10 points to get to 1,000. He reached the plateau with a three-pointer with 7:02 remaining in the game.
That kid epitomizes what we’re doing. He epitomizes Indiana basketball in so many ways, Crean said.
And I think people from the past can identify with him and the Hulls family. People in the future can look at Jordan Hulls and see what can happen when you play in this program and you grow up really loving this program.
Most importantly, he impacts our present. And it’s awesome.
Hulls was one of five Hoosiers (3-0) to reach double figures. Christian Watford led all scorers with 23 points, Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo had 18 and 14 points, respectively, and Cody Zeller finished with 13 points.
The Hoosiers made nine three-pointers in the Bloomington regional of the Progressive Legends Classic. Hulls had two three-pointers during a 10-0 run as IU opened up a 12-2 lead.
And then the Hoosiers’ bench got involved, with Watford lending a hand.
Watford was not in the starting lineup for just the second time in his career. The senior forward had started 97 of his first 98 games.
We just wanted to make a little energy change, and he played with as much energy as anybody on the court, Crean said.
Watford entered at 15:19 and quickly went to work with seven points to push the lead to 23-6 with 11:52 remaining in the first half.
I wasn’t really too worried about it. I knew if I gave 100 percent on both ends of the floor everything would take care of itself, he said.
It wasn’t all offense for IU. The Hoosiers held Sam Houston State (1-2) to 30.2 percent shooting.
We did some really good things defensively, Crean said. Energy, toughness, passion – when those three things are combined and they are there, a lot of really good things happen.