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IU discovers its shot late to pull away

Oladipo’s steal, dunk set tone for Hoosiers’ 2nd-half blowout

Associated Press
Coppin State’s Patrick Cole is stuck between, from left, Indiana’s Christian Watford, Will Sheehey and Victor Oladipo, during the second half Saturday at Assembly Hall.

– Indiana started Saturday’s game against Coppin State by missing its first nine shots.

The Hoosiers started the second half on a slightly different note. Indiana junior guard Victor Oladipo stole the ball from Coppin State guard Sterling Smith and finished with a thunderous dunk.

No. 1 Indiana shook off a slow start and defeated the Eagles 87-51 in front of 17,472 fans Saturday at Assembly Hall.

Oladipo and Will Sheehey both scored 14 points to lead IU. Oladipo also had six rebounds, six assists and three steals. Sheehey added six rebounds.

“We didn’t have a great start, but we did a pretty good job of playing defensively the whole game. We did a really good job of turning it up the second half,” Oladipo said.

Christian Watford and Remy Abell each added 10 points as the Hoosiers improved to 8-0.

“They were ready to play. It was just a matter of time because we were getting so many second-chance opportunities,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “The thing that was fun about this was we had to find a way to get the pace going our way.”

Coppin State shot 33.9 percent from the floor. Crean said IU walked through a press it used during the second half in the hallway at halftime.

Coppin State (1-6) took advantage of Indiana’s sluggish start to take a 9-2 lead with 14:41 left in the first half.

“We were just missing shots,” Oladipo said. “I don’t feel like we were unprepared to play the game or we came in second-guessing ourselves or played down to the competition or thinking about the last game. We didn’t make shots.”

Watford ended IU’s early-game drought, making a layup while getting fouled at the 14:27 mark.

After missing its first nine shots, Indiana made six of its next nine to take a 19-13 lead. Coppin State’s Troy Franklin hit a three-pointer with 7:20 to go to get the Eagles within 19-16.

Indiana held Coppin State to just three points the rest of the half. The Hoosiers closed the first half on a 14-3 run to take a 33-19 lead into halftime.

The Eagles got within 37-28 early in the second half.

The Hoosiers responded with a 9-1 run.

Jordan Hulls hit a three-pointer. Sheehey followed an Oladipo miss with a dunk. Abell made a layup and then fed Oladipo for a dunk to stretch IU’s lead to 46-29 with 14:48 to go.

Oladipo’s play on both ends of the court brought chants of “Oladipo” from the crowd.

After shooting 38.5 percent in the first half, the Hoosiers shot 61.8 percent in the final 20 minutes. And the result was another blowout victory.

“We just have to keep fighting and whatever the team wants to bring we have to be prepared and be ready and make adjustments and make adjustments on the fly and continue to roll,” Abell said.

lpope@jg.net

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