Fast start sends No. 1 Indiana past Purdue 83-55
Will Sheehey comes off the bench for Indiana, but coach Tom Crean has often said he considers him a starter.
He showed why on Saturday. The junior forward scored a career-high 22 points to help No. 1 Indiana defeat Purdue 83-55 on Saturday afternoon.
Sheehey, who averages 10 points per game, set a school record for field-goal percentage by making all nine of his shots.
"I felt good," Sheehey said. "My teammates found me. I got excited I got to play a little more. You see a couple shots go in the hoop, your confidence goes up."
The outburst didn't surprise Crean because Sheehey puts in the work.
"He played outstanding," Crean said. "He's got the edge and all that, but he epitomizes a student of the game. He could run our walkthroughs. That's how locked in he is."
Cody Zeller had 19 points and nine rebounds, Christian Watford scored 14 points and Jordan Hulls added 11 for the Hoosiers (23-3, 11-2 Big Ten), who won their third in a row. Indiana shot 56 percent from the field overall and 62 percent in the second half.
Indiana's Victor Oladipo sprained his left ankle late in the first half and did not play in the second half. He is Indiana's No. 2 scorer and the team's top perimeter defender. Crean said he's not sure if Oladipo will be ready for Tuesday's showdown at Michigan State.
"I would go from precautionary to day-to-day," Crean said. "It's wait-and-see. He wanted to go back in, but we just weren't going to do that. None of us felt medically it was the best thing to do. I think he's going to be OK. It's wishful thinking to think he's going to play. We'll see how the next 36 hours play out."
Terone Johnson and Anthony Johnson each scored 11 points for Purdue (12-14, 5-8), which has lost three straight and five of six.
Purdue eight-year coach Matt Painter said it's the most frustrated he has been during his tenure at the school.
"Yes, no doubt about it, because we have the talent," he said. "We don't have the toughness, and we've got to get guys who will live in the gym."
Purdue's A.J. Hammons, a 7-foot center who scored 30 points in the previous meeting, mostly against Zeller, finished with six points on 3-for-10 shooting. Watford guarded him this time, with Zeller helping.
Zeller appreciated Watford's effort.
"He was great," Zeller said. "I knew he could do it. It kept me out of foul trouble."
The Hoosiers won the first game 97-60 on Jan. 30 in West Lafayette. It was the biggest blowout in the series in more than 20 years, and the rematch was nearly as bad.
Indiana led by 12 at halftime. A putback dunk by Zeller pushed Indiana's lead to 46-31.
Hammons didn't score until he made a bucket with 13:35 remaining. A 3-pointer by Sheehey and a jumper by Maurice Creek pushed Indiana's lead to 70-44, and the Hoosiers led by 34 on two occasions in the second half.
Indiana took control immediately. Watford scored eight points in the first 3:34 to give Indiana an 8-2 lead.
Zeller got loose on a runout for a dunk to increase the Hoosiers' lead to 14-5 and force Purdue to call its second timeout before the 5-minute mark.
Hulls made a 3-pointer and Purdue's Sandi Marcius was called for a foul on the play. On the extra possession, Sheehey scored to give Indiana a 19-8 lead.
Back-to-back threes by Watford and Hulls pushed the margin to 29-14, and the lead swelled to 19 points before Purdue closed the half strong. A layup and a jumper by Terone Johnson cut Indiana's lead to 33-20 and forced Indiana to call a 30-second timeout. Ronnie Johnson's bank shot cut Indiana's lead to 41-29 at the break.
Purdue fell apart in the second half.
"There's no doubt you're frustrated," Painter said. "We just have to do a better job of maintaining that consistent effort. Sometimes it's just a breakdown, sometimes it is an effort thing, sometimes it's a little bit of everything."
Notes: This was the 200th meeting between the in-state rivals. Purdue leads the series 112-88. ... Purdue has never beaten a No. 1 team on the road. ... Hammons leads the Big Ten in blocks during conference play. ... Purdue's Rapheal Davis replaced Donnie Hale in the starting lineup. Hale had started the previous two games. Davis fouled out with four points in 17 minutes. Hale went scoreless in eight minutes. ... Purdue's D.J. Byrd fouled out with six points on 2-for-7 shooting.
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