Oladipo leads No. 20 Indiana past PurdueBy CLIFF BRUNT, AP Sports Writer Saturday, Feb 4, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP)—Finally.
After years of watching Purdue challenge for Big Ten titles, play in NCAA Tournaments and send players to the NBA, Indiana beat its rival for the first time since 2008.
Victor Oladipo scored a career-high 23 points to help No. 20 Indiana defeat the Boilermakers 78-61 on Saturday night and break a five-game losing streak in the series.
“This win is huge,” Oladipo said. “We learned tonight to make better decisions and be poised when the game is on the line.”
It was a personal triumph for Oladipo as well.
“I was patient and let the game come to me,” the guard said. “I haven’t always done that.”
Cody Zeller had 16 points and eight rebounds and freshman Remy Abell scored a season-best 13 points for the Hoosiers (18-6, 6-6 Big Ten).
Verdell Jones III, one of Indiana’s primary ballhandlers, missed the game with a shoulder injury. Even down a player on the road, the Hoosiers outrebounded the Boilermakers 53-35 and held them to 29.6 percent shooting.
“Our guys did an excellent job of understanding that if you’re going to beat a really good team on the road, you’ve got to have great resolve, you’ve got to have toughness, you’ve got to get to the foul line, you’ve got to have a rebounding mindset and you’ve got to communicate,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “I’m proud of the way that they played.”
Purdue coach Matt Painter couldn’t say the same.
“I thought they were quicker to the basketball, and to me, it looked like it meant more to them,” he said. “Just right from the start, you could see guys’ facial expressions, you could see guys’ body language. I thought they (the Hoosiers) were more engaged.”
The Hoosiers had lost five of their previous seven games, but claimed just their fourth road win of the season.
Robbie Hummel had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks to lead Purdue. The senior came up limping after he went to the ground in the final minutes, but he played through it. He missed last season with a torn ACL in his right knee. After the game, he said he was fine.
D.J. Byrd scored 15 points and Kelsey Barlow added 12 for the Boilermakers (15-8, 5-5).
Purdue seniors Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith lost to the Hoosiers for the first time in their careers.
The Boilermakers led 13-8 on a dunk by Jacob Lawson, but Indiana scored the next 13 points to give the Hoosiers a 21-13 lead. A 3-pointer by Will Sheehey gave Indiana a 31-22 lead, and the Hoosiers extended their advantage to 33-22 at halftime.
Purdue shot 20 percent from the field in the first half and missed all 11 of its 3-point tries. The Boilermakers didn’t have a turnover before the break, but the Hoosiers beat them 34-22 on the boards.
Purdue started off hot in the second half, but Indiana rallied. A layup by Abell in traffic pushed the Hoosiers’ lead to 52-43 with just over 12 minutes to go.
A bucket by Hummel cut Indiana’s lead to 58-53. The Boilermakers had a chance to cut their deficit to two points when Hummel stole the ball and Jackson drove hard for a layup. Sheehey blocked his shot from behind, Indiana’s Christian Watford rebounded and he was fouled. He made both free throws to give the Hoosiers a 67-61 lead with 2:15 remaining.
“If we could have made that play at the end when we were down four and they ended up losing, it would have been a shame because they deserved to win the game,” Painter said. “They were tougher than us, they were quicker to the basketball.”
Abell’s 3-pointer with 1:27 remaining pushed Indiana’s lead to 70-61. His previous career high was nine points.
“He is going to be a big part of the rest of our season because his improvement level has continued to rise and his confidence level has been rewarded for that because of the way he’s improved,” Crean said.
Purdue fans and players were upset with the officiating throughout. Painter said the game was called fairly, and Indiana was rewarded for being more aggressive. Indiana outscored Purdue 29-14 from the foul line.
“We just got behind plays, and when you get behind plays, you’re going to foul more,” he said.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cliffbruntap
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