NEW YORK -- The Indiana Hoosiers found themselves fighting to catch up against the Georgia Bulldogs for almost all of the first half. The Hoosiers watched Cody Zeller, their preseason favorite for national player of the year honors, get reduced to a relative non-factor.
But then Indiana junior guard Victor Oladipo's drives to the basket sparked the Hoosiers, and Indiana's long-range shooting eventually took over. The top-ranked Hoosiers stormed back in the second half to top Georgia, 66-53 in the semifinal round of the Progressive Legends Classic at the Barclays Center on Monday night.
The Hoosiers (4-0) will play the winner of the UCLA-Georgetown semifinal Tuesday night in the championship game. Georgia (1-3) will play the loser in a consolation game.
Oladipo scored 15 points and had eight rebounds to lead Indiana. Jordan Hulls and Christian Watford added 14 points apiece.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 points to lead Georgia, hitting four 3-pointers. Vincent Williams also scored 14 for the Bulldogs, who took Zeller out of the game, but were not able to capitalize as Indiana pulled away in the second half.
Zeller scored just six points and had four rebounds for Indiana.
While Zeller was not exactly a dominant force, Oladipo sparked the Hoosiers in the second half after they had trailed for most of the first half.
Oladipo scored seven of Indiana's first 11 points in the second half, helping it take a 40-38 lead with 13:44 left. It was just Indiana's third lead of the game, but the Hoosiers would never trail after that.
With Watford and Oladipo sandwiching 3-pointers around a pair by Jordan Hulls, Indiana then went on a 3-point shooting spree for a 14-4 run to open the gap to 54-42 with 7:03 left.
Georgia led for most of the first half, with Caldwell-Pope and Vincent Williams scoring six points apiece. Zeller was limited to four points as he played just nine minutes, picking up two fouls in the first half.
Indiana took its first lead since the opening minute, 20-19, with 5:43 left in the half, when Watford hit two free throws. But it was short-lived as the Bulldogs soon regained the lead. With Caldwell-Pope hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the final three minutes, Georgia entered halftime up 30-29.
NOTES: Former Indiana coach Bobby Knight, who has had little interaction with the school since his departure as coach, was a broadcaster for the game for ESPNU. ... Remy Abell scored eight points and had four rebounds for the Hoosiers, also adding a key assist as Indiana began to assert itself in the second half. ... Nemanja Djurisic scored eight points and had six assists for Georgia. ... The crowd was predominantly made of up Indiana fans, as the noise level picked up as the Hoosiers finally took the lead.