FAU-Indiana Preview

The Associated Press

Indiana didn't have much difficulty getting back on track following its first loss of the season.

The Hoosiers aren't likely to get much of a test from Florida Atlantic, either.

No. 6 Indiana tries for a 16th consecutive home victory Friday night in its first-ever matchup against the Owls.

After opening as the top-ranked team in the country and mostly cruising though the season's first five weeks, Indiana (10-1) dropped five spots in the latest AP poll following an 88-86 overtime loss to Butler on Saturday.

While the disappointment could have lingered, the Hoosiers appear to have moved on pretty quickly. Cody Zeller and Will Sheehey scored 16 points apiece to lead five players in double figures Wednesday as Indiana blew by Mount St. Mary's 93-54.

Indiana held a 41-18 rebounding edge and shot a whopping 70.6 percent from the field - the fourth-highest mark in school history.

"I was really proud of our team in the way that they responded. When you come off a tough loss it creates a different level of urgency in your team," coach Tom Crean said. "... But your team just has to keep moving forward no matter what and I thought our guys did an excellent job."

The Hoosiers have become accustomed to dominating visitors at Assembly Hall, where they've put together 15 straight victories by an average of 26.5 points. Indiana has also won 28 consecutive home games against non-conference foes dating to 2009.

That doesn't bode well for Florida Atlantic (5-6), which has dropped four of five on the road this season - including an 80-56 loss at then-No. 11 North Carolina on Nov. 11. The Owls have had a hard time keeping up against Top 25 opponents, dropping their last 11 such matchups by an average of 28.3 points.

FAU heads to Bloomington hoping to avoid a season-worst third consecutive loss after falling 81-56 at Dayton on Saturday and 69-68 to Stetson on a last-second basket Tuesday. Guard Greg Gantt, whose average of 21.5 points ranks among top 10 nationally, scored 23 but shot 8 of 25.

Though the Owls won't have to face Maurice Creek due to a right foot injury, Hoosiers forward Derek Elston may see more minutes after playing nine in his season debut Wednesday. The senior reserve missed the first 10 games following offseason knee surgery.

"He brings multiple things on and off the court that we appreciate," Sheehey said. "He has been working very hard to get back. I believe that he is ahead of schedule. We just want him to keep progressing."

FAU could also have its hands full with freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell, who ranks second in the Big Ten with 5.1 assists per game. He dished out a season-high nine against Mount St. Mary's.

"He just does a fantastic job of finding people," Crean said. "He has been incredibly consistent in his 11 college games and his demeanor, his attitude, his improvement level, his becoming a two-way player have all been great while never getting away from being able to find the open player."

While the Hoosiers are the highest-scoring team in the country with 89.2 points per game, they're also holding opponents to an average of just 59.9 on 36.3 percent shooting.

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