BLOOMINGTON, IN - DECEMBER 21: Jordan Hulls #4 of the Indiana Hoosiers shoots and Andre Mattison #4 of the Florida Atlantic Owls battle for a loose ball during the game at Assembly Hall on December 21, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON — Indiana shouldn’t have to devote any practice time to free throws before its next game. The Hoosiers had plenty of chances at the line in Friday night’s 88-52 win over Florida Atlantic.
Indiana (11-1) was 26-of-27 from the free-throw line, with the only miss coming off the hands of Cody Zeller. He still finished with 24 points, going 12-of-13 from the line.
The 96.3 free-throw percentage was the best ever for IU in a game in which the Hoosiers missed a free throw. The Hoosiers have three games all-time when they didn’t miss a free throw; in 1964, ’88 and 2011.
“He took some serious ribbing (for the miss),” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.
Still, it was Zeller who sparked IU’s rally from an early deficit to the Owls (5-7). He tied the game at 6-6 with a jumper, then stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for a layup and foul to put IU ahead for good.
“I did want to be aggressive,” Zeller said. “I felt like I could drive more on their personnel.”
Indeed, Zeller forced FAU’s starting center, Dragan Sekelja, to foul out with 14:58 remaining in the game. The Owls picked up their 10th foul of the second half with 14:36 to play.
“I have always been a big fan of Cody Zeller,” FAU coach Mike Jarvis said. “I love the way he runs. You get a big guy to run the way he runs, it just opens up so many things.”
Jarvis picked up a technical foul when he was arguing that a 3-pointer by Victor Oladipo hit the top of the backboard before falling in.
“Tonight was tough. I felt a little bit like David going after Goliath tonight,” Jarvis said. “Even if we had all our players, we don’t beat Indiana right now, but I want to get a team good enough where I can come back here and beat their butts.
“That’s going to be one of my goals for myself before I die.”
Christian Watford (17 points), Oladipo (16) and Jordan Hulls (10) also reached double-figure scoring for the Hoosiers, who also got 10 rebounds and four points from Hanner Mosquera-Perea.
“That was the quickest 10 rebounds I’ve ever seen,” Zeller said.
Peter Jurkin, who served a nine-game suspension with Mosquera-Perea for receiving improper benefits, made his season debut, although it was a short one: only four minutes, with one missed field goal.
The Hoosiers were without Jeremy Hollowell for a second straight game. Crean read a prepared statement that said Hollowell was “dealing with a personal and a private matter that is in no way related to academic behavior or disciplinary issues. He has our full support as we look for a quick resolution. Out of respect for he and his family, we will not discuss it any further.”
Greg Gantt was the only Owl to score in double figures; he had 25 points, leaving him four shy of becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer.
“It’s nice to see him have a night like this against a team like this,” Jarvis said.