Second halves haven’t been Hoosiers’ strong suit
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent January 22, 2013 9:06PM
CORRECTS INDIANA PLAYER TO CODY ZELLER (40), NOT JONNY MARLIN (10) - Indiana's Cody Zeller (40) looks for room to shoot around Penn State's Jermaine Marshall (11) and Brandon Taylor during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in State College, Pa., Monday, Jan. 7, 2013. Indiana won 74-51. (AP Photo/Ralph Wilson)
The Big Number
Indiana’s second-half shooting percentage is 38.7 percent in its first five Big Ten games. The Hoosiers have shot 41-of-106 in the second half of conference games while making 74-of-150 (49.3 percent) in the first halves of those games.
It remains to be seen just how quickly Derek Elston and Maurice Creek will be worked back into IU’s rotation as they recuperate from injuries.
Elston played one minute on Sunday at Northwestern, his first game action since Dec. 31, while Creek has sat out the last eight games.
On Monday’s Big Ten coaches’ teleconference, Tom Crean said Creek was available Sunday, but it wasn’t the time or place to give him playing time.
“But that’s coming and that should be this week,” Crean said. “We really would like to get those two integrated back to where they can be an integral part of the game for us.”
Updated: February 24, 2013 6:37AM
BLOOMINGTON — Indiana has led at halftime in each of its five Big Ten games this season.
In all but one of those, the Hoosiers were outscored in the second half.
Give some credit to the opposition, says IU assistant coach Steve McClain.
Filling in for Tom Crean on the coach’s Monday night radio show, McClain pointed to Minnesota’s comeback on the Hoosiers, when IU led by 23 points at halftime but wound up winning by only seven.
“Last time I checked, Minnesota’s got a Top-25 team,” McClain said. “They’re not going to go away.
“I think those teams you’re playing aren’t going to stop. There’s going to be a point where it all comes back, and maybe you miss a few free throws and the game gets a little tight. … As long as we keep being up a lot and have to worry about how we finish the end, I’ll take that every night.”
The one Big Ten opponent that didn’t outscore the Hoosiers (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) in the second half is tonight’s opponent, Penn State.
The Nittany Lions (8-10, 0-6) led briefly, 3-2, when the teams met in Happy Valley on Jan. 7. But the Hoosiers led by double-digits for the final 32:44 of the 74-51 rout.
Even then, the Hoosiers only outscored Penn State 30-24 in the second half.
That doesn’t mean the Hoosiers are taking Penn State lightly, McClain said.
“We’re preparing for them to come in here and fight as hard as they have all year, and they’re going to do it for 40 minutes,” McClain said.
Ross Travis (14 points) and Jermaine Marshall (11) were the only Lions in double-digits in the first game. Marshall had a career-high 29 points in Penn State’s loss to Michigan State last Wednesday.
Penn State has lost 11 straight conference road games since winning at Minnesota on March 6, 2011 and are the only Big Ten team yet to win a conference game this season.
Cody Zeller, who had 15 points in the first meeting with Penn State, has posted consecutive double-doubles with 23 points and 10 rebounds against Wisconsin and 21 points and 13 rebounds against Northwestern. It’s the first time he’s had back-to-back double-doubles.