Cody Zeller struggles as IU rolls past Penn State
By Andy Proffet Post-Tribune correspondent January 23, 2013 9:52PM
Indiana's Cody Zeller (40) and Penn State's Sasa Borovnjak (21) and D.J. Newbill (2) battle for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Updated: February 25, 2013 1:07PM
BLOOMINGTON — So much for those cold-shooting second-halves for Indiana.
Now, the Hoosiers just have to get Cody Zeller back on track.
Zeller failed to make a basket for the first time in his career, finishing with a career-low two points in IU’s 72-49 rout of Penn State on Wednesday.
Zeller’s previous low for made field goals in a game was two, which he did three times last season and against Georgia this season. He also finished with just eight rebounds, ending his streak of double-doubles at two.
Zeller’s play was indicative of IU’s struggles inside the arc. The seventh-ranked Hoosiers (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten) hit just 9-of-24 from the field on 2-pointers and 21-of-37 on free throws.
“We weren’t hitting a lot of shots,” Victor Oladipo said. “But at the end of the day we were coming back and locking on defense.”
“They are really trying to put themselves in a place where they can hang their hat on the defensive end,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.
One difference came on 3-pointers, where the Hoosiers hit 11-of-20 and Penn State (8-11, 0-7) was just 2-of-15. And another difference was Indiana’s start to both halves, opening with a 7-0 run to start the game and an 8-0 run to start the second half, both fueled by 3-pointers by Yogi Ferrell.
The freshman point guard scored eight of his season-high 15 points in those two runs.
“I was just taking what the defense was giving me,” said Ferrell.
The defense wasn’t giving much to Zeller, but Crean and IU’s players acknowledged the preseason All-America center’s play in other ways.
“He had 10 deflections and rebounded the ball,” Oladipo said. “He might be having a slow night on offense, but he’s doing what it takes to win.”
“It says he’s a really mature young man (when he’s not forcing shots),” Crean said of Zeller. “He knows he can be as aggressive as he wants to be.”
Oladipo led the Hoosiers with 19 points, Will Sheehey scored 12 and Christian Watford added 10 points as the Hoosiers outscored Penn State 39-30 in the second half. The Nittany Lions are the only Big Ten team IU has outscored in the second half this season.
“It seems like everybody in the country thinks we don’t have good second halves,” Oladipo said. “That’s fine, that’s what they see. But at the end of the day, we’re going to do whatever it takes to finish strong.”
D.J. Newbill led the Nittany Lions with 18 points and Jermaine Marshall scored 12 before fouling out. He was one of three Nittany Lions to foul out, with Brandon Taylor and Sasa Borovnjak also fouling out as Penn State was whistled for 29 fouls in losing its 12th straight Big Ten road game.