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After slow start, Hoosiers use defense to spark rout

Indiana's Will Sheehey (0) is fouled by Nebraska's Andre Almeid(32) as he dunks ball during first half an NCAA college

Indiana's Will Sheehey (0) is fouled by Nebraska's Andre Almeida (32) as he dunks the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)

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Updated: March 15, 2013 1:45PM



BLOOMINGTON — Endure a 10-minute-plus streak without making a basket and still win by 29?

No. 1 Indiana will take it.

The Hoosiers overcame a cold-shooting first half to roll past Nebraska 76-47 on Wednesday night, avenging a loss last season in Lincoln in Nebraska’s first season in the Big Ten and stretching the Huskers’ losing streak to No. 1 teams to 11.

“We kept waiting for the game to go our way in the first half, but no one got discouraged,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said after his team shot just 6-of-19 from the floor before halftime.

The Hoosiers (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) went 0-for-8 from the field during a span from the 18:59 mark to the 8:45 mark of the first half.

“We’re not trying to set records. We’re trying to win a national championship,” Crean said.

His players made note of the 27-18 halftime score, with IU’s advantage over the Huskers (12-13, 3-9) coming from the discrepancy in free throws — 13-of-16 for the Hoosiers, 4-of-4 for Nebraska.

But he wanted his players to focus on defense to set up the offense.

Message received.

“That’s what you should lean on to start with, regardless if your offense is going or not,” Will Sheehey said, noting the correlation between IU’s defense and its offense. “If teams are getting easy baskets, you can’t get the ball out and you can’t run as well. If we get stops, we’re going to score on the other end.”

Not that the Hoosiers weren’t holding Nebraska in check in the first half. But IU opened the second half with a 7-0 run that prompted a Nebraska timeout.

“We definitely wanted to start the second half fast,” Christian Watford said. “We wanted to play our style of basketball.”

And when the Huskers pulled within 39-28 on a Benny Parker jumper, the Hoosiers responded by harassing Nebraska into missing seven of its next eight shots while forcing three turnovers.

By that point, IU led 58-32 and the rout was on.

“They went 6-for-9 from the three (in the second half),” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “Indiana will hurt you if you let them shoot the ball like that.

“The trouble in the second half came with their 3-point shooting and their ability to get to the foul line. They are always on the attack.”

The Hoosiers were 11-of-13 from the foul line in the second half.

Cody Zeller led the Hoosiers with 16 points, with 13 coming in the second half. Watford had 13 points and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season, and Victor Oladipo also scored 13.

The Hoosiers were 16-of-29 (55.2 percent) from the field in the second half, scoring more points in the final 20 minutes (49) than Nebraska had for the game.

“I like their team, they’re going to get better,” Crean said of the Huskers.

Dylan Talley had 16 points to lead the Huskers. He was the only Nebraska player in double figures.



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