Published December 01, 2012
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Coppin State's first-ever game against a No. 1 team started off better than might have been expected.
The Eagles kept Indiana's preseason All-American Cody Zeller in check, and led for much of the first half on Saturday night against the No. 1 Hoosiers.
"I think the zone slowed them down some," Coppin State coach Ron "Fang" Mitchell said. "Before we started, we were concerned with their transition and how they get up and down the floor.
"We had control early, but we're a young team, and it's hard to keep that going and maintain that tempo."
Christian Watford put Indiana ahead for good with a 3-pointer at the 9:26 mark of the first half — the Hoosiers' first lead of the game — and Indiana rolled to an 87-51 win on Saturday night.
Indiana forced eight second-half turnovers and harassed Coppin State into 38-percent shooting in the second half.
"We had a lot of turnovers in the second half, and they're long and very active," Mitchell said. "Their press bothered us; it shouldn't have, but it bothered us."
"We just went into that little corner hallway, everybody that wasn't in just stood back," Crean said. "It was more of a reminder, just kind of a focus-centered thing."
The Hoosiers missed their first nine shots from the field. It was 9-2 before Indiana's first field goal, a putback by Watford.
Indiana's senior forward, who struggled in the Hoosiers' win over No. 14 North Carolina on Tuesday, also gave Indiana its first lead of the night on Saturday when his 3-pointer broke an 11-11 tie.
The Hoosiers would not trail again.
Crean felt his team came out ready to go, despite the cold shooting start.
"They played extremely hard, even at the beginning when shots weren't going, we were having some turnovers," he said. "These guys, they were ready to go. And if they're not ready to go, it shows up in effort, it shows up in your running ability, it shows up in lackadaisical travels and things like that. We didn't have any.
"It was just a matter of time."
"We didn't have a great start, but I thought we played well defensively the whole game," Indiana junior Victor Oladipo said. "We did a good job of turning it up in the second half."
The Hoosiers know they'll have to contend with zone defenses designed to stymie preseason AP All-American Cody Zeller. The sophomore had nine points and seven rebounds in one of his less significant statistical performances.
"We will see more zone," Oladipo said. "But at the end of the day, we can still get the ball to Cody."
"You look at the zone as a situation to take that away anyways," Mitchell said of defending Zeller, Indiana's leading scorer and rebounder. "We wanted to extend on the shooters, but also make sure we had somebody on top of him, and it worked.
"It worked for a while, but results said we need to do a better job to make it work."
Oladipo and Will Sheehey led Indiana with 14 points each. Watford and Remy Abell each scored 10.
Coppin State came into the game 343rd in the nation in field-goal shooting, and didn't fare much better against Indiana. The Eagles finished 19 of 56 (34 percent) from the field.
"We put a big emphasis on defense from the beginning of the year and throughout the year," Oladipo said. "Defense wins games, and we can't always rely on our offense too much."
Taariq Cephas scored 13 points to lead Coppin State. Michael Murray had nine points and 12 rebounds, his sixth straight game of double-digit rebounds.
Coppin State fell to 1-48 all-time against ranked teams, and 0-25 against teams from the Big Ten.