Indiana holds off Minnesota in heavyweight Big Ten battle
Bloomington, IN (Sports Network) - Victor Oladipo scored 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting and Cody Zeller donated 18 points and six rebounds, as No. 5 Indiana picked up an 88-81 victory over eighth-ranked Minnesota in a battle of Big Ten powers at Assembly Hall.
Jordan Hulls connected on 4-of-7 from 3-point range and scored 19 points, and freshman guard Yogi Ferrell added 13 points and a game-high eight assists for the Hoosiers (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten), who have won six in a row and are now a perfect 11-0 at home this season.
Andre Hollins ended up with a team-high 25 points and hit five 3-pointers for the Gophers (15-2, 3-1), who had an 11-game win streak stopped. Minnesota hadn't lost since an 89-71 setback against Duke on Thanksgiving Day in the Bahamas.
It was the first matchup of top 10 teams in Assembly Hall since Feb. 19, 2000, when No. 10 IU played host to No. 7 Ohio State.
Indiana shot lights out in the first half, connecting on 21-of-32 field goals for 65.6 percent, while Oladipo, Hulls and Christian Watford each reached double-digit figures.
"I'd say we did a good job of moving the ball," Hulls said about his team's fast start. "Our defense is really what got us going. Victor (Oladipo) did a great job on the ball, getting steals, getting fast breaks. Just doing different things on the defensive end that led to our offense, and that's what we want to come in and do and that's what we have to do if we want to keep on winning."
Minnesota also contributed to its own troubles by turning the ball over 12 times in the first half, resulting in 19 points for the Hoosiers.
Indiana turned up the offense in the final 3:12, highlighted by monster dunks from Oladipo and Zeller and a Hulls 3-pointer, which gave IU a comfortable 52-29 lead.
The Gophers fought back to start the second half, cutting the deficit to 13 after a Joe Coleman jumper made it 56-43 just over four minutes in. However, a a Ferrell 3-pointer, followed by a Minnesota turnover and another Ferrell free throw, kept the lead at 17 with 13:42 left in the contest.
Minnesota continued to hang around and a Trevor Mbakwe step-back jumper with 3:31 remaining closed the gap to 11, and on the next possession, Austin Hollins went to the charity stripe after being fouled on a 3-point shot, and made two.
The Hollinses kept things interesting for Minnesota, combining for 12 points alone in the final five minutes. An Andre Hollins trey with 40 seconds left trimmed the deficit to 83-77.
Minnesota finished the game on a 19-7 run, getting as close as 84-81, but it was too little, too late.
"Well, I was proud of the way we hung in there and didn't give up, didn't give in," Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith said. "I thought we did the things to help us give ourselves a chance, [we] didn't embarrass ourselves by folding the tent and heading home. We've got a very competitive group of guys and that's what I expected from them in the second half."
Zeller finished 6-of-8 from the field, scoring nine points in the second half, while Hulls added seven points in the second half -- all on critical free throws.
Indiana made only six field goals in the second half, but went 23-of-36 from the free-throw line.
Watford finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, and shot 2-of-3 from behind the arc ... Indiana shot 50.9 percent from the field, compared to 43.9 percent for Minnesota ... The Gophers finished with 17 turnovers, resulting in 27 IU points ... Minnesota has registered 15 victories all-time over teams ranked in the AP top-5, however none have ever come in a true road game.
01/12 16:11:19 ET