No. 6 Indiana routs Florida Atlantic 88-52

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 22, 2012
Florida Atlantic coach Mike Jarvis knew Friday night's game at Indiana would be a struggle. It was even worse. Cody Zeller scored 24 points and grabbed six rebounds, Christian Watford added 17 points and the sixth-ranked Hoosiers continued their dominant offense in an 88-52 rout over the outmanned Owls. ''I knew it was going to be almost impossible,'' Jarvis said. ''Even if we had all of our players, we don't beat Indiana right now. But I want to get a team good enough where I can come back here and beat their butts. That's going to be one of my goals for myself before I die.'' That would be something given the school's history. Florida Atlantic (5-7) dropped to 0-5 all time against the Big Ten and became the 29th consecutive nonconference opponent to lose at Assembly Hall. What hurt, though, was how the Owls lost. Guard Greg Gantt was the only player to score in double figures. He finished with 25 points and fell four short of breaking Earnest Crumbley's school record of 1,559 points. Only two Owls finished with more than two rebounds- backup Kelvin Penn had six and Dragan Sekelja had five. Florida Atlantic was 19 of 56 from the field, while Indiana shot 61.8 percent in the first half and finished at 50.9 percent despite struggling after Indiana coach Tom Crean emptied his bench. ''This is Indiana baby, this is Hoosier country,'' Jarvis said. ''It's just a great basketball feel and vibe.'' The newest edition to Indiana basketball has been moving along at an efficient pace since Saturday's loss to Butler. The Hoosiers are a combined 64 of 106 from the field (60.4 percent) in the past two games, made 26 of 27 free throws Friday and have won those two games by a combined total of 75 points. And they're playing like a team that intends to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the AP poll as soon as possible. Zeller controlled the inside all night as Indiana held a 41-28 rebounding edge. Oladipo had 16 points and eight rebounds. Jordan Hulls finished with 10 points, and Will Sheehey scored nine, falling one short of putting five Hoosiers in double figures for the second time this week. Even freshman Hanner Mosquera-Perea, who was suspended by the NCAA for Indiana's first nine games for accepting improper benefits from a school booster, delivered his best game, too, scoring four points and grabbing 10 rebounds in 14 minutes - a sign that the Hoosiers could get even better. ''I think we're playing better defense, we're playing better in transition, I think our defense is the reason we do so well on offense,'' Victor Oladipo said. ''We have a lot of weapons, we have the big fellow inside and different players scoring. But when we play defense and we score off turnovers, we play at a high level, we score easy baskets.'' Indiana came into the game leading the nation in scoring (89.2 points) and No. 3 in field goal shooting (52.1 percent). Playing twice in three nights and having some extra time to work on the finer points only helped. The Hoosiers opened the game by going 9 of 12 from the floor and pulled away quickly. Zeller tied the score at 6 on a 15-foot jumper and broke the final tie of the night with a three-point play on Indiana's next possession. Oladipo followed that with a driving layup, Sheehey made a 15-footer and a 3-pointer, and the Hoosiers were off on a 20-2 spurt. When it ended, the Hoosiers led 24-8 midway through the first half. They weren't finished. After a 3 from Gantt, Indiana went on an 18-6 run to make it 42-17. Things went so well that Oladipo even made a 3 off the top of the backboard - a play that prompted Jarvis to walk onto the floor to argue that the ball had gone over the backboard and was out of bounds. Jarvis wound up with a technical foul, but all that did was hand Indiana two more points on the way to a 55-25 halftime lead. The Hoosiers put it away by scoring seven straight points early in the second half to make it 64-29. ''Our guys were locked in. They had a great week, they've had a great year,'' Crean said. ''I'm glad they're getting a break, a chance to go home and recharge a little bit and see their families, and the great thing about it is they're not playing like they need one. Our team is full throttle right now and they're only going to get better.'' And Jarvis already thinks Indiana is pretty darn good. ''I love the way they play and have always been a big fan of Cody Zeller,'' Jarvis said. ''I love the way he runs. You get a big guy to run the way he runs and it just opens so many things.''
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