No. 1 Indiana cruises past Sam Houston St., 99-45

Updated at: 11/15/2012 8:05 PM
By CLIFF BRUNT

(AP) BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Christian Watford scored 23 points to help No. 1 Indiana defeat Sam Houston State 99-45 on Thursday night in the Progressive Legends Classic.

Will Sheehey scored 18 points, Victor Oladipo had 14 and Jordan Hulls 10 for the Hoosiers (3-0), who shot 57 percent from the field and made 9 of 21 3-pointers.

Paul Baxter scored nine points and Marquel McKinney had eight for Sam Houston State (1-2). The Bearkats pushed Arkansas before losing their opener 73-68 on the road.

Indiana beat the Bearkats in every possible way. About the only thing Indiana coach Tom Crean could complain about was that the Hoosiers made just 30 of 44 free throws.

The only drama remaining at the end was whether Indiana would score 100 points. The home crowd booed as the Bearkats basically ran out the clock in the final seconds.

Two early 3-pointers by Hulls helped the Hoosiers shake off a bit of a slow start and take a 9-2 lead. Sam Houston State made one field goal in the first 6:30 of the game and fell behind 16-2.

Indiana hit 4 of 6 3-pointers early to take a 23-6 lead and force a Sam Houston State timeout.

Indiana pushed the lead to 30-10 before the Bearkats’ Michael Holyfield, a 6-foot-11 center who was guarding Zeller, committed his third foul. Indiana took advantage inside, and Oladipo’s powerful two-handed dunk down the middle of the lane pushed the lead to 36-13.

The Hoosiers reached 50 points on a 3-point play by Zeller in the final minute of the first half and led 52-25 at the break. Watford, who didn’t start, led Indiana with 11 points in 11 minutes in the first half. The Hoosiers outscored the Bearkats 17-4 from the free-throw line before the break.

No Sam Houston State player scored more than five points in the first half. The Bearkats shot 32 percent before the break and committed 10 turnovers.

Indiana continued to roll in the second half. A beautiful no-look pass from Hulls from near halfcourt found Watford under the basket, and Watford converted the layup to give the Hoosiers a 64-29 lead. A putback one-handed jam by Zeller made it 66-30.

Hulls scored his 1,000th career point on a 3-pointer that gave the Hoosiers an 82-38 lead, and the home crowd gave him a standing ovation. An alley-oop pass from Maurice Creek and two-handed jam by Austin Etherington bumped Indiana’s lead to 98-44.

Indiana also routed its previous two opponents, defeating Bryant 97-54 and North Dakota State 87-61. The Hoosiers likely will get tougher tests when the Classic moves to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Indiana will play Georgia on Monday, then UCLA or Georgetown on Tuesday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)