INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana dazzled its fans with a first half to remember Saturday. Then the fifth-ranked Hoosiers had to survive a forgettable finish.
The nation’s highest-scoring team produced only seven points in the final 4½ minutes Saturday — barely enough to hold off No. 8 Minnesota’s furious closing flurry and hang on for an 88-81 victory.
On paper, it will go down as just another win. In the film room, it will look like something very different to the Hoosiers.
“A year ago, we’d have been ecstatic with that victory and I want them to enjoy it, but we have different expectation levels now,” coach Tom Crean said. “We have a lot of room for improvement. Where it takes the next step is when players understand they can play better, and I think they do.”
Inside Assembly Hall, the consensus opinion was simple: It never should have been this close.
And there was plenty to critique.
Victor Oladipo scored 20 points and had six rebounds but fouled out after fouling a 3-point shooter for the third time in the game. Jordan Hulls knocked down four 3s, finished with 19 points and four rebounds but had two turnovers and missed three free throws during Minnesota’s closing run. Cody Zeller had 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks, and the Hoosiers vaunted bench went 0 for 8 from the field and finished with only three points.
The mistakes allowed Minnesota (15-2, 3-1 Big Ten) to trim a 23-point halftime lead to 13 early in the second half and a 15-point deficit to three with 19 seconds to go.
“We had a good first half, but we’ve got to come out with the same energy in the second half,” Zeller said. “I thought the energy dropped off a little bit, but we’ll be all right. A win’s a win in this conference.”
It certainly beats the alternative.
The Hoosiers (15-1, 3-0) have now won six straight overall, 18 in a row at Assembly Hall and beat a Top 15 foe for the fifth time in 13 months as all five starters scored in double figures.
In contrast, Minnesota’s 11-game winning streak came to an end with an odd twist. The Gophers’ two losses this season have both come to No. 5-ranked teams (Duke and Indiana) and the only teams to hold the No. 1 ranking this season.
“Indiana’s a pretty good team and we knew it was going to be a battle. The things we knew we had to do were take care of the basketball and guard their 3s and we did none of it in the first half,” coach Tubby Smith said. “We’re disappointed we didn’t win the game because if we put together two halves, we have a chance to compete.”
All five Gophers starters also reached double figures.
Andre Hollins finished with 25 points and four steals, while Austin Hollins and Trevor Mbakwe each had 13 points. Mbakwe also had 10 rebounds.
But the poor start —a half in which three Hoosiers scored 10 or more points and Indiana made seven 3s, forced 12 turnovers and had seven steals — proved too much for Minnesota to overcome.
Hulls got the first of the two key runs started with Indiana’s first 3 of the game midway through the first half. Oladipo followed that with a steal and layup, and when the spurt ended with 5:54 left, Hulls and Oladipo had combined for 16 points in an 18-2 run that made it 34-17. The Hoosiers closed the first half on a 12-2 run, too, extending the margin to 52-29 at the half.
When Smith finally got some extended time to talk to his players, things changed.
“I thought we did the things to help us give ourselves a chance, didn’t embarrass ourselves by folding the tent and heading home,” Smith said of the second half. “We’ve got a very competitive group of guys and that’s what I expected from them in the second half.”
It didn’t take long to see a difference.
Joe Coleman opened the half with a three-point play, sending Minnesota on a 14-4 run that cut the deficit to 56-43.
Minnesota rallied again late, cutting Indiana’s 77-62 lead with 4:37 to go down to 84-81 when Andre Hollins made two free throws with 19 seconds left. The groans could be heard throughout Assembly Hall, especially when Hulls missed two free throws on the ensuing possession.
Had the Gophers gotten the rebound, they would have had a chance to tie the score.
Instead, Hulls grabbed the rebound, drew another foul and made two free throws to make it a two-possession game.
“I feel good, but I know there’s a lot of stuff we need to work on,” Oladipo said. “We’ve got to see what we did in the second half and figure out what we did wrong and correct it because we’ve got some really good teams coming up.”
No. 3 LOUISVILLE 64, SOUTH FLORIDA 38
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Peyton Siva scored 17 points and Louisville held South Florida to a season-low 27 percent shooting for an easy victory.
Center Gorgui Dieng added 12 points and 16 rebounds while forward Chane Behanan had 12 rebounds and seven points for the Cardinals (15-1, 3-0 Big East), who won their 10th in a row. Behanan played just five days after injuring his left ankle in practice and missing Wednesday’s victory against Seton Hall.
Siva meanwhile bounced back from a 2-of-6 shooting effort against the Pirates to hit seven shots, including three 3-pointers. The Big East Conference preseason player of the year also surpassed 1,000 career points.
The Cardinals dominated the boards 49-24 including a 19-6 edge in offensive rebounds.
Victor Rudd came off the bench to score 10 points for South Florida (9-6, 0-3).
NO. 4 ARIZONA 80, OREGON ST. 70
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Solomon Hill had 16 points, including five 3-pointers, to help the No. 4 Wildcats bounce back from their first loss of the season with avictory over Oregon State.
The Wildcats (15-1, 3-1 Pac-12) were coming off a 70-66 defeat Thursday night just down the road against the Oregon Ducks.
The Beavers (10-6, 0-3), who trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half, didn’t give the Wildcats much trouble. Ahmad Starks had 18 points to lead Oregon State, which dropped its third straight.
Mark Lyons added 16 points for the Wildcats, who were plagued by 16 turnovers but made 10 of 25 3-point attempts.
No. 6 KANSAS 60, TEXAS TECH 46
LUBBOCK, Texas — Kevin Young scored 14 points and Kansas beat Texas Tech for the Jayhawks’ 13th straight win.
Jeff Withey and Travis Releford added 12 points each and Withey pulled down seven rebounds in the first Big 12 road game for Kansas.
The Jayhawks (14-1, 2-0 Big 12) trailed briefly early on. They started the second half with a 12-0 run and stretched their lead as the game wore on.
Jamal Williams scored 11 points to lead Texas Tech (8-6, 1-2) and Dejan Kravic added nine points and got eight rebounds.
Kansas got the ball inside often and successfully, getting 28 points in the paint. They also took advantage of the Red Raiders’ 16 turnovers, converting them into 17 points.
No. 7 SYRACUSE 72, VILLANOVA 61
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — C.J. Fair had 22 points, Trevor Cooney hit a pair of 3-pointers to punctuate a late surge and Syracuse beat Villanova.
Syracuse (16-1, 4-0 Big East) has won 34 straight home games, the longest active streak in the nation in Division I. Villanova (11-5, 2-1) had its seven-game winning streak snapped.
Fresh from two straight wins on the road, the Orange played without James Southerland. The senior, the Orange’s second-leading scorer at 13.6 points per game in his key role off the bench, is out until further notice because of an eligibility matter, the university said in a statement released just before the game. He sat on the bench in street clothes.
MISSISSIPPI 64, NO. 10 MISSOURI 49
OXFORD, Miss. — Murphy Holloway scored 22 points, Jarvis Summers added 12 and Mississippi cruised to a victory over No. 10 Missouri.
Ole Miss (13-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) led the entire game, jumping out to an early 9-0 lead thanks to timely shooting and superior defense. Holloway was nearly unstoppable in the paint, making 8 of 12 shots from the field and 6 of 10 free throws.
Jabari Brown led Missouri (12-3, 1-1) with 13 points. The Tigers were without leading scorer Laurence Bowers, who is out with a sprained MCL in his right knee.
Ole Miss wasn’t much better on offense early, shooting 38 percent in the first half, but did enough to take a 31-22 lead into halftime.
Keion Bell scored 11 points and Pressey added 10 for the Tigers.
No. 11 FLORIDA 74, LSU 52
BATON ROUGE, La. — Kenny Boynton scored 20 points and Florida used a 31-6 run across the halves to rout LSU.
Patric Young had 14 points for the Gators (12-2, 2-0 SEC). Boynton’s perimeter shooting and Young’s interior play were instrumental in Florida controlling the offensive end.
The Tigers (9-4, 0-2) stuck around well into the first half before Florida broke a 19-all tie with a 10-1 run to end the half, punctuated by Scottie Wilbekin’s jumper at the buzzer.
Anthony Hickey scored 15 points for LSU, who have lost 4 of 7 after starting the season with six-straight wins.
WISCONSIN 74, No. 12 ILLINOIS 51
MADISON, Wis. — Jared Berggren scored 15 points and grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds, and Traevon Jackson added a career-best 14 points to lead Wisconsin over Illinois.
The Badgers (12-4, 3-0 Big Ten) scored the game’s first 14 points and led by 20 at halftime on the way to their sixth straight win.
It was a stunning performance from a team that scored just 47 in the previous game against Nebraska, but a supposedly slow and methodical team locked into a higher gear and ended the suspense almost as soon as the game began.
Whether they were making 3-pointers, driving for layups, putting back misses or throwing down dunks, the Badgers had their way in this one. They outshot Illinois 49.1 percent to 35.3 percent, making 10 of 23 3-pointers, and outrebounded the Illini 43-24.
No. 14 BUTLER 79, DAYTON 73
DAYTON, Ohio — Roosevelt Jones scored 16 points and Butler extended its best start in four years beating Dayton for its 11th straight victory despite losing its top scorer to injury.
The Bulldogs (14-2, 2-0 Atlantic 10) lost guard Rotnei Clarke, who hit the padded backboard support hard after an intentional foul at 8:13 at the first half and was taken off the court on a stretcher. He was moving his legs and gave a thumbs-up sign as he left the court.
The Bulldogs’ depth pulled them through against Dayton (10-6, 0-2), which has lost four of its last six and fell to 7-3 on its home court.
The Bulldogs are off to their best start since they won 19 of their first 20 games during the 2008-09 season. It’s unclear how long they’ll miss Clark3, who averages 17 points and was hurt on an intentional foul at 8:13 of the first half.
NO. 16 SAN DIEGO ST. 79, COLORADO ST. 72
SAN DIEGO — Chase Tapley scored 12 of his 19 points in overtime, including two 3-pointers and a layup off a steal, and No. 16 San Diego State held off Colorado State.
After Colton Iverson made two free throws for a 65-63 lead 57 seconds into overtime, Tapley re-energized the Aztecs (14-2, 2-0 Mountain West). He made a jumper for the Aztecs’ first field goal since 7:43 left in regulation and then hit a 3-pointer for a 68-65 lead with 3:14 left.
Jamaal Franklin had 23 points, including five 3-pointers, and Xavier Thames 14 for SDSU.
Wes Eikmeier had 22 points for CSU (13-3, 0-1), which had its seven-game winning streak snapped. Iverson had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Daniel Bejarano had 13 points and 11 boards.
CONNETICUT 65, No. 17 NOTRE DAME 58
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Shabazz Napier scored 19 points, Tyler Olander scored 12 of his career-high 16 points in the second half and Connecticut ended the game with a 7-0 run to beat Notre Dame, ending a 12-game winning streak by the Fighting Irish.
After Eric Atkins scored six straight points for the Irish to tie the score at 58 with a basket inside, Ryan Boatright made four straight free throws for Connecticut and DeAndre Daniels added a basket and a free throw to put the game away. The Huskies (12-3, 2-1) are the only team to beat the Irish (14-2, 2-1) at home in the past 48 games dating back to the end of the 2009-10 season. It also marked the third time in recent years the Huskies have ended a long home winning streak by the Irish.
The loss Saturday ended a 17-game home winning streak for the Irish. Last year the Huskies ended a 29-game streak. The Huskies also ended Notre Dame’s school-record 45-game home streak in 2009.
No. 18 KANSAS STATE 65, WEST VIRGINIA 64
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Shane Southwell made two free throws with 21 seconds left, then blocked Gary Browne’s layup attempt with a second left to preserve Kansas State’s win over West Virginia.
Southwell and Rodney McGruder both had 17 points for the Wildcats (13-2, 2-0 Big 12), who won for the sixth straight time.
Jabarie Hinds had a career-high 15 points for West Virginia, (8-7, 1-2). Aaric Murray added 11 points and Terry Henderson scored 10.
After Southwell’s free throws, West Virginia had two chances to retake the lead.
But Hinds missed a wild jumper from 16 feet with 12 seconds left. The Mountaineers got the rebound and called timeout.
The inbounds pass ended up in the backcourt. Browne grabbed the loose ball, dribbled the length of the court and attempted a layup, which Southwell swatted away just before the final buzzer.
No. 19 GEORGETOWN 67, ST. JOHN’S 51
NEW YORK — Otto Porter had 19 points and a season-high 14 rebounds and No. 19 Georgetown broke out of its scoring funk with a victory over St. John’s.
Martel Starks had 17 points for the Hoyas (11-3, 1-2 Big East), who had lost two straight games and scored 48 points in both. There was plenty of offense from them in this game as they continued their great defense in taking a 36-19 halftime lead after being up by as many as 33-10.
Georgetown reached 48 points with 13:36 to play and it had a 21-point lead. The Hoyas’ biggest lead of the game was 26 points.
NO. 21 CINCINNATI 68, RUTGERS 58
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Cashmere Wright scored 23 points and No. 21 Cincinnati snapped a two-game losing streak and stayed unbeaten on the road with a victory over Rutgers.
JaQuon Parker added 11 points and Sean Kilpatrick had 10 for the Bearcats (14-3, 2-2 Big East), who had lost two straight and three of four and dropped from being ranked as high as No. 8 in the Top 25. They are 6-0 on the road this season and that’s good news because this was the opening game of a seven-game stretch with five on the road.
Myles Mack had 15 points for Rutgers (11-4, 2-2), which had won two straight and seven of eight. The Scarlet Knights are 2-2 under coach Mike Rice since he returned from a three-game school-imposed suspension for inappropriate behavior.
No. 24 UNLV 76, AIR FORCE 71, OT
LAS VEGAS — Bryce Dejean-Jones made a go-ahead jumper with 12 seconds remaining in overtime, and No. 24 UNLV held on to beat Air Force in their Mountain West Conference home opener.
Anthony Bennett, the nation’s freshman leading scorer, had 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Rebels (14-3, 1-1).
Dejean-Jones’ bucket put the Rebels up 72-71. He scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half, including two free throws with 37 seconds left in regulation to tie it 62-all. He had five points in overtime.
Mike Moser had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Rebels.
Air Force’s Michael Lyons, who had 19 points, missed a potential go-ahead jump shot just right of the lane with 3 second left in OT.
Mike Fitzgerald led the Falcons (9-5, 1-1) with 22 points, while DeLovell Earls added 10.
No. 25 NEW MEXICO 72, FRESNO STATE 45
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Alex Kirk had 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds and No. 25 New Mexico played without leading scorer Kendall Williams for disciplinary reasons in a rout over Fresno State.
Cameron Bairstow matched his career high with 16 points, including 15 in the first half. Kirk and Bairstow, who made his first six shots, combined for nine points in a 16-2 run that gave the Lobos their largest halftime lead of the season at 39-22.
Fresno State (6-9, 0-2, Mountain West) had cut the lead to 23-20 with six straight points before the Lobos (15-2, 2-0) went on the game-changing run in which six different players contributed points.
Marvelle Harris was the only Bulldog in double digits with 11 points.