Jordan Hulls scored 22 points and Cody Zeller added 14 points and six boards as they teamed up to lead Indiana to a 79-66 victory over New Mexico State on Thursday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. BTN.com’s Tom Dienhart writes that when the Hoosiers face VCU on Saturday, a big key for Indiana will be the guards. They must handle VCU’s pressure, limit turnovers and also rebound. Read the rest of Dienhart’s take inside.
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Tom Dienhart’s key players: Jordy Hulls had a night to remember in Indiana’s first NCAA game since 2007. Hulls hit 8-of-12 shots, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, en route to scoring a game-high 22 points. He was one of four Hoosiers in double-figures, as IU hit 7-of-13 from 3-point range (53.8 percent).
Key number: 59.3 percent, the Hoosiers’ shooting percentage. Indiana couldn’t miss against a New Mexico State team that many people thought would push—and maybe upset—Indiana. Not a chance on this night in Portland, Ore., as New Mexico State committed 16 turnovers.
What’s next: No. 12 VCU pulled the biggest upset of the first day of the tourney when it beat No. 5 Wichita State. No surprise, right? The Rams shocked the world by advancing to the Final Four last season. That team lost four seniors; still VCU is rolling—again. Indiana will be tested by the Rams’ frenetic defensive pace that brings lots of pressure and forces turnovers. But VCU is a poor shooting team. A big key for Indiana will be the guards: They must handle the pressure, limit turnovers and rebound. This is a team that lacks great ball handlers. The Hoosiers also would benefit from a slower pace and making sure Cody Zeller is involved on almost every possession, as VCU has no player like him. This will be a great game.
FINAL RECAP: Jordan Hulls scored 22 points and Cody Zeller added 14 points and six boards as they teamed up to lead Indiana to a 79-66 victory over New Mexico State on Thursday at Rose Garden in Portland in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Hulls picked up Indiana (26-8) with three assists, 8-of-12 shooting from the field, and 4-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Hoosiers broke out to an early 10-point lead after a 14-4 run early in the game. Will Sheehey knocked down a field goal that capped off the run by the Hoosiers and helped Indiana lead 35-28 at the half.
Indiana shot 59 percent from the field (32-of-54). Other Indiana scorers in double figures included Christian Watford and Sheehey, who each scored 14.
Wendell McKines scored 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and knocked down 6-of-10 shot attempts for New Mexico State (26-10) in the game. Bandja Sy shot 5-of-7 from the field and scored 12 points for the Aggies. New Mexico State hit 55 percent of its field goals (27-of-49). The Aggies also got a double-digit effort from Daniel Mullings, who scored 10.
The Hoosiers never trailed in the game. Indiana’s largest lead was 21, which came in the middle of the second half.
HALFTIME RECAP: Christian Watford has 10 points to lead Indiana to a 35-28 lead over New Mexico State at the end of the first half. The Hoosiers led by as many as 12 points in the first half and never trailed. Eight Indiana players scored in the first half.
Seven New Mexico State players have scored. Hamidu Rahman is putting together a nice game so far for the Aggies. The senior has six points and three rebounds.
Recap from Narrative Science.
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