No. 1 Indiana destroys No. 14 North Carolina, 83-59

By Max McCombs

For about 17 minutes Tuesday night, Indiana-North Carolina was every bit the fast-paced, up-and-down battle of college basketball heavyweights it was billed to be before a combination speedy dunks and timely free throws gave the Hoosiers a nine-point halftime lead.

After the break, IU delivered the knockout.

Indiana scored the first 13 points of the second half to claim a double digit lead it never came close to relinquishing as IU defended it’s No. 1 ranking with a 83-59 beatdown of No. 14 UNC.

Sophomore forward Cody Zeller led the Hoosiers with 20 points while juniors forward Will Sheehey and guard Victor Oladipo were close behind with 19 points each.

IU staked an early lead with 7 of its first 11 points supplied by sophomore forward Cody Zeller. The teams essentially traded baskets for several minutes to make the score 18-13 in Indiana’s favor before North Carolina rode a six-point run to its first lead of the game at 19-18.

The Hoosiers quickly responded with a three-point shot from senior guard Jordan Hulls, and never trailed after that, though the Tarheels did tie it at 23, 25, 27 and 31 at various points.

Despite a nifty backdoor move for a basket by Oladipo and a block by Zeller that swatted the ball into the stands, IU could not pull away until a pair of free throws by Oladipo – due to a Dexter Strickland flagrant foul – followed by a Zeller dunk tied what had been their biggest lead of the night at six points.

From there, the Hoosiers began to pile it on to end the half. Oladipo contributed another foul shot and a dunk as IU ran its lead to 44-35. All in all, four straight IU field goals were dunks as the Hoosiers closed the first half on a 15-6 run.

Several scoreless minutes started the second period before Indiana broke the drought with a dunk by Oladipo. From there, the Hoosiers simply made shot after shot, be it a Hulls jumper, Oladipo slam or anything in between.

Meanwhile, UNC made just one of its first 15 shots in the second half.

IU pushed its lead well into double figures and above 30, only dropping below that mark late in the game when the lineup consisted mostly of second-string underclassmen and walk-ons.

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