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November 27, 2012What just happened:
So much for questions about that No. 1 ranking.
Indiana put on an offensive show in front of a raucous Assembly Hall crowd on Tuesday night, racing past No. 13 North Carolina 83-59 in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
For much of the first half, the game was the up-and-down, back-and-forth game that was much expected. It was tied at 31 with four minutes to go in the first half.
Then IU went to another level, closing the half on a 15-6 run -- made up of four dunks and capitalized by a tip shot basket at the halftime buzzer by Cody Zeller.
The second half was all IU, who outscored the Tar Heels 37-22 in the second session.
What it means:
The Hoosiers had admittedly not done much to 'earn' the No. 1 ranking in the early part of the season. Four cupcake wins. A close game against Georgia. Overtime against Georgetown.
Good, for sure. Nothing terribly wrong. But, the resume was still shallow.
This was an exhibition for the nation's number one team in front of a national audience. The Tar Heels were the fodder.
It was also IU's fifth-straight win against a ranked opponent in Assembly Hall.
How it happened:
Both teams entered the game missing key players -- IU without Hanner Perea, Peter Jurkin and Derek Elston. North Carolina played without third-leading scorer P.J. Hairston, who sprained his left knee in practice.
But the game lived up to its billing as an up-and-down contest for the first 16 minutes.
Then it was all IU.
Zeller led all scorers with 20 points, while Will Sheehey added 19 and Jordan Hulls chipped in 13.
Hulls. Has he been the best player for the Hoosiers in the team's first seven games? Quite likely. Hulls finished 5-for-8 from the field, and added 8 assists and 7 rebounds.
North Carolina did not score a point in the first 5 minutes of the second half. It scored just three points in the first nine-and-a-half minutes of the half.
The Hoosiers stay home, taking on Coppin State at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.