Welcome to the record books, Will Sheehey.
Indiana’s mercurial sixth man set a team record by hitting all nine of his shots from the field to lead the No. 1 Hoosiers to an 83-55 win over Purdue on Saturday.
The previous best shooting performance for an Indiana player was 8-for-8, done four times—most recently by Jared Jeffries on Feb. 24, 2001 against Wisconsin.
Sheehey’s day wasn’t flawless — he was 2-of-5 from the free-throw line.
“I missed three free throws that were not very good,” Sheehey admitted. “Besides that, I felt good, my teammates found me, I thought I played pretty good defense. Like I said last game, if you play good defense, your offense will come.”
The defense was stellar for the Hoosiers (23-3, 11-2 Big Ten).
Indiana held Purdue (12-14, 5-8) to 37.5 percent shooting from the floor (21-of-56).
Purdue’s freshman center, A.J. Hammons, had 30 points in the first game against Indiana. But with Christian Watford handling the bulk of IU’s defensive effort against Hammons, the Boilermaker had just six points and three rebounds.
“No matter who was going to guard Hammons, we’re going to get him the basketball,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “We have to get him consistent and be able to finish plays.”
“We tried to limit his touches and not let him get deep post-ups,” Watford said.
“The No. 1 thing we wanted to do was put [Hammons] in a situation where we could get in his body more, we wanted to be more aggressive,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “Christian really rose to the challenge.
“He can guard anybody.”
It helps that Watford has Cody Zeller to go up against in practice.
“So he’s used to guarding big guys,” Zeller said. “I knew he could do it. … I think he should do that every game now.”
The victory improved the Hoosiers to .500 under Crean — impressive considering he was 6-21 in his first season at Indiana.
He’s 78-78 now after the Hoosiers completed a second straight season sweep of the rival Boilermakers.
Both victories this season came by sizable margins, as IU followed its 37-point win in West Lafayette with a 28-point victory on Saturday. It’s the first time the Hoosiers have won consecutive games in the series by 20-plus points.
Crean, though, doesn’t think the Boilermakers are that far off.
“They’re a talented team, they’re just young,” Crean said.
Painter knows the Boilermakers need a more consistent effort.
“Sometimes it’s just a breakdown, sometimes it is effort, sometimes it’s a little bit of everything,” he said. “We had some good looks especially inside; we have to convert some of those. It gets very frustrating for them and it makes it worse.
“You throw on top of that, you’re playing the best team in the country, it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Sheehey’s big game might not have happened if not for an injury to Victor Oladipo. Sheehey’s fellow junior hurt his ankle on a fast-break just before halftime and limped to the locker room.
He didn’t come out when the rest of the Hoosiers did for warmups before the second half, but did eventually return to the bench, drawing a standing ovation in the process.
With Oladipo cheering from the bench, Sheehey played 16 minutes in the second half, scoring 16 points in that span.
“I got excited I got to play a little more,” Sheehey deadpanned when asked about Oladipo’s health. “But no, he’s fine.”
Zeller joked about Oladipo’s extended absence, “I beat him in deflections, I’m happy about that.”
Realistically, though, the Hoosiers know they’ll need Oladipo when they face Michigan State on Tuesday night. Whether he’ll be ready to play, no one was sure of Saturday afternoon.
“I would say right now I would go between precautionary and take it day to day,” Crean said of Oladipo’s status.
“Next man up, that’s the way it’s been since we’ve been here,” Sheehey said. “Injuries happen every year, whether they’re minor or major. You really have to continue with the next man up mindset.”
Zeller had 19 points, Watford scored 14 and Jordan Hulls scored 11 for the Hoosiers, who were 30-of-54 (55.6 percent) from the field.
Terone Johnson and Anthony Johnson each scored 11 to lead the Boilermakers.
No. 1 Hoosiers give Crean .500 record in IU tenure
Welcome to the record books, Will Sheehey.
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