By Andy Proffet
Indiana’s starting lineup had just been announced when athletic director Fred Glass walked onto the court.
He thanked the fans for sticking with the Hoosiers through the lean years before this season. Then he gave them something else to cheer about: a two-year contract extension for head coach Tom Crean that will keep him at IU through 2020.
All the top-ranked Hoosiers had to do after that was go out and live up to their billing. They did that, leading practically the entire game in a 97-54 win over Bryant on Friday night.
The Bulldogs (0-1) are in their first season as a full member of Division I and were just 2-28 last season. It showed against the Hoosiers (1-0), who briefly trailed 15-14 before icing the victory with a 34-13 run to close the first half.
After Corey Maynard put Bryant ahead 15-14, he fouled Yogi Ferrell at the other end. Ferrell hit both free throws and IU never trailed again, building a 48-28 halftime lead and cruising from there.
Ferrell had 10 points and seven assists in his collegiate debut, one of six Hoosiers to score in double figures.
Cody Zeller had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Christian Watford had 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, Remy Abell and Jeremy Hollowell each scored 12, and Will Sheehey scored 10 points before fouling out.
Abell had a perfect shooting night, hitting 2-of-2 on 3-pointers and going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. The Hoosiers as a team were 30-of-54 (55.6 percent) from the field and 29-of-34 from the free-throw line.
Bryant was just 20-of-62 from the field and 10-of-17 on free throws. Alex Francis led the Bulldogs with 15 points, Frankie Dobbs added 12 points and Maynard scored 12 as Bryant was outrebounded 46-29.
Fourteen of Watford’s rebounds came on defense.
Crean’s contract extension will raise his annual pay from $2.52 million to $3.16 million. It also includes a performance bonus of up to $55,000 per year for team academic performance as measured by APR, GSR and GPA.
“Tom Crean has done an absolutely phenomenal job bringing Indiana University back to its rightful place as one of the elite basketball pro grams in the country,” Glass said in a press release. “His energy, integrity, ability, passion, industry, vision, and commitment are unparalleled.”