News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 23, 2011

Hullls' record-breaking FT streak comes to end

IU defeats Maryland-Baltimore County

Andy Proffett
Tribune-Star Correspondent

BLOOMINGTON — The streak had to end sometime.

Might as well happen in a blowout victory.

Jordan Hulls missed a free throw for the first time in 58 attempts, but No. 17 Indiana still cruised to an 89-47 win over UMBC on Thursday night.

“That was terrible,” Hulls said. “They’re free for a reason, but it’s alright, we got the win.”

Hulls’ streak of made free throws was a Big Ten record and the 10th-longest streak in NCAA history. Butler’s Darnell Archey set the record with 85 consecutive makes from 2001 through 2003.

Hulls’ miss came with 4:45 to play in the first half. Victor Oladipo stole the ball from UMBC’s Quentin Jones, passed to Hulls and Hulls found Cody Zeller down the court for a dunk.

UMBC’s bench was called for a technical foul, and Hulls — who hit two free throws earlier in the game to extend his streak — went to the line.

And missed.

Hulls was clearly upset with himself, but the sparse crowd at Assembly Hall still gave him a standing ovation. He hit the second free throw to start a new streak.

When asked if he had ever received a standing ovation for missing a free throw, Hulls smiled and shook his head.

Indiana coach Tom Crean said it was a testament to the fans’ knowledge and passion that they would cheer Hulls for missing a shot.

“I think that bothered him a little bit that he missed that, because he’s a perfectionist,” Crean said. “He was really focused on making this about his teammates after something he cared about went away.”

The Hoosiers will take a 12-0 record into the Big Ten schedule, but had to overcome a shaky first half.

The Retrievers (1-10) actually led 4-3 in the first two minutes, but Indiana led 37-23 at the break despite hitting just 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) from the field, including a dismal 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) from 3-point range.

That changed dramatically in the second half. The Hoosiers hit 12 of their first 14 shots in the second half to build a 73-35 lead.

“It just came down to our ball movement,” Matt Roth said. Roth hit 4-of-5 from 3-point range, all in the second half.

Meanwhile, UMBC lost any semblance of a shooting touch. After shooting 9-of-23 (39.1 percent) in the first half, the Retrievers were only 7-of-27 (25.9 percent) from the floor after the break.

“We didn’t take care of the basketball,” said UMBC coach Randy Monroe. “You have to take care of the ball in situations and you’ve got to take good shots.

“I thought the second half we came out with some energy and we did some good things.”

Just not enough to spoil the Hoosiers’ first 12-0 start since the 1975-76 national champions who went 32-0.

“To be 12-0, I don’t think anybody could have seen that coming,” Crean conceded.

To keep the winning streak going, the Hoosiers will have to contend with another key injury.

With Will Sheehey (leg) and Derek Elston (nose) already sidelined, starting guard Verdell Jones III went to the floor late in the first half with a hip injury.

Crean said he hadn’t talked to team doctors yet, but he thought Jones might have hurt his hip flexor. He said Sheehey and Jones are likely day-to-day.

Elston is expected to return for the next game, at Michigan State, complete with a mask to protect his nose.

Almost lost amid Hulls’ broken streak and Jones’ injury was the play of Christian Watford. After hitting just 1-of-6 shots in the first half, he was 7-of-8 from the field in the second half.

His 22 points pushed him past Isiah Thomas and Matt Nover for 43rd-place in career scoring at Indiana. He now has 979 points.

Watford also had 10 rebounds to tally his eighth career double-double.

Hulls scored 16, Roth added 14 points and Zeller finished with 13 points for the Hoosiers.

Ryan Cook, Jones and Chase Plummer each scored 10 points to lead UMBC.