Tom Crean called a timeout, grabbed Jordan Hulls by the hand and brought him out to the middle of the court.
Hulls had hit a 3-pointer moments before, giving him 1,000 career points. That earned him a standing ovation from the Assembly Hall fans.
Befitting the team-first approach of the Bloomington South grad, he wasn’t even aware what was going on.
“That kid epitomizes Indiana basketball in so many ways,” Crean said. “He thought I was taking him out because he took a long 3.”
“I had no idea why I was getting my hand raised,” Hulls admitted. “I had just shot a terrible shot.
“I’m not really into personal accolades as long as my team’s doing well.”
That they are. The only drama left after Hulls became the 45th Hoosier to score 1,000 career points was to see if the Hoosiers would break the 100-point mark.
They didn’t, but a 99-45 rout of Sam Houston State (1-2) featured little for the Hoosiers to fret about.
Free throws, maybe. Austin Etherington had a chance to get IU’s 100th point of the night, but he missed one free throw and the Bearkats were able to run out the clock after he hit the second.
It would have been the first 100-point game for IU since Jan. 29 against Iowa, and would have earned free Qdoba for the first 100 ticketholders to cash in.
The failure to hit 100 drew a press conference apology from Hulls and a plug for a different restaurant from Will Sheehey.
“I’m more of a Chipotle guy,” Sheehey said.
Free throws continue to be a problem for the Hoosiers (3-0). Christian Watford was 10 of 10 from the line on Thursday night; his teammates were a combined 20 of 34.
Crean shuffled his starting lineup, replacing Watford with Sheehey.
“We wanted to make a little energy change,” Crean said.
“It was odd [starting the game on the bench],” Watford admitted. “I just do what the coaches want.
“I want this team to be successful.”
Hulls is the third Hoosier to reach 1,000 points under Crean, joining Watford and Verdell Jones III.
“It’s impressive,” Sheehey said. “They both bring a lot more than scoring to the game.”
Indeed, the Hoosiers as a whole showed their defensive prowess. For the second straight game, the Hoosiers never trailed, and the Bearkats shot just 30.2 percent (16 for 53) from the field.
Five Hoosiers scored double-digit points: Watford, Sheehey (18), Victor Oladipo (14), Cody Zeller (13) and Hulls (10).
Zeller hasn’t practiced for several days because he’s been sick, Crean said, and Jeremy Hollowell would have started in his place.
None of the Bearkats scored in double figures, but three players fouled out. Sam Houston State was whistled for 31 fouls, compared to 12 for the Hoosiers.