BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Victor Oladipo wasted no time getting Indiana’s fans riled up Sunday.
They responded to his energetic play with loud, boisterous support for the next two hours and he responded to their cheers by delivering a performance to remember.
The junior guard finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, six steals and three blocks, leading the seventh-ranked Hoosiers to a 75-70 victory over No. 13 Michigan State on a day Oladipo was already thinking about doing more.
“There are still things I need to improve on, even today,” Oladipo said. “So I have to keep getting better.”
This one will be hard to top.
Indiana (6-1 Big Ten, 18-2) has won three straight since a Jan. 25 loss to Wisconsin. It has won back-to-back games over the Spartans after ending a six-game losing streak in the series. The Hoosiers picked up their ninth win in Assembly Hall over a Top 25 foe during the past 24 months, and their latest victory helped break up a three-way logjam atop the Big Ten. Indiana was awaiting the result of the Michigan-Illinois game to see if it would share the conference lead with the Wolverines or have it all to themselves.
How much did this win mean to coach Tom Crean?
After shaking hands with his old friend, Tom Izzo, Crean walked to the corner in the south end of Assembly Hall, raised both arms and thanked the students for their constant noise. A few minutes later, he was thanking others.
“He (Oladipo) was a tremendous difference from the start of the game. He had a knowledge base that he put into his game as to how he was going to defend,” Crean said. “If you’re not cerebral like that and at the same time, quick, it’s hard to defend like that. But he’s been good. We knew he was going to play well on the offensive end and to take away things on the defensive end, too. And we don’t win this game without Will Sheehey, we really don’t.”
The impact of Oladipo was evident in the box score and beyond.
He was 8 of 12 from the field and 4 of 6 from the line with more offensive rebounds (four) than defensive. Crean also credited him with 15 first-half deflections, something Crean said he’s never seen before. And when Oladipo wasn’t making plays, there were plenty of others willing to help.
Cody Zeller made only two baskets and finished with nine points but scored on a layup with 1:38 to go to make it a two-possession game. He also took a charge with 14.3 seconds left that essentially sealed the win.
Christian Watford finished with 12 points and six rebounds, Yogi Ferrrell had 11 points and a key 3-pointer just before halftime and Jordan Hulls had 10 points and four assists. Most of it was the result of Oladipo and the threat he posed on every possession.
No. 2 Michigan 74, Illinois 60: Trey Burke scored 19 points and No. 2 Michigan never trailed after the opening minutes of a 74-60 win at Illinois that could push the Wolverines to No. 1 in the nation for the first time since the 1992-93 season.
Duke’s lopsided loss to Miami earlier in the week opened the door for a new No. 1 when the AP poll comes out today – and Michigan put itself in position to take the top spot.
Glenn Robinson III scored 14 points for the Wolverines (6-1 Big Ten, 19-1). Nik Stauskas and Tim Hardaway Jr. added 12 each.
Brandon Paul led Illinois (2-5, 15-6) with 15 points but had five of Illinois’ 15 costly turnovers.
Michigan’s Jordan Morgan did not return after leaving early with an apparent ankle injury.
No. 25 Miami, Fla. 71, Florida State 47: Trey McKinney Jones scored 15 points for the Miami Hurricanes, and the Atlantic Coast Conference leaders won their seventh game in a row by beating visiting Florida State, 71-47.
The blowout victory before a capacity crowd was the second in a row for the 25th-ranked Hurricanes, ensuring a significant jump in Monday’s poll. They drubbed No. 1 Duke Wednesday.
Miami (6-0, 15-3) is off to its best start in the conference, alone atop the standings, and is 9-0 at home. Florida State (3-3, 11-8) fell to 0-3 this season against ranked teams.