Creek Comes Alive, Spurs 67-54 Victory

The Evansville Aces were right on top of the Hoosiers for 20 minutes Sunday afternoon, but sophomore Maurice Creek led a second half uprising to put away the visitors in impressive fashion. The 6-foot-5 sharpshooter scored 12 of his 19 points in rapid fire action during the first two minutes of the second half to lead what would become a 31-8 scoring run that the Aces could not answer.

The Evansville Aces were right on top of the Hoosiers for 20 minutes Sunday afternoon, but sophomore Maurice Creek led a second half uprising to put away the visitors in impressive fashion. The 6-foot-5 sharpshooter scored 12 of his 19 points in rapid fire action during the first two minutes of the second half to lead what would become a 31-8 scoring run that the Aces could not answer. The 67-54 win improved the Hoosiers to 4-0 on the young season, marking their first such run to an open a season since 2007.

"What we are learning is that to win at this level against anybody is very hard to do," said Crean. "When you earn it like our guys did today it's a great feeling and now we'll get to turn right back around and do it again."

The opening half saw the visitors get out to an early advantage thanks to a bevy of Hoosier fouls and costly turnovers from the home team. Indiana big men Christian Watford and Bobby Capobianco both collected their third foul before four minutes had passed in the game and center Tom Pritchard was saddled with his third later in the opening half. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers bugaboo continued to be taking care of the ball as 11 early turnovers helped Evansville stay in the lead. Reigning Mid-Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Colt Ryan's three-pointer from the wing gave the Aces their biggest lead of the half at 28-21 and helped them take a 31-25 advantage into the locker room.

"I think they stuck with their game plan in the first half and we didn't stay with ours," Crean said.

Creek made sure the troubles didn't extend to the second half as he hit two deep 3's in the opening 90 seconds and then was fouled on his next attempt. The Maryland native calmly sank all three of his free throws to give the Hoosiers their first lead since early in the game at 40-39. Moments later he connected on his third three-pointer of the half and Assembly Hall erupted in cheers. It was all the momentum the Hoosiers needed to push the lead to even greater heights and put the Aces in their rear view mirror for good.

"I think the fact that we had some very good runs inside this game especially from I think the 16 to the 8 minute mark and the 16 to the 5 minutes mark said a lot about our defensive," said IU Coach Tom Crean. Junior Verdell Jones had a solid game finishing with 18 points, three assists, and three steals, including scoring his team's first eight points. The combo guard, however, also led his team in turnovers again with four miscues.

Watford would finish with just 12 points, down from his season average of 19 due to early foul trouble. His absence was mitigated though by a strong effort from senior Tom Pritchard, who finished with a career-high five blocks, eight points, and eight rebounds.

"He did an excellent job," said Crean. "We've seen that the last couple of days in practice as well. He had 12 deflections and a plus 12 on the day for the plus-minus. So that's very good. He did some excellent things there. And he played through foul trouble as well."

Overall the Hoosiers held just a 28-26 rebounding advantage, but their solid shooting made the difference in the game. The Hoosiers shot 53 percent for the game and 40 percent from behind the arc on 10 attempts. Meanwhile, they held the Aces to 38 percent shooting for the game and forced 18 turnovers. Leading scorer Ryan, who would finish with 15 points, connected on just 5-12 from the field.

The Hoosiers (4-0) now turn their attention to a home game against North Carolina Central on Tuesday night. It will mark the Hoosiers fifth home game in two weeks as they look to keep their perfect non-conference home record intact.

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