Hoosiers Roll Into Las Vegas Semis

Christian Watford led Indiana with 22, but everyone did a little bit in the Hoosiers' 102-60 win over South Carolina State Sunday afternoon at Assembly Hall...

A relatively slow start gave way to a fantastic finish for the Hoosiers Sunday.

Trailing South Carolina State 31-30 with five minutes remaining in the first half, Indiana put together separate 20-4 and 26-5 runs to bury the visitors 102-60 in front of an announced crowd of 12,795 at Assembly Hall.

With the win, Indiana advances to the semifinals of the Las Vegas Classic and will now play Northern Iowa on Wednesday in Las Vegas. The other semifinal will pit Steve Alford's New Mexico squad against Colorado, with the winners squaring off Dec. 23.

Indiana heads into the Las Vegas event on a high, with the 42-point spread Sunday afternoon representing the biggest blowout of the Tom Crean era. The 102 points, meanwhile, is the most an IU team has scored since 2005.

Those benchmarks seemed unlikely after the Hoosiers' slow start, but the tide changed quickly in the closing minutes of the first half and then throughout the game's final 20 minutes.

""I thought this was maybe the best 25 minutes of basketball we have played," Crean said. "It's a very, very good win and very satisfying in the sense that so many people contributed in so many positive ways and the game was won on defense. We were able to get our bench points, our points in the paint - all those types of things - because our defensive intensity and energy set the tempo for the game."

Christian Watford led the way with 22 points, including 14 in the first half. Matt Roth added 14 points in just 11 minutes, making 4-of-5 3-pointers. Verdell Jones, meanwhile, chipped in with 13 points in 18 points as he returned from a one-game absence from an ankle injury. Roth and Jones paced an IU bench that outscored South Carolina State's reserves 46-19.

The Hoosiers also turned the ball over a season-low eight times, compared to 24 assists on 35 baskets. That helped IU to a 25-12 edge in points off turnovers.

It all added up to a dominating performance for the Hoosiers, who closed their non-conference home slate with a perfect 9-0 record.

"We want to get homecourt back like it used to be, where they didn't lose at home," said Watford. "That's what we're striving for."

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