Sheehey shines with career-high 30 points

Will Sheehey scored IU's first four points and 10 of the team's first 17. But instead of falling back into a secondary role on offense, the IU senior took charge, taking 20 shots and recording a career night on offense in IU's 93-86 victory.

Tuesday evening in Madison, Wisc., Will Sheehey brought all of Indiana's energy to the first few minutes of the game, scoring the team's first seven points and taking IU's first five shots from the floor.

But as has happened multiple times this season, Sheehey blended back in with the rest of his teammates the rest of the game, missing his other three shots and failing to score any more points.

After scoring 10 of IU's first 17 Thursday night in a 93-86 win at home against Iowa, Sheehey did anything but blend in, scoring a career-high 30 points on 13-of-20 shooting from the field.

The night began with a memorable moment as Sheehey and Tom Crean walked to the middle of the court for a presentation honoring the senior joining the 1,000-point club for IU, the 47th Hoosier to do so. Sheehey, as expected, didn't take in too much of the crowd's standing ovation; he took the award from Crean, gave a quick wave, and walked back to the IU bench, not wanting to draw too much attention to himself.

After the game, Sheehey spoke to the media with a similar tone, giving his teammates the credit for finding him in open spots and throwing spot-on passes, giving him opportunities to get to 30 points.

"I think Yogi threw two or three over-the-top passes. Stan finds me on back cuts all the time," Sheehey said. "I mean, really I was scoring without the ball in my hands, and these guys found me. So a night like this really just shows the kind of teammates we have."

Sheehey appeared a shorter version of Cody Zeller, streaking down the court multiple steps ahead of his man, waiting for a half-court pass for an easy layup or the occasional alley-oop feed from IU's guards.

He scored from all areas of the court – the dunk, the baseline jumper, from beyond the arc, in the paint, and Iowa didn't have an answer. He admitted he didn't think it was his best overall game of his career on offense and defense, but scoring the ball, he admitted Thursday night at Assembly Hall was pretty special.

The past several years, Sheehey had been nearly the first IU player off the bench as Crean referred to him as IU's sixth starter. His role was to provide a burst of energy off the bench, and this year, as the lone four-year senior starter, he was charged to bring that from the tip.

He hasn't always managed that this season, but after his quick start, Crean said Sheehey gave his team and the crowd what they've grown to expect from him during his IU career.

"He's playing like the Will Sheehey everybody has come to know, love and respect over the past couple years," Crean said. "We need his leadership. We need his courage. We need Will to be Will, and everybody in here that covers us knows what that means, and that's exactly what he's doing."

Crean admitted that he didn't realize quite the total of points Sheehey had hit until after the game, but while Sheehey was in a TV interview, all Crean heard was his senior talk about the help of his teammates Thursday night, and that's the example he wants set.

"He's a great teammate," Crean said. "It's never been easy. All his friends that he's come up with are here and gone, and we have huge leadership expectations for him because he's capable, and I think he's embracing those right now."


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