Indiana got the spirit and intensity that the doctor ordered Thursday night at the United Center.
The Hoosiers built up an 18-point lead early, and then never led by less than double figures in the second half as No. 7 seed Indiana knocked off No. 10 seed Northwestern 71-56 in the opening game of the Big Ten Tournament.
Indiana (20-12) will now face No. 2 seed Maryland on Friday night at 6:30 p.m. ET in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals.
The victory was a big one for an Indiana team had dropped three games in a row including a 72-65 loss to the same Northwestern team just 15 days ago in Evanston, Ill.
But the win may have come with a cost, too. Hanner Mosquera-Perea went down hard under the IU basket clutching his right knee midway through the second half. He had to be helped off the floor. Later he came back out and sat with his teammates on the bench with a large icepack on his knee.
There was no immediate word on his injury.
Indiana used a 21-1 run early in the game, erasing a 5-3 deficit and building it to a 24-6 lead when James Blackmon Jr. hit a 3-pointer with 10:12 to play in the half to put the Hoosiers on top 24-6.
Indiana maintained a double digit lead for the final 32 and a half minutes of this one.
Blackmon, who had been limited to six points on 1-of-10 shooting the first time the teams met, had 25 points Thursday night on 8-of-15 shooting including 5-of-10 from 3-point range. The freshman from Marion, Ind. also had six rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes of play.
Yogi Ferrell was the only other IU player in double figures with 17. He also had five assists.
The Hoosiers did a masterful job on the boards with a 42-25 edge. More importantly IU had 20 offensive rebounds and a 20-3 edge in second chance points.
The first time the teams played two weeks ago Tre Demps had 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting in 35 minutes. Thursday, he had four points in 33 minutes on 2-of-5 shooting.