Creek, Hulls Key Second Half Charge

Bloomington – Indiana avoided its Lipscomb moment Saturday night at Assembly Hall. A closer than expected first half gave way to a second-half onslaught as Indiana (5-5) trounced North Carolina Central (2-9) 81-58 in front of 11,010 at Assembly Hall.

Bloomington – Indiana avoided its Lipscomb moment Saturday night at Assembly Hall.

A closer than expected first half gave way to a second-half onslaught as Indiana (5-5) trounced North Carolina Central (2-9) 81-58 in front of 11,010 at Assembly Hall.

Early on, it appeared North Carolina Central had visions of duplicating Lipscomb's feat from a year ago, when the little known D-I program upset the Hoosiers on their home court. Maurice Creek and Jordan Hulls weren't on the IU roster for that forgettable moment, but the freshman duo made sure it didn't happen again.

Seven days after scoring 31 against Kentucky, Creek poured in 29 more points against NCCU, making 12-of-17 shots overall and 5-of-10 from behind the 3-point arc to lead Indiana to the win.

"I'm doing what I like to do," Creek said. "I'm a scorer. That's what I do, and people found me."

While it was Creek's offensive numbers that stood out, IU Coach Tom Crean was also pleased with the energy Creek brought on the defensive end in the second half. In addition to his 29 points, Creek added a team-high seven rebounds and also helped slow down NCCU's C.J. Wilkerson during the game's final 20 minutes. Wilkerson's 12 first-half points had kept NCCU close early, but he made only 3-of-10 shots in the second half and finished with 22.

"(Crean) said I played passive, and I did play passive (in the first half)," Creek said. "I was into it, but he said he wanted more. So I gave him more. Defense is one of the key ways for me scoring and everyone scoring, and we all picked it up in the second half."

Hulls was among those that picked it up at the outset of the second half. Hulls' stat line of five points, seven rebounds and eight assists might not have been as gaudy as Creek's, but the Bloomington product keyed an early second half flurry that quickly turned a three-point halftime lead into a laugher. All but one of Hulls' rebounds and one of the assists came in a second half that saw IU outscore NCCU 45-25.

"The energy Jordan created was with how he passed the basketball and what he did defensively, and that's what we needed," Crean said.

Hulls got things started by finding Creek open 10 seconds into the second half for a 3-pointer that extended the lead to six. Hulls followed that up with an offensive rebound and putback of a Creek miss from deep, and then added two more assists on fastbreak buckets to give Indiana a 45-38 lead two and half minutes into the half. The second assist came on a nifty left-handed pass where he zipped the ball ahead to Tom Pritchard for an easy layup that prompted a NCCU timeout.

But Hulls wasn't done. He knocked down a 3-pointer to push the lead to eight two minutes later, and after a pair of Derek Elston free throws pushed the margin to 10, Hulls and Creek teamed up two more times to put the game away. Hulls found Creek open for back-to-back 3-pointers that extended the margin to 58-42 with 13:29 left, and NCCU would get no closer than 13 the rest of the way.

"In the first half, we didn't have any energy, we didn't play as well as we wanted and we didn't execute," Hulls said. "in the second half, we had to come out defensively and get some turnovers and move us into our offense and execute some plays. It really came down to a lot of pride in our defense."

Crean also made some changes at the start of the second half. After starting Derek Elston for the first time this season, he went back to Tom Pritchard to start of the second half. Hulls, meanwhile, got the nod ahead of Verdell Jones after halftime and helped kickstart the Hoosiers on both ends of the floor.

"I just tried to come in and do my part, whether that was shoot or pass. I got some rebounds tonight too, and that was good," Hulls said.

INDIANA 81
Watford 3-11 5-5 11, Elston 2-2 3-3 7, Creek 12-17 0-0 29, Rivers 1-3 1-2 3, Jones 3-6 1-2 7, Barnett 0-1 0-0 0, Hulls 2-5 0-0 5, Finkelmeier 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 0-0 2-2 2, Muniru 0-0 1-2 1, Capobianco 1-4 0-0 2, Gambles 0-1 0-0 0, Pritchard 4-5 0-3 8, Dumes 1-2 1-2 4, Jobe 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 30-59 14-21 81.

N.C. CENTRAL 58
Chasten 3-5 0-0 6, Granger 1-6 1-3 3, Glasker 2-10 1-2 5, Wilerson 7-20 5-6 22, Sims 3-11 2-2 11, Worthy 2-3 0-0 4, Ellison 0-0 0-0 0, Sherrod 0-1 0-0 0, Spara 1-2 0-0 2, McDonald 0-0 0-0 0, Manns 2-4 1-2 5. Totals 21-62 10-15 58.

3-Pointers: Indiana 7-23 (Creek 5-10, Hulls 1-4, Dumes 1-2, Watford 0-1, Rivers 0-1, Jones 0-2, Capobianco 0-1, Gambles 0-1), N.C. Central 6-20 (Wilkerson 3-9, Sims 3-8, Glasker 0-2, Chasten 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 46 (Creek 7, Hulls 7), N.C. Central 28 (Granger 6, Sims 6). Assists: Indiana 22 (Rivers 8, Hulls 8), N.C. Central 12 (Glasker 10). Turnovers: Indiana 16, NC Central 10. Blocks: Indiana 6 (Pritchard 2, Jobe, Creek, Rivers, Muniru), NC Central 1 (Chasten). Steals: Indiana 4, NC Central 6. Officials: Tim Huthcison, Bob Mahre, Rob Kruger. Attendance: 11,010.

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