Hoosiers Pull Away From Pack, 86-75

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Jordan Hulls scored 20 points and hit a momentum-shifting 3-pointer in the final 2 minutes of Indiana's 86-75 victory over North Carolina State on Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Freshman Cody Zeller finished with 19 points for the Hoosiers (7-0). The Big Ten's most accurate shooting team passed its toughest test to date by shooting 50 percent (30 of 60) and hitting seven 3s.

Indiana has won all seven games by double figures -- with the previous six coming by at least 16.

Lorenzo Brown scored 19 points and Indiana native Scott Wood added 16 before fouling out for the Wolfpack (5-2). They pulled within 76-75 when C.J. Williams' layup attempt was goaltended with 2:03 left.

The Hoosiers ran some clock before Hulls swished a 3 with about one minute remaining. N.C. State couldn't make it a one-possession game the rest of the way.

DeShawn Painter and C.J. Leslie finished with 10 points apiece for N.C. State, which made its first 14 free throws and had a 40-37 rebounding advantage.

There were six ties and three lead changes in the second half, and neither team led by more than four in the final 20 minutes before the Wolfpack put together an impressive sequence with about 8 minutes remaining.

Leslie blocked Verdell Jones' layup and Wood knocked down a 3 in transition to put N.C. State up 61-56. The Wolfpack followed with a stop and transfer Alex Johnson delivered a layup that pushed the lead to 63-56.

The Hoosiers used a late, Zeller-fueled 20-7 run to erase that deficit. The freshman had eight points during the burst, and Indiana hit 9 of 10 free throws during the run and went up 76-70 on Hulls' foul shot with 2:53 left.

Christian Watford finished with 16 points and Victor Oladipo added 11 to help the Hoosiers win a matchup of teams with proud histories that fell on hard times in recent years before starting this season on decided upswings.

The Hoosiers appear to have their best team of Tom Crean's four seasons in Bloomington. They opened 6-0 for the second straight year and were making their first appearance in Raleigh since their last NCAA tournament game in 2008.

N.C. State, meanwhile, has shown considerable improvement in Mark Gottfried's first season. The former Alabama coach took over after five seasons under ex-Wolfpack great Sidney Lowe included no trips to the NCAA Tournament.

Wood scored 13 points in the first half. The Wolfpack took their only lead of the half on Leslie's tip-in at the buzzer, which capped a run of eight straight points in the final 2{ minutes. Indiana opened the game with a 17-7 burst and twice led by 11, going up 25-14 on Will Sheehey's three-point play.


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