Drought Kills Irish Effort

Notre Dame's losing streak reaches six outside South Bend as the Irish fall to Indiana, 69-58, in the inaugural Crossroads Classic at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Cody Zeller took care of Indiana's offense Saturday. The other Hoosiers focused primarily on defense.

It was another winning combination.

Zeller had 21 points and eight rebounds against his older brother's former team, leading No. 18 Indiana past the Fighting Irish 69-58 in the inaugural Crossroads Classic at Conseco Fieldhouse.

The Hoosiers are 10-0 for the first time since 1989-90, protected their first Top 25 ranking in more than three years and are now poised to make their 500th appearance in the next Associated Press poll.

Notre Dame (7-5) was led by Eric Atkins with 15 points and Jeran Grant with 14, though the only Division I team with six players to score at least 20 points in a game this season shot only 38.1 percent from the field.

It didn't appear things would go this way early.

Indiana was sluggish after taking a weeklong break to focus on final exams, and the Fighting Irish took advantage. Alex Dragicevich opened the game with three 3-pointers in the first 5:13, giving the Irish a 9-4 lead, and when Jack Cooley made two free throws with 13:10 left in the half, Notre Dame led 15-6.

Then Indiana's defense changed the whole complexion of the game.

The Irish managed only one 2-point basket in the first half, failed to make a field goal over the final 14:33 of the half and didn't hit another 3 until Grant knocked one down with 1:39 left in the game.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame had no answer for Zeller's post moves.

And with the Irish unable to score, Indiana came right back with a 12-2 run, taking its first lead at 18-17 on Verdell Jones' 17-foot jumper. The Hoosiers extended the halftime cushion to 26-20 and never trailed again.

More than 16 minutes after the field goal drought began, Notre Dame finally ended it when Cooley posted up for a layup with 18:27 left in the game. But Cooley couldn't convert the three-point play.

It was that kind of day for Notre Dame.

The Hoosiers took a 37-25 lead when Jordan Hulls made a 3 with 14:07 left, and the Irish got as close as 39-33 just 2 minutes later.

But the relentless Hoosiers methodically pulled away.

Victor Oladipo finished with 16 points and Hulls had 12 for Indiana.

Cooley had 12 points before fouling out and was the only other Irish player in double figures.

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