BLOOMINGTON – About 50 weeks ago Indiana reintroduced itself to major college basketball with a stirring last second triumph over top-ranked Kentucky.
Tuesday night in the same location, a decisive performance showed they plan to be there for years to come.
In their first major challenge against a highly ranked opponent in the 2012-2013 season, the Hoosiers laid claim to the top spot in the country by blowing out 14th-ranked North Carolina 83-59 on Tuesday night at Assembly Hall.
Cody Zeller led Indiana with 20 points while Victor Oladipo and Will Sheehey score 19 a piece.
Indiana improves to 7-0 on the season and picked up their second consecutive win in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
For all intensive purposes, however, the challenge lasted only about 15 minutes with the teams staying close until a late first half run by the home team. After James Michael McAdoo tied the game at 31 with a pair of free throws, the Hoosiers got out on the run and grabbed their first large lead.
Zeller and Oladipo-who finished with 13 points a piece in the first half-led the team on a 15-6 run in the final 4:14 of the half. The former capped the run with a put back at the first half buzzer to put Indiana up by nine.
It was just a taste of what was to come as the Hoosiers turned the game into a blowout in the opening minutes of the second half. With a steady dose of Zeller and Oladipo the Hoosiers scored the first 13 points of the half, shutting out the Tar Heels for the first five minutes.
Jordan Hulls’ three-pointer with 15:14 led pushed the lead to 59-37 and the rout was on.
Sheehey then helped to push the lead higher with eleven points in a ten minute stretch, with his trey at 4:52 pushing the lead to 30 for the first time all night.