BLOOMINGTON – The 200th meeting between Indiana and Purdue on 94 feet of hardwood resembled the 199th.
An experienced Hoosiers team was able to impose its will on both sides of the court while the young Boilermakers struggled for much of the game to keep up.
That was the story when Tom Crean’s team visited West Lafayette and won by 37 points on January 30th-the biggest margin of victory by an Indiana team playing against Purdue ever on the road. Saturday’s game in Bloomington played out the same way and was nearly as decisive.
The Hoosiers dominated for the better part of 40 minutes to beat Purdue 83-55 at Assembly Hall to sweep the series and extend their winning streak in the series to four. The victory also sets up a match-up of teams currently tied for first in the Big Ten when Indiana travels to Michigan State on Tuesday night.
It’s the biggest win over the Hoosiers at home since January 10, 2007 when the Hoosiers beat the Boilermakers by 27 points. Though dominant the margin of victory fell short of the all-time record of 41 set by the Hoosiers on January 28. 1992.
Will Sheehey had a big night off the bench as he led the Hoosiers in scoring with 22 points and set a school record for shooting percentage from the field as he hit all nine shots he took.
Indiana set the pace early by jumping out to a lead the early lead behind the strong three-point shooting by Christian Watford. The forward scored Indiana’s first eight points of the game to put them up quickly by six points and continued to chip in for the rest of the half. Watford has 13 points in the first half as the Hoosiers twice extended the lead over Purdue to 19 points.
Not helping the Boilermakers cause was the struggles of A.J. Hammons. After scoring 30 points against Indiana in the January 30th showdown, the freshman center was held scoreless in the first half as Purdue quickly lost control of the game.
The only concern for the Hoosiers all day came towards the end of the first half when guard Victor Oladipo turned his ankle late in the first half. He returned to the bench just after halftime but didn’t come back into the game. Oladipo officially has an ankle sprain and is listed as day-to-day. The next 24-36 hours will be important in evaluating whether he will play at Indiana’s next game at Michigan State.
His teammates made sure he wouldn’t have to as they Hoosiers continued to pull away in the final 20 minutes. Filling in for the injured Oladipo, Sheehey came off the bench and offered an immediate spark as he scored 11 points in the first ten minutes of the second half.
Sheehey’s layup with 10:20 to go in the half pushed the lead over 20 for the first time all afternoon as they assured that state bragging rights would remain in Bloomington for a second straight season. As they did earlier in the season in West Lafayette the Hoosiers continued to push the lead up against their rivals late and got the lead over 30 points on a layup by Zeller with five minutes to play.