INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana dazzled its fans with a first half to remember Saturday. Then the fifth-ranked Hoosiers had to survive a forgettable finish.
The nation’s highest-scoring team produced only seven points in the final 4½ minutes Saturday — barely enough to hold off No. 8 Minnesota’s furious closing flurry and hang on for an 88-81 victory.
On paper, it will go down as just another win. In the film room, it will look like something very different to the Hoosiers (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten).
“A year ago, we’d have been ecstatic with that victory and I want them to enjoy it, but we have different expectation levels now,” Coach Tom Crean said. “We have a lot of room for improvement. Where it takes the next step is when players understand they can play better, and I think they do.”
Inside Assembly Hall, the consensus was simple: It never should have been this close.
Victor Oladipo scored 20 points and had six rebounds but fouled out after fouling a 3-point shooter for the third time in the game. Jordan Hulls knocked down four 3s and finished with 19 points, but he missed three free throws during Minnesota’s closing run. Cody Zeller had 18 points, six rebounds and three blocks, but the Hoosiers’ vaunted bench went 0 for 8 from the field and finished with only three points.
The mistakes allowed Minnesota (15-2, 3-1) to trim a 23-point halftime lead to 13 early in the second half and cut a 15-point deficit to three with 19 seconds to go.
(3) LOUISVILLE 64, SOUTH FLORIDA 38: Peyton Siva scored 17 points and the Cardinals (15-1, 3-0 Big East) held South Florida (9-6, 0-3) to a season-low 27 percent shooting for an easy victory at Louisville, Ky.
(4) ARIZONA 80, OREGON STATE 70: Solomon Hill scored 16 points, including five 3-pointers, to help the visiting Wildcats (15-1, 3-1 Pac-12) bounce back from their first loss of the season.
(6) KANSAS 60, TEXAS TECH 46: Kevin Young scored 14 points and the visiting Jayhawks (14-1, 2-0 Big 12) beat Texas Tech (8-6, 1-2) for their 13th straight win.
(7) SYRACUSE 72, VILLANOVA 61: C.J. Fair had 22 points, and Trevor Cooney hit a pair of 3-pointers to punctuate a late surge as the Orange (16-1, 4-0 Big East) beat the Wildcats (11-5, 2-1) at Syracuse, N.Y.
MISSISSIPPI 64, (10) MISSOURI 49: Murphy Holloway scored 22 points as the Rebels (13-2, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) cruised past the Tigers (12-3, 1-1) at Oxford, Miss.
(11) FLORIDA 74, LSU 52: Kenny Boynton scored 20 points and the Gators (12-2, 2-0 SEC) used a 31-6 run across the halves to rout LSU (9-4, 0-2) at Baton Rouge, La.
WISCONSIN 74, (12) ILLINOIS 51: Jared Berggren scored 15 points and grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds, and Traevon Jackson added a career-best 14 points to lead the Badgers (12-4, 3-0 Big Ten) over the Illini (14-4, 1-3) at Madison, Wisc.
(14) BUTLER 79, DAYTON 73: Roosevelt Jones scored 16 points and the visiting Bulldogs (14-2, 2-0 Atlantic 10) extended their best start in four years, beating Dayton (10-6, 0-2) for their 11th straight win despite losing their top scorer to injury.
Butler guard Rotnei Clarke hit the padded backboard support hard after an intentional foul in the first half and was taken off the court on a stretcher. He was moving his legs and gave a thumbs-up sign as he left the court.
(16) SAN DIEGO STATE 79, COLORADO STATE 72: Chase Tapley scored 12 of his 19 points in overtime, and the Aztecs (14-2, 2-0 Mountain West) held off the Rams (13-3, 0-1) at San Diego.
CONNECTICUT 65, (17) NOTRE DAME 58: Shabazz Napier scored 19 points, Tyler Olander scored 12 of his career-high 16 points in the second half and the Huskies (12-3, 2-1 Big East) ended the game with a 7-0 run to beat Notre Dame (14-2, 2-1) at South Bend, Ind.
(18) KANSAS STATE 65, WEST VIRGINIA 64: Shane Southwell made two free throws with 21 seconds left, then blocked Gary Browne’s layup attempt with a second left to preserve a win for the Wildcats (13-2, 2-0 Big 12) at West Virginia (8-7, 1-2).
(19) GEORGETOWN 67, ST. JOHN’S 51: Otto Porter had 19 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, and the Hoyas (11-3, 1-2 Big East) broke out of their scoring funk with a victory over St. John’s (9-7, 1-3) at New York.
(21) CINCINNATI 68, RUTGERS 58: Cashmere Wright scored 23 points the visiting Bearcats (14-3, 2-2 Big East) snapped a two-game losing streak.
(25) NEW MEXICO 72, FRESNO STATE 45: Alex Kirk had 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, and the Lobos (15-2, 2-0 Mountain West) beat the visiting Bulldogs (6-9, 0-2) despite played without leading scorer Kendall Williams for disciplinary reasons.