BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – America’s No. 1 team finally came out a winner twice this week.
Indiana’s reward: It can stop worrying about votes and start focusing on the Big Ten title chase.
Will Sheehey scored a career-high 22 points and set a school record Saturday by going 9 of 9 from the field and leading Indiana to its second straight blowout over archrival Purdue, 83-55.
“I thought our team was asked enough letdown questions, and I think they were tired of it, too,” Coach Tom Crean said. “The human dynamic can sometimes plays into it, but not today, not at all. Not with the way they are maturing, not with the way we feel about the rivalry with Purdue. It’s a big, big deal.”
It’s not just the rivalry that’s big any more.
Indiana (23-3, 11-2 Big Ten) bucked the recent trend of No. 1 teams losing games and sliding back in the poll.
Last week the Hoosiers got a reprieve after losing at Illinois before winning at No. 10 Ohio State. They held onto the top spot only after the next four highest-ranked teams all lost, too.
The Hoosiers also assured themselves of hanging onto at least a share of the league lead as they head into Tuesday night’s showdown with No. 8 Michigan State.
Purdue falls to 12-14 and 5-8.
MARYLAND 83, (2) DUKE 81: Seth Allen broke a tie by making two free throws with 2.8 seconds left, and the Terrapins (18-7, 6-6 ACC) stunned the Blue Devils to end a six-game skid against its bitter rival.
Duke (22-3, 9-3) trailed by 10 with 3:39 left but pulled even when Rasheed Sulaimon made three foul shots with 16.7 seconds to go. Quinn Cook then fouled Allen, who made both shots.
(5) GONZAGA 71, SAN FRANCISCO 61: Kelly Olynyk had 26 points and nine rebounds for the visiting Bulldogs (25-2, 12-0 West Coast Conference).
Cole Dickerson scored 15 points for the Dons (11-15, 4-9).
(6) SYRACUSE 76, SETON HALL 65: Brandon Triche scored a career-high 29 points to go with six rebounds and five assists, leading the visiting Orange to a tougher-than-expected victory over the reeling Pirates (13-13, 2-11).
C.J. Fair added 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Michael Carter-Williams had 14 points and nine boards as the Orange (21-4, 9-3) remain tied with Marquette and Georgetown for first place in the Big East.
(7) FLORIDA 83, AUBURN 52: Mike Rosario scored a season-high 22 points, Kenny Boynton had 16 and the Gators (21-3, 11-1 SEC) raced to a 25-point halftime lead over the Tigers (9-16, 3-9).
(8) MICHIGAN ST. 73, NEBRASKA 64: Keith Appling scored 16 points to go over 1,000 for his career and the Spartans (22-4, 11-2) remained tied with Indiana for first place in the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers fall to 12-14 and 3-10.
(10) KANSAS ST. 81, BAYLOR 61: Angel Rodriguez scored 22 points to lead the Wildcats (20-5, 9-3 Big 12) over the Bears (16-9, 7-5).
(11) BUTLER 68, FORDHAM 63: Rotnei Clarke scored 22 points and the Bulldogs (21-5, 8-3 Atlantic 10) handed the Rams (6-20, 2-9) their sixth straight loss.
(17) OKLAHOMA STATE 84, OKLAHOMA 79: Marcus Smart scored 28 points and the Cowboys (19-5, 9-3 Big 12) beat the Sooners (16-8, 7-5).
(18) MARQUETTE 79, (16) PITTSBURGH 69: Vander Blue scored 19 points to lead the Golden Eagles (18-6, 9-3 Big East) to victory over the Panthers (20-6, 8-5) in Milwaukee.
PROVIDENCE 71, (21) NOTRE DAME 54: Vincent Council had 11 assists to become Providence’s career leader, carrying the resurgent Friars (14-11, 6-7 Big East) over the Fighting Irish (20-6, 8-5) in Providence, R.I.
(22) MEMPHIS 71, MARSHALL 59: Adonis Thomas scored a career-high 23 points to lead visiting Memphis (22-3, 11-0 Conference USA) past Marshall (11-15, 4-7) for its 16th straight victory.
(23) OREGON 79, WASHINGTON STATE 77: E.J. Singler made two free throws with 3.8 seconds left as the Ducks held on to first place in the Pac-12 Conference.
Singler scored 25 points to lead Oregon (21-5, 10-3). Royce Woolridge scored a career-high 36 points for Washington State (11-15, 2-11).
(24) COLORADO STATE 89, AIR FORCE 86: Dorian Green scored 22 points to help the Rams (21-4, 8-2 Mountain West) hold off the host Falcons (15-9, 6-5).
TENNESSEE 88, (25) KENTUCKY 58: Trae Golden scored 24 points as the host Volunteers (14-10, 6-6 SEC) rolled to their most lopsided win in the 216-game history of this series.
Kentucky (17-8, 8-4) was playing its first game without Nerlens Noel, who tore his left ACL on Tuesday during a 69-52 loss to No. 7 Florida.