Prior to Indiana's NCAA tournament game against New Mexico State, Tom Crean tried to keep his players from looking to far ahead. He understands the Hoosiers have a chance to make something special happen this post-season, but doesn't want the players thinking about future opponents or opportunities.
"If we spend a lot of time talking about all the what-ifs, we'll get away from what has to happen," said Crean Thursday.
Even though none of the IU players had participating in an NCAA tournament game, they were not in awe of the moment and did exactly what they had to do against the 13th seeded New Mexico State Aggies. The game was still competitive at halftime as the Hoosiers led 35-28, but that margin quickly grew to double digits in the second half thanks to a steady stream off layups by Indiana guards.
Once New Mexico State figured out a way to stop the Hoosiers from making easy baskets, Jordan Hulls took advantage of open looks outside the arc. At one point, the junior guard scored 11 straight points for IU. He connected on three three-pointers in the second half, the third of which gave IU a 62-41 lead. New Mexico State made a mini-run to close to within 12 points on a few occasions, but Indiana's execution picked up down the stretch allowing the Hoosiers to cruise to the 79-66 victory.
Hulls led IU in scoring with 22 points. Cody Zeller, Chritsian Watford, and Will Sheehey also hit double-figures for the Hoosiers, each scoring 14 points.
With the victory, Indiana advances to play Virginia Commonwealth Saturday's third round at 7:10 PM EST. The 12th-seeded Rams upset 5th-seed Wichita State 62-59.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times