Second Half Lifts Indiana Past Butler
BLOOMINGTON, IND. -- Tournament MVP Will Sheehey scored 12 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and helped lead host Indiana to a 75-59 victory over Butler in the title game of the Hoosier Classic at Assembly Hall on Sunday, Nov. 27. The Hoosiers finished the five-team event with a perfect 4-0 record.
Butler, tournament runner-up with a 3-1 record, battled the unbeaten Hoosiers on even terms throughout the first half and gabbed a 32-31 lead on a basket by Chrishawn Hopkins one minute into the second half. But the Hoosiers responded with seven unanswered points to take the lead for good.
Indiana (6-0), sparked by Sheehey who hit all three of his second half shot attempts, wound up shooting 50% (11-22) from the field in the final 20 minutes, including 100% (3-3) from the three-point arc. Sheehey, who hit five of six attempts from the charity stripe, also sparked Indiana to 19 of 22 free throw shooting in the final period. The Hoosiers out-scored Butler, 44-31, over the final 20 minutes.
Indiana stretched its lead to double-figures at 49-39 on a free throw by Christian Watford and then built the margin to as many as 21 points in the final two minutes.
"We got out-distanced, obviously, at the end, for a number of reasons, some of which are under our control and some of which aren't," said Butler head coach Brad Stevens after the game. "We need to take care of the ones that are under our control."
One of the most glaring areas was turnovers. The Bulldogs, who committed a season-low four turnovers in a victory over Gardner-Webb in their previous game, were guilty of a season-high 21 turnovers against Indiana. Eleven of those miscues came in the second half.
"Not very strong with the ball," stated Stevens. "Bottom line, we've got to get stronger with the ball."
The two teams, playing for the first time since 2006 when Butler captured a 60-55 decision in the NIT Season Tip-Off, were never separated by more than five points in the first 20 minutes. The Bulldogs led 24-23 with just under five minutes remaining, but the Hoosiers closed the half on an 8-4 run to take a 31-28 lead at halftime.
Hopkins, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, scored 13 of his team-high 19 points in the first period.
Sheehey and 6-11 freshman Cody Zeller sparked Indiana's second-half outburst and led the Hoosiers for the game. Sheehey hit five of eight shots, including three of four from the three-point arc, and eight of 10 from the charity stripe. Zeller, who had 11 second half points, finished the game with 16. Guard Jordan Hulls added 14 points for the Hoosiers, and forward Victor Oladipo finished with 10.
Sophomore Khyle Marshall was the only other Butler player to reach double-figures, finishing with 16 points. The Bulldogs (3-3) shot just 38.2% for the game. Butler was out-scored 29-12 at the free throw line.
Butler will have a quick turnaround with a home game against Oakland City on tap for Tuesday, Nov. 29. That contest, the first of three straight home games for the Bulldogs, is slated for 7 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse.