And Indiana certainly didn?t get caught looking ahead to Tuesday?s showdown with North Carolina.
No. 1 Indiana had its focus right where it should have been Sunday – on Ball State. And it showed as the Hoosiers cruised to a 101-53 victory in front of 17,126 fans at Assembly Hall.
?The coaches did a great job preparing us for the game. We?re approaching every game the same way so we knew it was important for us to come out and get a good start and play a full 40 minutes,? said Indiana senior guard Jordan Hulls, who had 17 points and three assists.
Hulls was one of five Hoosiers to reach double figures in scoring. Indiana shot 64.7 percent from the floor and held Ball State to 30.9 percent on the way to improving to 6-0.
Will Sheehey led Hoosiers with 19 points.
?Will probably didn?t shoot it as well as he would have liked to when we played in (the Legends Classic in) Brooklyn,? said Indiana associate head coach Tim Buckley, who pinch-hit for Tom Crean in the postgame interview session. ?He got in the gym and he worked. He got shots up, he shot free throws. He did all the things you have to do to try and get better. That?s the only thing we know is work. That?s what Will came in and did and you got the chance to see it tonight.?
IU forward Cody Zeller and guard Victor Oladipo scored 15 and 13 points, respectively. Forward Christian Watford had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Indiana led 10-8 with 14 minutes remaining in the first half. The Hoosiers outscored the Cardinals 40-11 the rest of the half to take a 50-19 lead into halftime.
?We saw a couple of shots fall. Our defensive pressure was a lot better,? Hulls said. ?And we got some turnovers. That?s when we are at our best when we are running in transition. We were able to get to the foul line a lot.?
The Cardinals went 5 for 20 from the floor (20 percent) in the half.
?We got after it in the first half (defensively),? Sheehey said.
Indiana began the second half on a 19-4 run to stretch the lead to 69-23 with 13:54 to go.
?I thought our guys executed the game plan for certain spurts, but obviously, Indiana is a tremendous team, and they?re No 1 in the country for a reason with their athleticism and their depth,? Ball State coach Billy Taylor said.
Majok Majok led the Cardinals (2-2) with 18 points.
Ball State dropped its second straight. Indiana, meanwhile, continues to roll as it heads into the ACC/Big Ten Challenge contest with North Carolina.
?We?re always trying to improve and get better and we obviously felt like we did tonight,? Buckley said. ?We got key contributions from a lot of guys, played really well, played Indiana basketball.?