INDIANAPOLIS — Cody Zeller scored 16 points and Christian Watford finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds to help No. 1 Indiana pull away from Nebraska 76-47 on Wednesday night.
The Hoosiers (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) have won seven of eight and regained a share of the league lead. They are tied with Michigan State.
But it sure wasn’t easy against Nebraska (12-13, 3-9), which frustrated Indiana by limiting possessions and repeatedly taking the shot clock inside of 10 seconds in the first half. Dylan Talley scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half to lead the Cornhuskers.
Indiana took charge after Zeller went to the bench with his second foul midway through the first half. It used a 10-0 run to take a 21-14 lead and closed the half on a 6-0 run to make it 27-18, then opened the second half on another 6-0 run.
Nebraska didn’t get closer than 11 again.
Cody Zeller scored 16 points and Christian Watford finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday night to help No. 1 Indiana overcame Nebraska’s deliberate pace and pull away for a 76-47 victory.
Indiana (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) reclaimed a share of the league lead by winning for the seventh time in eight games. It is tied with Michigan State.
But this one sure wasn’t easy.
For most of the first half, the Cornhuskers frustrated Indiana by running the shot clock inside of 10 seconds -- a style that limited the number of possession and didn’t allow the Hoosiers to get into their transition game.
When Zeller went to the bench with his second foul midway through the first half, everything changed. The Hoosiers started making shots from outside, and in the second half, they finally forced Nebraska out of its game plan by speeding up the pace.
Dylan Talley was the only Nebraska player to reach double figures, finishing with 16 points, 10 in the first half. The Cornhuskers (12-13, 3-9) lost for the third time in four games and dropped to 0-4 all-time in Bloomington. Nebraska has lost 11 straight against the No. 1 team since beating Missouri on Feb. 6, 1982.
On Wednesday, the ‘Huskers tried valiantly to buck the trend by imposing their will on the Hoosiers, and for a while it worked.
Nebraska made its first four shots and led for the first 12 minutes of the game.
Then the Hoosiers went back to being themselves. The defense clamped down, forcing a team that was averaging 10.9 turnovers per game into eight in the first 13 ½ minutes and 10 in the first half, and when the Hoosiers shooters warmed up late in the half, Nebraska was in big trouble.
The game swung when during a quick 10-0 flurry that began with Will Sheehey’s layup to Nebraska’s lead to 14-13. Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell followed that with a 3-pointer to give Indiana its first lead with 8:05 left in the half, Victor Oladipo made another 3, and Jordan Hulls capped the run with another layup to make it 21-14.
Nebraska answered with four straight points, but the Hoosiers closed the half by making six straight free throws to make it 27-18.
Indiana was just getting started.
Zeller opened the second half with a spectacular block, and the Hoosiers responded with six straight points, forcing Nebraska to call time out. Indiana closed it out with a 19-4 run midway through the second half, extending the margin to as much as 58-32.
Nebraska never challenged again.