Visiting Sam Houston State did an exceptional job limiting Indiana’s Cody Zeller for most of the first half Thursday night at Assembly Hall.
Oh, but all those other guys. In the Hoosiers’ 99-45 victory, they showed they can take apart a team in a lot of different ways.
Zeller, who finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists in 22 minutes despite being ill the past week, was unusually quiet early, taking his team’s first shot, a missed 3-pointer, and then not attempting another shot until 7:52 remained before intermission.
But he really wasn’t needed. No. 1 Indiana (3-0) built a 16-2 lead, and that was even without usual starter Christian Watford, as well.
Coming off a somewhat lackadaisical performance against North Dakota State, Watford was brought off the bench by head coach Tom Crean, who said he wants more consistency from his senior forward. Watford had started 97 of his previous 98 games.
“I thought we played with a lot of passion,” Crean said. “We had a lot of energy, and it is important to get the game started off the right way with that energy mind-set.”
Watford said if he plays hard on both ends, everything will take care of itself.
“I really wasn’t too much worried about it,” Watford said about not starting. “There is nothing you can do about it. It was odd, but you’ve got to go with it. I’m bigger than that.”