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Hoosiers deal Gophers crushing NCAA blow

Feb 26, 2012 - 10:12 PM Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Victor Oladipo scored 12 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead No. 23 Indiana to a 69-50 victory over Minnesota at Williams Arena on Sunday.

"Obviously this is a great win because we know how good Minnesota is," said Indiana head coach Tom Crean. "They are a fierce competitor with tremendous athletes and toughness. Our guys were very locked in and focused on the game. We knew we had to rebound the ball and get to the foul line. I am proud that our defense was very good."

Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls also netted 12 points while Verdell Jones III chipped in 11 with seven boards for the Hoosiers (22-7, 9-7 Big Ten), who have won two straight and five of their last six.

Austin Hollins led the way for Minnesota (17-12, 5-11) with 14 points in a losing effort. Elliott Eliason and Andre Hollins added six points apiece as the Golden Gophers dropped their fifth straight contest and watched their fleeting NCAA Tournament hopes dim even further.

"It was a pretty ugly display," remarked Minnesota head coach Tubby Smith after the game. "We started out like we were ready to play, making some shots early, but then we started missing some easy shots. That's very discouraging for our guys."

The Golden Gophers scored their first nine points from long range, starting the game 3-of-3 from beyond the arc to force a 9-9 tie with 13:42 to play in the first half.

Later, a Ralph Sampson III hook shot in the lane got Minnesota within three, but Hulls nailed a triple and added two free throws during a 7-0 Hoosier spurt that gave the visitors a 28-18 edge with just under five minutes left in the half.

Oladipo's two-handed dunk in the closing seconds put an exclamation point on a stellar first half for the Hoosiers, who took a 37-26 lead into the locker room.

The Gophers got off to a slow start in the second half. Rodney Williams' layup 2 1/2 minutes in marked their only field goal over the first seven-plus minutes.

Meanwhile, Indiana used the dry spell to extend its lead to 18, 46-28, on its way to a double-digit victory.

The lead ballooned as high as 24 when a Hulls three-pointer made it 62-38 with under six minutes remaining.

Game Notes

Indiana finished 6-of-12 from long range, while Minnesota made 7-of-17 from beyond the arc...Minnesota will face its third straight ranked opponent when it takes on current No. 16 Wisconsin on Tuesday.