Indiana guard Victor Oladipo suffered a foot injury and missed the second half of the Hoosiers' win over Purdue.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WDRB) – When is an 83-55 basketball victory against Purdue that pushes Indiana into first place in the Big Ten not the first paragraph in a story about this rivalry game?
When Victor Oladipo, the Hoosiers' best defender and most dynamic player, leaves the game with an injury to his left ankle in the final minute of the first half -- and sits the entire second half.
Oladipo went down while racing back to defend on a fast-break. He was not involved in the conclusion of the play, which resulted in a traveling call against Purdue.
But Oladipo walked, gingerly, to the locker room, with Dr. Larry Rink before the half ended. He did not return to the bench until 2 ½ minutes had been played in the second half. Oladipo rode the exercise bike at the end of the IU bench for about three minutes.
Then he huddled with Rink, trainer Tim Garl and IU coach Tom Crean, but did not play in the second half. He finished with three points and five rebounds in 14 first-half minutes.
Crean said his status for Indiana's game at Michigan State Tuesday is questionable, although several IU players said Oladipo was "fine."
GAME OF THE YEAR, PART 4: Start the countdown for another Game of the Year in the Big Ten. IU will visit Michigan State Tuesday at 7 p.m. Indiana secured its spot in first place in the league by defeating Purdue. Michigan State responded by winning at Nebraska Saturday night. Both teams are 11-2, 2 1/2 games ahead of the third-place teams in the league
Indiana has not won at Michigan State since 1991.
WAT SHOT: When Christian Watford plays well, Indiana plays well. That seems to be the trend. And Watford played well against Purdue, scoring Indiana's first eight points, making three of his first four three-point field goal attempts.
Watford finished with 14 points, pushing his career total to 1,630, which ranks 11th on the school's all-time scoring list, ahead of 1976 national player of the year Scott May. Watford figures to pass Brian Evans, Eric Anderson, Kent Benson and Damon Bailey and finish seventh on the all-time list.
Of course, that was only part of Watford's contribution. Read on.
WHERE'S A.J.? – When the Hoosiers and Boilermakers played in West Lafayette, Jan. 30 Purdue freshman center A.J. Hammons delivered the game of his life. Hammons scored 30 of 60 points in a 97-60 loss, getting many of his points against Cody Zeller.
Crean changed the defensive game plan Saturday, going to the smaller Watford. Crean raved about Watford's effort and said that he has no hesitation using Watford against any Big Ten player. Hammons failed to score in the first half Saturday, missing his only three field-goal attempts. Hammons finished with only six points in 21 minutes.
REMY UPDATE: Former Eastern High School star Remy Abell had another solid game. He made his only shot, but played excellent defense and handled the ball well.
SUCH GOOD FRIENDS: There's a rivalry between the schools, but some of the players are also friends. IU seniors Jordan Hulls and Derek Elston have a history with Purdue senior D.J. Byrd. The played on the same AAU basketball teams for several seasons.
CELEBRITY SIGHTING: Former IU guard Eric Gordon took advantage of the NBA All-Star break to watch Tom Crean's team in person. Gordon plays for the New Orleans Hornets. Former Kentucky all-American Kevin Grevey also made his first trip to IU this season. Grevey worked as the analyst on a national radio broadcast of the game.
WINDING DOWN: The Hoosiers only have two more games booked for Assembly Hall. IU will host Iowa March 2 and then return for a Senior Night game against Ohio State at 9 p.m. March. 5.
UP NEXT: Tuesday night. East Lansing. ESPN. Dick Vitale. Magic Johnson. Indiana and Michigan State will tip at 7 p.m. in the Breslin Center. The Hoosiers won the first meeting, 75-70, on Jan. 27 in Assembly Hall. The Spartans' players have been chirping about revenge. More on that later.
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