LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Indiana survived a pair of comebacks and a heated coaches exchange at midcourt to win its Big Ten conference opener at Nebraska Wednesday night.The Hoosiers prevailed 70-65 after leading by 16 in the first half and 13 in the second half, while trailing by four in between those double-digit leads.
"That's a great sign of maturity for us," said Indiana coach Tom Crean. "It takes a while for that maturity process to kick, especially when they're away from your bench, on the other end of the floor. We closed the game well. Obviously, they made a comeback at the end."
Freshman Robert Johnson led the Hoosiers with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting.Troy Williams had 13 and Hanner Mosquera-Perea added twelve, including a pair of lob dunks from Yogi Ferrell as IU regained control midway through the second half.And it was a hard foul by Nebraska's Tai Webster on an attempted Mosquera-Perea lob dunk that led to the harsh words between Crean and Tim Miles.Neither coach would comment on that after the game.
Freshman post player Emmitt Holt keyed a 15-1 run in the first half for Indiana (11-3, 1-0) Holt had 6 points, 4 rebounds and a block in 13 minutes off the bench.
Nebraska (8-5, 0-1) was led by Shavon Shields' 20 points. The Huskers outscored Indiana 10-2 to end the first half and 14-2 to start the second half to grab a 46-42 lead.
"We talked about that, preparing for that run," said Johnson.. "We talked about different things, like momentum swings and things like that. It just all comes back to getting stops. Once they go on the run, you've got to keep your composure, get something good offensively and try to string together two or three stops to get back into the game and get the lead back."
Next up for the Hoosiers is a visit to East Lansing to meet Michigan State on January 5th.