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Posted on Sat. Dec. 08, 2012 - 12:17 am EDT

Depth keeps Hoosiers at the top

IU’s bench provides energy, scoring for top-ranked team

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Indiana

vs. Central Connecticut State

When: 6 p.m. today

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: 1250 AM, 102.7 FM

FORT WAYNE — It could be Will Sheehey’s turn to provide a lift off the bench.

Or Remy Abell, Jeremy Hollowell or Maurice Creek. Sometimes it’s been all of the above.

The four are part of No. 1 Indiana’s productive bench. The Hoosiers (8-0) – who lead the Big Ten in scoring from nonstarters – face Central Connecticut State (4-3) today.

The Hoosiers are averaging 31.9 points per game from their nonstarters.

“We just want to come in and continue to push the tempo, and bring energy off the bench,” Hollowell said after an 87-51 victory over Coppin State on Dec. 1, when Indiana had 42 bench points.

“We have a really deep team, a deep bench. When we go to the bench, we want to come in and play hard and bring energy for the team. Play to our abilities and our roles.”

Sheehey tied for the team high with 14 points against the Eagles. It was his third straight game at least tying for the team high in scoring. The junior forward is averaging 17.3 points and shooting 70 percent from the field during that stretch.

Sheehey is averaging 12.1 points this season, and Abell is averaging 7.5 points.

“I’m just out there playing with confidence,” Abell said. “I’m shooting the ball and trying to help my team win. When they leave me open, I’m trying to knock it down with confidence.”

The sophomore guard has been hot from three-point territory, connecting on 10 of his 12 attempts.

“He is practicing well, but it’s got to be so much more than practice,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “You’ve got to be able to do so much more and get those reps and get them in game speed and game tempo, and he’s doing that. But he’s a confident player with a lot of room to grow.”

Hollowell is coming off a seven-point, three-rebound game against Coppin State. The freshman forward is averaging 6.4 points.

“Jeremy has grown as a player. He’s helping us win,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said. “He’s going to have to help us win now and down the road. He’s going to continue to keep getting mature and growing.

“Without him, we can’t win. He knows that and we know that. We need him.”

Creek, a junior guard, is averaging 3.1 points.

And more help is on the horizon. This is the final game of the nine-game suspensions handed down by the NCAA for freshman forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea and freshman center Peter Jurkin.

The two players are eligible to return Dec. 15 against Butler.

“Us having depth and coach bringing in other guys, you just have to be ready when your number is called,” Creek said.

lpope@jg.net


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