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Crean gets new deal; Hoosiers roll

– Indiana athletic director Fred Glass grabbed a microphone before the start of the season opener against Bryant.

What began as a mini-pep rally ended with the announcement of a new contract for coach Tom Crean through 2020.

The crowd of 17,472 at Assembly Hall erupted, the first of several times Friday as the fans watched the No. 1 Hoosiers cruise to a 97-54 victory against Bryant.

“It’s one thing to win. It’s a whole other thing to improve while you’re winning,” Crean said. “I thought we improved inside the game tonight.”

Sophomore forward Cody Zeller and senior forward Christian Watford recorded double-doubles. Zeller finished with a game-high 18 points. He added 10 rebounds. Watford had 15 points and a career-high 15 rebounds.

Freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell had an impressive debut, finishing with 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

“Just going out there and giving the ball to those guys and watching them score is a great feeling,” Ferrell said.

Sophomore guard Remy Abell and freshman forward Jeremy Hollowell each had 12 points. Junior forward Will Sheehey added 10 points in the rout.

The game went as expected.

The only surprise came prior to the tip with the news of Crean’s extension.

The key terms of the new contract will include a two-year extension from six years to eight years (through June 20, 2020) and an increase in the average annual non-performance based compensation from about $2.52 million to about $3.16 million.

All of the annual incremental income will be paid through deferred compensation. The new contract will also add a performance bonus for team academic performance as measured by APR, GSR and GPA worth as much as $55,000 per year. The contract will also contain increased buyout and guaranty provisions.

“None of this would be possible without what my (assistant) coaches do. I have such a great staff. And most importantly, it wouldn’t be possible without the way the players have persevered. Without the way they have improved. Without their resiliency and toughness and their desire to win and compete and do things the right way,” Crean said.

Those improvements were on display Friday.

Bryant, a Northeast Conference school from Smithfield, R.I., actually took a 15-14 lead with 11:37 left in the first half.

It would be Bryant’s only lead of the game as IU responded with an 11-1 run.

The Hoosiers shot 55.6 percent from the floor. Bryant shot 32.3 percent and had 18 turnovers. There’s plenty for IU to build on.

“We did some things well,” Zeller said. “There’s a lot of things we didn’t do so well, so we’ll be right back at it tomorrow.”

lpope@jg.net

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