When Cody Zeller bounced back, he brought his whole team with him.
A night after an ineffective game, Zeller had 17 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 1 Indiana to an 82-72 overtime win against Georgetown in the title game of the Legends Classic tournament on Tuesday night.
“Our guys just went out and played a high-level team in a high-level way,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “It’s a program win for us. A program championship for us.”
Jordan Hulls had 17 points for Indiana (5-0) and Yogi Ferrell had 14, including seven in overtime.
His last points came on a 3-pointer he released just before the shot clock ran out, giving Indiana a 10-point lead with about a minute to go and, finally, clinching a game Indiana almost had wrapped up in regulation.
Victor Oladipo scored 12 points for Indiana and Christian Watford added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Hoosiers, who took 36 free throws to Georgetown’s 10.
“To be in a close game like tonight, you have to play to your strengths,” Zeller said.
Markel Starks scored 20 points for the Hoyas (3-1), and Otto Porter, who fouled out in overtime, made a layup with 4.6 seconds to play in regulation that tied the game at 64.
I just saw a little opening and took it,” Porter said. “It’s just a learning process this early in the year. Most of our guys never had that much experience.”
Porter finished with 15 points. He was one of three Georgetown players to foul out – all in overtime.
“We came here to win and we had our chances,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “So we’re extremely disappointed with how things turned out.”
He mostly shrugged off the disparity in fouls, saying: “They do a good job of that. They do a good job of drawing fouls. I’m not sure what we could have done differently.”
At the end of regulation, Hulls pushed the ball up the floor and passed to Zeller crashing the lane, but Zeller’s lay-in was late and missed, anyway. Had it gone in, it would have put an exclamation point on a game that Crean called an “epic battle.”
Referring to both teams, Crean said “everyone that played in that absolutely left it out there.”
Late in regulation, Indiana rebounded a miss, drained the shot clock and Hulls made a layup with two minutes left that made it 61-54.
After Greg Whittington’s layup, Zeller was fouled in the lane and made both free throws with 1:18 left that appeared to put the game away before Georgetown made two quick 3s.
With about eight minutes to go, the 7-foot preseason All-America passed to Ferrell for a layup attempt on which he was fouled and made both throws. Then with 5:42 left, he passed out of a double team in the paint to find Will Sheehey for a dunk that electrified the crowd and gave Indiana a six-point lead.
But Georgetown ground away and Starks and Porter made the 3-pointers that helped the Hoyas close Indiana’s lead from seven points to one.
Indiana finished 11 of 17 on 3-pointers and Georgetown made 11 of 26.
The first half was a wild, back-and-forth affair during which both teams combined to shoot 14 for 24 on 3-pointers. Remy Abell made a 3-pointer with 4:22 remaining before halftime to give the Hoosiers a seven-point lead, but the Hoyas answered with a 3 by Whittington, and Indiana led 36-32 at the break.
Zeller surpassed his scoring and rebounding totals from the night before by halftime.
Hoosiers fans made Brooklyn into Big Ten territory days after the conference welcomed Maryland and Rutgers, in a move seen to appeal to East Coast television markets, including the nation’s largest in New York.
Crimson-and-cream-clad revelers began arriving during UCLA’s dull win over Georgia in the consolation game, and by the 10 p.m. tipoff, were roaring. Georgetown fans were outnumbered, but still managed to hoot and shout to make themselves heard over the din. The game ended well after midnight, but plenty of fans remained for the brief trophy presentation and lingered while Crean shook hands with those he could reach from the tunnel.