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Hot-shooting Hulls helps IU roll to easy win

– One of Jordan Hulls’ three-pointers was an off-balance fling from the wing.

Another Hulls’ three-point shot hit the backboard and went in.

The Indiana senior guard is ready for Big Ten play. So are the rest of the No. 5 Hoosiers.

Hulls made six three-pointers and finished with 20 points in Indiana’s 93-59 victory against Jacksonville in front of 17,472 fans Friday at Assembly Hall.

“I’ve been passive, and the guys have told me to be more aggressive,” Hulls said. “That really helped me a lot, having the confidence of my teammates. … I felt good today and I felt good all this week.”

Hulls was 6 of 9 from three-point territory.

“The whole team is better when he’s aggressive offensively,” IU coach Tom Crean said.

Sophomore forward Cody Zeller added 16 points and six rebounds as the Hoosiers (12-1) cruised in their final nonconference game of the regular season. The Hoosiers open Big Ten play on New Year’s Eve at Iowa.

“I think we’re very prepared,” Hulls said. “The coaches do a great job of working us every day. We’re getting better every single day.”

Junior guard Victor Oladipo and junior forward Will Sheehey each had 14 points. Senior forward Christian Watford had 11 points and six rebounds.

Freshman guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell had 10 assists, six points and no turnovers.

“My teammates did a great job of moving and running with me,” Ferrell said. “Guys know where I’m looking to pass the ball. They just find great openings for me and I just dish it off to them.”

IU was without freshman Jeremy Hollowell. The forward sat for his third consecutive game as he deals with NCAA compliance issues. Indiana provided a statement with an update on Hollowell’s status before the game.

“While stating that it is premature to discuss these issues in any detail, (athletic director Fred) Glass stated that they do not involve any improper actions or inactions by the institution or its men’s basketball program,” the statement read.

“Glass further stated that Jeremy and his family are actually the ones to initially raise these issues, that Jeremy has continued to fully cooperate in this matter, and that in Glass’s opinion Jeremy appears to be a victim – not a perpetrator – in this matter. Glass expressed his appreciation to the NCAA for its assistance and cooperation and his optimism that these issues will soon be resolved. Until then, neither he nor anyone else at IU will have any further comment.”

Hollowell is averaging 5.7 points and 3 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game off the bench. The Hoosiers carried on with a strong defensive effort. IU had 34 points off of 20 Jacksonville (5-8) turnovers.

“Defense is the energizer every night,” Oladipo said. “If we don’t play defense, we won’t win games, especially on the road.”

Indiana went on a 15-4 run in the first half and a 23-3 spurt in the second on the way to yet another blowout victory.

“They are getting better, that’s the biggest thing,” Crean said. “ … The way they are moving the basketball. We are getting better defensively. But the coach’s hat stays on. We’ve got a lot of things to get better at.”

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