It was not pretty and a lot closer than it should have been, but No. 1 Indiana did beat Georgia today in the Progressive Legends Classic, 66-53, to advance to the final, tomorrow. It was a tight game throughout the first half, with the Bulldogs even taking a four point lead early in the second half.
Indiana played the first 60% of the game lackadaisically, without much direction or focus. They didn’t look like the top team in the country, that they are. Then something happened. That something was Jordan Hulls and Victor Oladipo.
Hulls, the senior point guard had a loaded stat sheet, scoring 14 with four assists and rebounds. As Indiana pulled away midway through the second half Hulls figured in to 15 consecutive points, by either scoring or assisting. Hulls was incredibly efficient on offense, he made 4-6 threes. As usual, Hulls brought a ton of energy on defense. This ignited a staunch defensive shut down late int he game by Indiana. They gave up just 17 points in the final 16 minutes.
Oladipo brought a different skill set to the table. While he shares Hulls’ fantastic defensive perimeter defensive play, on offense he is a different animal. He has hops. Not just hops, Oladipo might be the best leaper in the conference. He showed his ridiculous athleticism with some fantastic dunks in the second half.
Oladipo’s finest dunk was off of a perfect lob pass from Hulls, who was dribbling up to the three point line. Those two points put the Hoosiers up 10 points and essentially ended the game. Every two point basket is worth the same, obviously. However, there is something about a thunderous dunk that lights ups the building. It gives a shot of energy to your team on defense and is demoralizing to the opponent.
The fact that neither Oladipo nor Hulls is the best player on the team highlights the Hoosiers depth. They have six guys who can take over a game. That takes a lot of pressure off of the best player in the country, Cody Zeller, who does not have to be perfect for Indiana to win.