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Hulls, Zeller spark Hoosiers, other scores

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Associated Press
March 9, 2012
— Jordan Hulls and Cody Zeller turned Bankers Life Fieldhouse into their personal stage Thursday.

In the same building where the two Mr. Basketball Award winners won state high school titles, the duo ended the Hoosiers’ Big Ten tournament drought.


Hulls scored 20 points, while Zeller had 19 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 15 Indiana past Penn State, 75-58. Indiana ended a six-game losing streak in the tourney, a span that dated back to Mike Davis’ final team in 2006.


“It’s not my first time playing here,” Hulls said. “Shots were falling down for me, teammates were finding me when I was open and I created a little bit on my own. So luckily, the shot was falling down.”


For the Hoosiers (25-7), it’s yet another feat to add to an impressive resume.


After becoming the first league school in nearly six decades to beat a No. 1 and No. 2 team in the same season, after winning a school-record 18 games at Assembly Hall and producing the first perfect nonconference season since 1989-90, Indiana now has its first postseason victory since beating Gonzaga in the first round of the 2007 NCAA tournament.


Their last win in Big Ten tourney play was a 61-56 decision over Wisconsin on March 10, 2006.


If the Hoosiers can beat


No. 14 Wisconsin, the tourney’s No. 4 seed, in today’s quarterfinals, Indiana will have its most wins since the 1992-93 team won 31 games, the Big Ten regular-season crown and came within one victory of reaching the Final Four.


Tim Frazier led the Nittany Lions with 26 points, 19 in the first half, along with four assists and five steals. Trey Lewis added 11 points for a Penn State team that went 12-20 in coach Patrick Chambers’ first season.


But Penn State’s twosome couldn’t match the productivity of Hulls and Zeller, who got help from Christian Watford late. Watford scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half.


Hulls and Zeller accounted for the Hoosiers’ first 22 points, and when their teammates finally got involved, the Hoosiers were virtually unstoppable.


-- Iowa 64, Illinois 61— Matt Gatens scored 20 points to help Iowa defeat Illinois in what might have been the final game for Illini coach Bruce Weber.


Speculation has been that Weber would be fired after the season. The Illini closed the regular season having lost eight of nine, with their only win coming against Iowa.


Meyers Leonard had 18 points and six rebounds, and D.J. Richardson and Joseph Bertrand added 11 points each for Illinois (17-15).


Aaron White had 13 points and nine rebounds for eighth-seeded Iowa (17-15), which plays No. 1 seed Michigan State today.


-- Minnesota 75, Northwestern 68 (OT)—Northwestern’s slim NCAA tournament hopes took a big hit.


Minnesota rallied from a 61-57 deficit to force overtime, then scored the final six points to pull away.


Next up for the 10th-seeded Gophers is No. 10 Michigan.


Andre Hollins scored a career-high 25 points for Minnesota (19-13), which gave coach Tubby Smith his 99th victory at Minnesota.


JerShon Cobb scored a career-high 24 points for Northwestern (18-13).


-- Purdue 79, Nebraska 61—Anthony Johnson scored a career-high 17 points to help Purdue (21-11) advance.


Terone Johnson added 16 points, six rebounds and six assists, Ryne Smith scored 15 points, and Robbie Hummel had 10 points for the sixth-seeded Boilermakers.


Bo Spencer scored 22 points for the 11th-seeded Cornhuskers (12-18).



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