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Monday, November 19, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Indiana 66, Georgia 53

By Kieran Darcy

What it means: Indiana got its first test of the season, and passed.

The No. 1-ranked Hoosiers defeated Georgia 66-53 on Tuesday, in the semifinals of the Legends Classic, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

After three cakewalks against Bryant, North Dakota State and Sam Houston State, Indiana was finally challenged -- don’t be fooled by the final score. Georgia had already lost to Youngstown State and Southern Miss, but the Bulldogs gave the top dogs their best shot. Indiana better get used to that, as long as it remains No. 1.

The skinny: Indiana guard Jordan Hulls opened the game with a 3-pointer, but Georgia led for most of the first half, by as many as five. Cody Zeller, the preseason national player of the year, sat after his second foul with 9:06 left. The Bulldogs led 30-29 at intermission.

The game remained tight midway through the second half, with Georgia trailing by just three, 45-42, with under nine minutes left. Then Indiana finally broke the game open with back-to-back treys, both by Hulls, to make it 51-42 at the under-8 media timeout. The Hoosiers put the game away from there. They didn't play particularly well, but they found a way to win.

Star watch: Zeller had a very quiet night, finishing with just six points and four rebounds, taking just four shots from the field in 27 minutes. Indiana’s guards stepped up -- particularly Victor Oladipo (15 points, 8 rebounds) and Hulls (14 points, 4-for-6 from 3-point range). Forward Christian Watford also scored 14 points. Hulls clearly sparked the team in the second half, with his energy and his shooting.

For Georgia, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Vincent Williams had 14 points apiece.

Number crunch: It was a tale of two halves for Indiana, in terms of shooting. The Hoosiers were 32 percent from the field in the first half (8-for-25), and 58.3 percent in the second half (14-for-24).

Georgia, on the other hand, shot the ball poorly the entire game -- 34.6 percent in the first half (9-for-26), 33.3 percent in the second half (8-for-24).

What’s next: Indiana will play the winner of Monday’s second semifinal, between No. 11 UCLA and Georgetown, in the championship game, Tuesday at 9:30 p.m.

Georgia will play in the consolation game, at 7 p.m.