INDIANAPOLIS -- It wasn't pretty on either side, but No. 10 seed Indiana holds a 3-point lead on No. 7 Northwestern at halftime of a first-round matchup. A wild tip-in by Northwestern star John Shurna just before the buzzer makes this a one-possession game heading to the second half.
Given that 3-point shooting is Northwestern's bread and butter, the Wildcats are extremely fortunate to be down by only three points. The Wildcats missed 13 of their first 14 attempts from long range and finished the first half a miserable 2-for-18. They'll certainly need that percentage to go up in the second half.
After struggling inside a bit early, Indiana did the dirty work late in the half and finished strong. Freshman forward Derek Elston was particularly impressive with eight points and five rebounds, and freshman forward Christian Watford added seven points and three boards.
Hoosiers guard Verdell Jones III continues to impress with nine first-half points on 3-of-5 shooting. If this game is close down the stretch, Jones likely will have the ball in his hands.
Defense has kept Northwestern in the game, which comes as a surprise after the team's poor defensive showing Saturday at Indiana and for much of Big Ten play. The Wildcats have three steals and four blocks in the opening half, and a 18-16 edge in rebounds. NU outscored Indiana 16-8 in the paint. Bill Carmody's team likely will need more offense from point guard Michael Thompson (3 points) and center Luka Mirkovic (zero points) to win this game.