No. 13 Indiana knocked off another top-five team on Wednesday, beating No. 3 North Carolina, 76-67, in Bloomington in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
“The fans were behind us, we fed off the atmosphere and it was a great win,” Indiana guard Josh Newkirk said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I’m proud of my team. We all made a collective effort to get on the boards and just own the defensive end.”
Indiana got off a to quick start, leading 28-11 in the first half.
“We just had a mentality coming into the game,” Newkirk said. “I thought we was well-prepared going over the game plan and just getting ourselves prepared. It showed in the first couple minutes of the game.”
North Carolina (7-1) got within four points with under five minutes to go but didn’t get closer.
“We stayed poised,” Newkirk said. “I’m proud of my team. We stayed together, we didn’t let ourselves get rattled and we took care of the ball down the stretch.”
All five Indiana starters finished in double figures, including OG Anunoby, who had a team-high 16 points, and James Blackmon Jr., who had 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds. De’Ron Davis and Juwan Morgan, meanwhile, provided solid production off the bench. They combined for 11 points, six rebounds and three blocks.
“Davis hit some big free throws down the stretch and a big lay-up,” said Newkirk, who scored 10 points. “De’Ron was on the glass. De’Ron played very well on (Justin) Jackson, and both of them contributed well.”
Indiana has now beaten North Carolina and Kansas. The Hoosiers beat the then-No. 3, now-No. 4 Jayhawks, 103-99, in overtime to open the season.
“We just want to keep building,” Newkirk said. “It was great to get them wins. We got to return Friday and bring the same energy and effort and get a win on Friday, too.”
The Hoosiers (5-1) host SIU-Edwardsville (4-3) on Dec. 2. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET.