BLOOMINGTON | Will Sheehey scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half, making the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:47 left to lead Indiana past pesky LIU-Brooklyn 73-72 on Tuesday.
Indiana (2-0) continued its home mastery against nonconference foes barely avoiding a stunning upset to the three-time defending Northeast Conference champs.
The Hoosiers trailed most of the night and survived largely because of Sheehey's late scoring binge. He tied the score at 70 with 2:43 to go, then hit another 3 to make it 73-70.
LIU-Brooklyn (1-1) had two chances to win it in the closing seconds, but Jason Brickman missed a layup. And after Indiana missed the front end of a one-and-one, Brickman's buzzer-beating 3-pointer came up short. Troy Joseph led the Blackbirds with 16 points.
It was a far tougher challenge than most fans expected.
LIU-Brooklyn led for most of the night and dared the Hoosiers to knock down 3s throughout the second half by playing zone almost exclusively after the Hoosiers missed their last 15 3s in the first half.
And it worked right up until the end when Sheehey got hot.
For the Hoosiers, it was a ragged night. Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell and Noah Vonleh each had 17 points and Vonleh added 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double.
Gilbert Parga and E.J. Reed each had 15 points for the Blackbirds, who forced the Hoosiers to play catch-up most of the night after they went on a 14-0 run to wipe out 10-4 Hoosiers lead.
The Hoosiers rallied late in the first half, closing to 36-33 at the half.
But Indiana played a much different game in the second half. By continually driving to the basket and dishing, the Hoosiers started getting easier baskets. They finally regained the lead when Sheehey knocked down a 15-footer with 17:33 to go.
LIU-Brooklyn refused to back down. It took a 50-46 lead with 13:05 and they were tied again with 10 minutes to go. It didn't swing until late when Hoosiers fans began celebrating after the second of Sheehey's back-to-back 3s. Brickman answered with two free throws and the Hoosiers hung on despite failing to score over the final 1:57.