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updated: 11/9/2012 10:19 PM

Zeller leads No. 1 Indiana past Bryant 97-54

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  • Indiana's Cody Zeller dunks against Bryant's Vlad Kondratyev Friday during the second half in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana won 97-54.

      Indiana's Cody Zeller dunks against Bryant's Vlad Kondratyev Friday during the second half in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana won 97-54.
    Associated Press

Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Cody Zeller and Christian Watford gave Bryant a rude welcome to big-time college basketball

The 7-foot center had 18 points and 10 rebounds, while Watford added 15 points and 15 rebounds to lead No. 1 Indiana past the Bulldogs 97-54 on Friday night.

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Indiana (1-0) has now won 15 consecutive season openers and 28 straight home openers. And it was as dominant a performance as fans expected after the Hoosiers earned their first No. 1 ranking in 33 years.

Winning was only part of the story Friday.

Moments before tipoff Indiana athletic director Fred Glass walked onto the playing floor and announced to the sold-out crowd that the university and coach Tom Crean had agreed to a two-year extension that will increase his base salary from about $2.52 million to $3.16 million per year. The deal has not yet been signed, but will run through the 2019-20 season.

"It reminded me a lot of the political theater I used to be part of, " Glass told The Associated Press at halftime. "They (the fans) did enjoy it, and he deserves it. He's done a great job."

Bryant (0-1), a school from Rhode Island, was playing its first game as a full-time Division I member Friday, and it marked the first time the school had ever faced America's No. 1 team.

The Northeastern Conference member was overmatched. While Alex Francis finished with 15 points and Frankie Dobbs has 12, the Bulldogs had no answers for Indiana's dynamic front-line duo.

Zeller, a national player of the year candidate, had 12 points and five rebounds in the first half despite missing 4 of 6 from the free throw line, and he was such a big mismatch inside that Bryant's two tallest players -- Andrew Scocca and Vlad Kondratyev -- combined for seven fouls less than 16 minutes in. When Scocca left after picking up his fourth foul with 4:17 to go in the first half, the Bulldogs didn't have anybody taller than 6-foot-6 to match up inside the rest of the half.

The results were predictable.

Bryant hung around early against the anxious Hoosiers, even taking a brief 15-14 lead on Indiana's home court when Corey Maynard scored on a putback with 11:37 left in the first half.

Freshman Yogi Ferrell answered with two free throws to start an 11-0 lead that gave Indiana control, and after that it was no contest.

The Hoosiers followed that spurt with a 13-3 run and outscored Bryant 10-0 over the final 3:17 to take a 48-28 halftime lead.

Bryant never got any closer in the second half.

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