INDIANAPOLIS -- You can call it ugly, you can call it workmanlike and you can call it uninspiring.
But you also have to call it another win.
Enduring one of their worst shooting games of the season (42 percent), the Hoosiers (10-0) won a physical, half-court kind of contest over Notre Dame (7-5) Saturday, 69-58.
"When you go through a season you've got to take what the game gives you and you're going to get in a lot of different types of games. And this was a grinder," Hoosier coach Tom Crean said.
After taking a back seat to the perimeter players in last week's upset of top-ranked Kentucky, freshman big man Cody Zeller was back at center stage Saturday night, scoring 21 points to lead the Hoosiers.
The Irish got off to a hot start with Alex Dragicevich hitting a trio of three-pointers to make the score 9-4.
Two free throws by Jack Cooley put the Irish up 15-6 with 13:10 left in the half, but the Hoosiers then began to chip away.
The first part of the equation was Zeller, who scored 10 points in the first 10 minutes. He finished the half with 14 in 15 minutes.
"I don't think we did a very good job of defending (Zeller) early," Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. "We got caught behind him deep. I thought he got a lot of stuff on the offensive boards to get himself started.
Even bigger, though, was the Hoosier defense. An Eric Atkins layup with 14:33 left was the last field goal the Irish hit in the first half.
The drought last into the second half for a total of 16:06.
Senior Jordan Hulls said the good defense was no accident.
"That's been a basis of this year that defense comes first," Hulls said. "That'll create more offense, and if our offense isn't going, you can always play more defense."
With the more deliberate pace working for them, the Hoosiers erased the Irish lead and built a 26-20 halftime advantage.
The pace picked up for a higher scoring second half, but the Irish could never gain much traction. Each time they'd look to make a run, the Hoosier defense would make a stop and Zeller would make another play on the offensive end.
"He's really a talented kid and he's got great footwork and can spin off you and we could not defend him tonight," Brey said.
The Hoosiers had three other double-digit scorers -- Victor Oladipo with 16, Hulls with 12 and Christian Watford with 10.
Atkins led the Irish with 15, followed by Jeran Grant's 14 and Jack Cooley's 12. Dragicevich scored the first nine Irish points and was silent the rest of the way.
In a slightly disjointed game that saw the teams combine for 45 fouls, Crean was happy to be walking away with another victory.
"The pace was not exactly what we would have liked it, but it was never at a point where we felt we had to do something to change it," Crean said.
Indiana is 10-0 for the first time since the 1989-90 season.
At Conseco Fieldhouse
2011 Crossroads Classic
Notre Dame 20 38 -- 58
Indiana 26 43 -- 69
NOTRE DAME (7-5) Atkins 5-12 5-6 15, Dragicevich 3-6 0-0 9, Martin 1-4 4-8 6, Grant 2-10 9-10 14, Cooley 4-5 4-5 12, Connaughton 1-3 0-1 2, Knight 0-1 0-2 0, Brooks 0-1 0-0 0, Broghammer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-42 22-32 58.
INDIANA (10-0) Hulls 4-9 2-2 12, Watford 2-9 6-6 10, Oladipo 6-7 3-5 16, Jones III 1-5 2-3 4, Zeller 8-14 5-6 21, Sheehey 1-7 0-0 2, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Abell 1-2 0-0 2, Pritchard 0-0 0-0 0, Elston 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 24-57 18-22 69.
Halftime-Indiana 26-20. 3-Point Goals-Notre Dame 4-11 (Dragicevich 3-5, Grant 1-4, Connaughton 0-1, Martin 0-1), Indiana 3-7 (Hulls 2-2, Oladipo 1-2, Jones III 0-1, Elston 0-2). Fouled Out-Cooley. Rebounds-Notre Dame 28 (Martin 7), Indiana 40 (Sheehey 9). Assists-Notre Dame 9 (Grant 4), Indiana 9 (Hulls 3). Total Fouls-Notred Dame 20, Indiana 25. A-19,064.