Thirty minutes after scoring 19 points and grabbing four steals to help Indiana beat the No. 22 team in the country, Will Sheehey stepped in front of a tough question.

A reporter asked teammate Hanner Mosquera-Perea what his performance meant to him after a couple of tough weeks, which included Mosquera-Perea's OWI arrest and subsequent two-game suspension. Before the sophomore forward could answer, his senior teammate did so for him.

What Sheehey said was boilerplate — "He's sorry for his actions obviously and he's going to move on from it. He's a great kid. It's not gonna happen again." But in IU's past two games, Sheehey has contributed 49 points, 10 rebounds and five steals. He has controlled huddles, shut down opponents' best players and shielded his own teammate.

The merits of Sheehey's impromptu answer Sunday, and whether Mosquera-Perea needed protecting, can be debated.

But any doubt over his willingness — and Indiana's need for him — to lead his team back from the ugly bottom of mid-February to NCAA tournament contention should now be erased.

"He steps up to the challenge," sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell said Sunday. "He's pretty much carried us."

Sheehey's season has been the subject of nearly as much debate as Indiana's.

Statistically, he is scoring and rebounding better than ever before. But his production has perhaps not quite measured up to what was expected of him.

Until now.

Those 49 points have caused his scoring average to jump a full point in just two games. He's shooting 66percent from the floor in that time.

"I'm not forcing anything, letting it come to me," Sheehey said. "Everyone on the floor can find me. We're really clicking."