Indiana Falls to Illinois
Jan. 9, 2010
"We have some very disappointed guys in the sense they know they could do more," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "It's a very hurt locker room. When you fight like that it should be. That's got a lot to do with building your team and your program."
For the majority of the night, the crowd of 16,634 felt as though the Hoosiers were going to pull of their second win in as many Big Ten home games against a team that was nationally ranked this season.
After trailing 6-1 to start the game, Indiana wouldn't allow another field goal for more than 11 minutes as freshman Jordan Hulls scored eight straight points to give IU a 9-8 lead with 15:17 left in the half. From that point on, Indiana would hold the Illini to 3 of 16 shooting from the field, in building up a lead as big as 41-26 late in the first half.
"We did come out and we really competed inside of this game," said Crean. "They deserve credit because they did make plays."
Freshman Christian Watford opened the second half with a dunk, but Illinois ran off nine straight points to get within 43-37. While the teams traded baskets for most of the second half, Jones answered with a three-point play, Indiana was ahead 54-44 with 10:06 to go.
The Illini went on a 13-3 run, scoring seven points on free throws, and finally tied the score at 57 when Mike Davis found Mike Tisdale cutting in for a dunk with 4:36 to go. Illinois finally took the lead until Richardson knocked down the 17-footer with 1:10 left to make it 61-60.
Tisdale and Demetri McCamey combined to make 24-of-30 free throws Saturday night. Tisdale led the Fighting Illini with 27 points and nine rebounds. McCamey came off the bench to score 19 points.
The Hoosiers were led by Verdell Jones with 13 points and Hulls, who matched his season high with 12 points. Watford and senior Devan Dumes also added 10 points.
However the difference in this one, clearly, was free-throw shooting. Indiana was called for 28 fouls, and Illinois capitalized by making 27-of-39 free-throw attempts. The Hoosiers, meanwhile, were 10-of-18 from the line and blew a 15-point first-half lead. Indiana, which already has more wins this season than in coach Tom Crean's first season in Bloomington, had a chance to top last year's Big Ten victory total Saturday.
"Well, there were two teams fighting tonight and fortunately we were one of them," said Crean. "Believe it or not, that's over half the battle in the stages of competing and trying to get people to understand what it takes to do that. We didn't shoot it as well the second half. It wasn't shot selection as much as it was shots didn't go in."
The Hoosiers will return to action Thursday night at Michigan.
"I am not pleased, I am not happy, and It's not a moral victory," said Crean. "We fought and every chance that we get that, we have to build on that. It's not natural, but every day that we do that, we have to come back and do it again. I cannot wait until our next practice."
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