Indiana Edges Minnesota in OT, 81-78
Jan. 17, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.-Sophomore Verdell Jones III made a 12-foot jumper with 32.8 seconds left in overtime to give Indiana the lead and freshman Christian Watford made two free throws to seal the Hoosiers' 81-78 victory over Minnesota on Sunday.
Jones finished with a career-high 24 points. Watford had 16 points and 10 rebounds."Needless to say, I was very very proud of our effort," said IU Head Coach Tom Crean. "There were so many times in this game we could have folded up the tent and we didn't. Our energy was very good. It was good throughout the game, and the fans energy had a lot to do with that."
Minnesota had a chance to win it but Devron Bostick missed a 15-footer and Watford grabbed the rebound. Following Watford's charity tosses a desperation three-pointer by sophomore Devoe Joseph missed the mark at the buzzer.
The victory ended Indiana's three-game losing streak and IU has now won more Big Ten games than they did last season.
Minnesota (12-6, 3-3) lost for the third time in four games. Joseph led the Golden Gophers with 19 points.
The Hoosiers never trailed in regulation and Minnesota couldn't tie it until Joseph hit a 10-footer with 9.6 seconds to go.Indiana had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Watford's 16-foot jumper was strong off the rim and freshman Derek Elston's desperation tip was no good.
Joseph opened the overtime with two straight 3s, but Indiana scored the final eight points to win it.
Trailing 78-73, Jones III made two free throws with 2:00 to go in overtime, then after Minnesota's Colton Iverson was called for offensive goaltending and Jones hit another jumper to cut the lead to 78-77 with 1:15 left.
Joseph drove for a layup, but junior Jeremiah Rivers had a blocked shot and came up with the board. Jones III gave IU the lead for good with his jumper with 32 seconds left and was fouled by Joseph.
"It was one of those games that I think both teams left everything out there," said Crean. "I know that's an old cliché, but I don't think there is any doubt about that. The number one key for us today was the rebounding."
The Hoosiers outrebounded Minnesota, 43-31.
IU controlled the game for most of the first half building a 32-18 lead with 5:40 to go, thanks in large part to 13 first half points by senior Devan Dumes. Minnesota made a late first-half rally and a three-pointer by the Gophers' Rodney Williams cut the IU advantage to 40-36 at halftime.
"We followed our game plan to the point that we had a lot of success with it, and then when we got away from our game plan we allowed them back in," said Crean. "We knew we were going to have to do different things defensively, because they have so many players that can make plays."
The Hoosiers started the second half on a 19-8 run and led 59-44 with 14:04 left in the game on a layup by Elston. Jones III buried a three-pointer from the corner with 7:54 remaining to give IU a 66-55 lead, but the Golden Gophers finished the game on a 15-4 run to force overtime, including two jumpers in the final 30 seconds by Joseph.
"It's a great win against an excellent basketball team. Perseverance and scrappiness are the key words for us there," noted Crean. "Like I said, at the beginning, very proud of their effort, and so incredibly thankful that we have fans that we have. The way that they stick with us is amazing. When it got to 76-71 they could have headed for the exits too, but nobody did, and that means a lot."
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