Hoosiers Drop Heartbreaker To No. 21 Minnesota, 67-63
Jan. 25, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -Damian Johnson had 18 points and six rebounds, and Ralph Sampson III finished with 13 points to help No. 21 Minnesota hold off Indiana 67-63 on Sunday. Sampson made two key inside plays in the final four minutes of the game and Johnson's layup in between kept the Hoosiers at arms length as the hosts tried to rally for the win.
"This was the first time probably all year where I looked at this team and it was the culmination of the whole week of them really building up not only a preparation to win, not only a desire to win, but the belief the would win," said Indiana Coach Tom Crean. "This is one of the tougher ones to swallow. They all are. They are miserable for every coach and everybody that is a part of it."
Trailing 58-57 with 5:07 to go, freshman Malik Story grabbed a rebound and went the length of the court before being called for a charging foul. Sampson would up the lead for the Gophers to 60-57 before Story drained a mid-range shot to make it 60-59 with 3:54 left.
Layups by Johnson and Sampson would boost the lead to 64-59 with 1:52 remaining. Story would hit a baseline jumper and was fouled on the play making 64-61 with just over a minute to play. He could not convert the conventional three-point play.
After a Gopher turnover, freshman Nick Williams would hit a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 64-63 with 29 seconds left. Minnesota's Al Nolen would knock down a pair of charity tosses of his own to make it 66-63 setting up Indiana who tried to tie it up on a Devan Dumes three-pointer, but the attempt hit off the back of the rim. Paul Carter would make one of two free throws with two seconds left to seal the win.
"There is no question we are participating in our own situation here with missed foul shots and giving up offensive rebound and letting people cut in front of us late in the game," added Crean. "To me, the belief that we can win, especiallywhen you are 0-5, that is pretty important. And we have to continue to build on that."
Dumes led the Hoosiers with 19 and Story added 14, which matched his season-high effort that he accomplished against Gonzaga.
"(Today we saw) a sense of urgency (in Malik)," Crean added. "That is the bottom line. We want guys to understand it means a great deal to play here, to compete here. And Malik is a very capable player. It certainly doesn't help our basketball team when he only plays three minutes, like he did last week. But it wasn't helping our basketball team the way he was playing inside of those minutes. "It was very important that he had a great week, and he did. And it is very important now that he build on it."
The Hoosiers led throughout most of the first half thanks to hitting their first five attempts from three-point range. Story would hit a triple to make it 17-11 with 9:03 left in the half and after an offensive rebound by IU's Brett Finkelmeier, Dumes would add a layup to make it 19-11 with 8:06 to go.
"Our fans are loving it, and I can't tell you enough about what that means," said Crean. "To see our crowd the way that it is, and to see them engaged the way they are and how loud it is; there is going to be a day where we don't kill our own momentum. We are going to get that corrected. But out crowd they turn right back around and cheer again. And you just can't ask for more."
The Gophers took a 31-27 lead with five seconds to go in the first half, but freshman Verdell Jones III would drill a shot from halfcourt to cut the lead to 31-30 at intermission and brought the season-high crowd of 16,539 to their feet.
Indiana will travel to Northwestern to take on the Wildcats, Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m., Eastern. The Hoosiers will be back in Assembly Hall next Saturday for a 4 p.m., game against Ohio State.
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