Indiana Falls In Final Seconds To Illinois, 72-70
Jan. 30, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Indiana basketball team fought back from a 13-point first-half deficit to take the lead in the second half, but Demetri McCamey's buzzer-beating floater was the difference, as Illinois (14-8, 6-3 Big Ten) topped the Hoosiers 72-70 on Saturday. Verdell Jones III scored 22 points in the defeat for Indiana (9-11, 3-5).
"We had a great week," head coach Tom Crean said. "It's a shame to be in a situation where we did so many things right against a great team and it comes down to that last shot. There's so many plays where you can look in a game that changed the game, but this was one where it came down to the last shot, and Illinois made it."
IU also got double-digit scoring from Jordan Hulls (11 points, four rebounds) and Devan Dumes (11 points, three steals), as the Hoosiers matched a season high with nine three-pointers (9-for-23) in the game. Indiana also won the battle of the boards over the Illini, 35-33, and committed 13 turnovers to Illinois' 15.
The Hoosiers trailed by four, 70-66, with one minute to play, but IU came up big at the line in back-to-back possessions to tie the score. Jones hit both his free throws with 48 seconds left, and after a Jeremiah Rivers steal, the junior knocked down a pair at the line to tie the score with 22 seconds to play. The Hoosiers hit 13 of 14 free throws in the second half.
"The foul discrepancy was less than it was the last game, and that showed," Crean said. "We felt that we could get to the backboards, which we did. Our confidence was high. This team has to have an edge and it has to play with confidence and energy. When we don't play with as much energy and without an edge, we're not as good. But we had that today."
Indiana, which finished 19-for-23 from the line in the game, played tight defense on Illinois' last possession, forcing the home squad to take a time out with 4.4 seconds left. After denying McCamey on the perimeter, the junior fought his way through a pair of Hoosiers before tossing up his floater from just outside the key to lift Illinois to the two-point victory. The Illini improved to 11-1 at home this season.
The Hoosiers and Illini traded punches in the early going, with IU cutting the Illinois lead to two points at 17-15 with 8:59 to play in the opening frame. But U of I went on an 11-0 run before Hulls' three from the right wing stopped the skein.
Later, with the score 32-20 Illini, Jones took the Hoosiers on his back, scoring nine straight IU points and sending Indiana into the locker room with a 16-4 run. That run was capped off by Dumes' steal and half-court three at the buzzer that tied the score at 36-all heading into the break. Jones and Hulls led the way for the Hoosiers in the first stanza, scoring 11 points apiece before the break.
After IU scored the first two points of the second half, the Illini rallied to take a 47-43 lead before the Hoosiers unleashed a 10-0 run to push their edge to six points at 53-47. Consecutive threes by Jones and Derek Elston broke a 47-47 deadlock to regain the lead for the road squad.
Elston led the Hoosiers with five rebounds in the contest, while Jones led the way with five assists to just one turnover.
Indiana returns to action on Thursday night, when it plays host to arch-rival Purdue. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Assembly Hall, and the game will be televised on ESPN.
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