#13/14 Indiana Wins Double Overtime Thriller Over Illinois, 83-79
Feb. 8, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Sophomore Armon Bassett scored 11 of his 16 points in the second overtime and freshman Eric Gordon's key defensive play following a near-costly turnover allowed No. 13/14 Indiana to rally and beat Illinois 83-79 Thursday in a double overtime thriller for the Hoosiers' fourth Big Ten road win of the season. It was the fourth straight game between the two teams to be decided by four points, and second overtime contest in the last three meetings.
Bassett hit a three-pointer with 3:38 to go in the second overtime to give the Hoosiers the lead for good at 74-71. He would later add eight free throws in eight attempts as Indiana notched its first win in Champaign since 1999.
"Armon hit big shots," said IU Coach Kelvin Sampson. "Illinois does a great job of taking you out of running sets or running your offense. Do a great job of denying entry passes. So we stuck our shooters in the corner, especially Bassett. They kept pushing E.J. to his left hand so we put Bassett on his left side and E.J. did a great job of either turning the corner or getting an angle and getting to the free throw line or kicking it to Armon. And Armon hit some huge shots. Maybe none more important than the free throws."
Gordon scored a team-high 19 points and his three-pointer off the glass forced overtime at 63-63 with 25 seconds to go in regulation after being booed the entire game whenever he touched the ball. Illinois senior Shaun Pruitt missed the front end of a one-and-one with four ticks to go and IU called a timeout to try and win the game in regulation. However, a desperation shot by IU freshman Jordan Crawford from near midcourt was off the mark.
"I wasn't really worried about (the crowd)," Gordon said. "The only thing I worried about was trying to get a win. It was a big road win for us, and we've got to move on to the next game."
In the first overtime, Illinois jumped out to a 66-63 lead, but back-to-back triples from Crawford gave Indiana a 69-66 lead with 1:52 to go in OT. Crawford would finish with 18 points, a season-high for a non-starter this season. UI freshman Demetri McCamey buried a long three to tie the score with 1:03 to go, but both teams missed opportunities for the win at the free throw line. The Hoosiers' Jamarcus Ellis missed two charity tosses with 28 seconds to go and Pruitt rattled the rim for the Illini on a pair of freebies with 2.2 seconds to go.
After Bassett gave the Hoosiers a three-point lead in the second OT, Calvin Brock cut the lead to 74-73 on a jumper with 2:47 left. Following an IU miss, Illinois had a chance to regain the lead but Crawford blocked a McCamey shot and Jeff Jordan missed a jumper for the Illini as Ellis, who finished with a team-high 11 boards started the break for IU.
Bassett would be fouled on the drive and drill a pair of free throws to make it 76-73 with 1:52 to go. Pruitt would connect on one of two attempts to cut the lead to 74-72, but Gordon would counter with a free throw on his second attempt that would make it 77-74 with 1:14 left.
Brock would miss a jumper and Bassett grabbed the board and was fouled. He sank two more free throws to make it 79-74 with 59 seconds left. Brock would hit a runner with 37 seconds left to cut the lead to 79-76 and Gordon was called for a 10 second violation with 27 seconds to go giving the Illini one last shot. Ten seconds later, Gordon would slap the ball off the thigh of McCamey and IU would regain possession. Bassett would step up again with two free throws to make it 81-76.
After McCamey, who finished with a game-high 31 points, drained his seventh three-pointer of the game to make it 81-79 with six seconds left. Bassett again would be fouled and hit two more free throws a second later and IU would improve to 19-3 overall and 8-1 in the league.
The Hoosiers looked like they were ready from the opening tip and took a 4-0 lead on baskets by senior D.J. White, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, and Ellis who had nine points, three steals and 11 rebounds.
Illinois would take its first lead on a McCamey triple with 14:00 to go in the half to make it 10-9. They built their biggest lead of the half at 29-23 on a jumper by Brock, but White would hit a jumper and the Illini went into the locker room with a 29-25 advantage.
"I was concerned the first half because they were making all those threes," said Sampson. "We had committed to playing the zone but in the second half our defense got better. When we went man to man it really helped us. And even some of the shots they made were tough shots, contested shots. That was just a toughness game."
The rowdy Illinois faithful enjoyed it when the home team came out hot to start the half and built their biggest lead of the game at 42-30 with 16:33 to go. A putback by junior Kyle Taber got the Hoosiers within 10, but Illinois still led 59-54 with just under four minutes to go.
White would hit his first free throw attempt but missed the second and the Hoosiers grabbed the rebound. White would then be called for his fourth foul on a near conventional three-point play, but was whistled for the offensive foul.
Following a defensive stop, senior Lance Stemler hit a clutch long ball from the corner to make it 59-58 with 2:53 left. The Illini, who shot 47.1% from the line, missed an opportunity to extend the lead and Gordon would nail two free throws to give Indiana its first advantage at 60-59 with 2:03 to go.
After an Illini turnover, Indiana could not convert on its next offensive possession and the hosts regained the lead on a jumper by McCamey. Chester Frazier would add a pair of free throws for Illinois with 40 ticks to go to set up Gordon's game tying shot off the glass 15 seconds later.
"It did not surprise me that it came down to be so close," said Sampson. "We played Illinois three times last year and they could have won all three times but could have we. Then the game this year in Bloomington, Illinois could have easily won that one."
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