Hoosiers Fall to Wildcats, 70-64
Feb. 19, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana came back from 10 down at halftime to tie the game twice in the final moments against Northwestern, but the Wildcats hung on to steal a win on the road, 70-64, at Assembly Hall on Saturday night. Verdell Jones III led IU with 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting and six assists. Jordan Hulls finished with 14 points and Christian Watford added 11 in the effort.
"Our biggest problem tonight was exposed in the first half when there's not enough team accountability on the defensive end and a coach can sub and try to do that. We can practice all week and we can have great practices and all those types of things, but defensive-minded players do not accept when teammates on the court are not defending the way that they need to defend," said IU head coach Tom Crean. "Again, it has got to be a mindset that players bring to one another. I'm disappointed in our first half defense. I'm disappointed that the sellout crowd watched us defend so poorly especially with the 3's that we gave up. There wasn't a doubt in my mind that we'd come back, that's what we do, but it never should have gotten to that point. Scoring points was not going to be an issue for us when we drove the ball and when we made the next pass."
The Hoosiers (12-15, 3-11) jumped out to a 13-9 lead with 13:21 to go in the first half. Alex Marcotullio hit a layup to bring Northwestern within two, but a Will Sheehey put back layup kept IU up by four, 15-11, with 11:31 on the clock.
Marcotullio hit from long range then John Shurna scored a layup to take a 16-15 lead with 10:45 to go in the first half. Hulls and Jeremiah Rivers answered with back-to-back jumpers to regain a three-point lead for the Hoosiers, 19-16, with 8:44 on the clock. However, a 3-pointer from Michael Thompson sparked a 21-7 Northwestern run to give the Wildcats a 40-30 lead at the break.
Indiana came out of the locker room with a purpose using a 13-4 run over the first 5:13 of the half to cut the NU deficit to one, 44-43, with 14:47 remaining. Shurna silenced that initial IU push with a 3-point field goal to rebuild the lead to four again for Northwestern.
Later in the half with the Hoosiers trailing, 52-50, Jones found a cutting Derek Elston who slammed it home to tie the game. But it was Shurna again who hit from long range to put the Wildcats ahead again, 55-52, with 8:04 on the clock.
Indiana managed to tie the game once more at 57-57 with a Jones make from beyond the arc at the 6:42 mark. However, IU could not get a timely stop or bucket to take a lead as Northwestern outscored Indiana 13-7 in the final 6:30 of the game to pull away for the win.
The Hoosiers shot 50 percent for the game and outrebounded the Wildcats, 28-22. Northwestern made a living from the free throw line hitting 21-of-25 for the game led by Thompson's 11-of-11. Thompson led the Wildcats with 22 points and Shurna finished with 19.
Indiana will welcome rival Purdue to Assembly Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 23. The game will tip at 8:30 p.m. ET and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
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