Hoosiers Defeat Northwestern 88-80
March 6, 2010
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana got career-high scoring efforts from freshmen Jordan Hulls, Derek Elston and Bobby Capobianco, and sophomore Verdell Jones III and freshman Christian Watford also added double digit performances as the Hoosiers topped Northwestern 88-80 in overtime on Saturday on Senior Day in Assembly Hall.
Maybe we could have won it in regulation, but to hold that team to 25 percent, in the overtime, that's impressive stuff.," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "Our guys stepped up and they made plays. This was one of the games where, for the most of the game and at the end of the second half, and in the overtime, we had four freshmen and a sophomore on the floor and they played like they had been through a lot. I think that was really great for them to get this victory and I am proud of the way they played."
The game marked the final appearances at home for seniors Devan Dumes, Tijan Jobe and Brett Finkelmeier. Dumes played a key role in a 16-7 run for IU in the second half and finished with two points, two assists and four steals. Jobe made his first start of the season, and Finkelmeier played the final nine seconds and took the game's final shot.
One of the most miserable things in your basketball life is to lose on your Senior Day," said Crean. "You feel so bad for your guys, especially your older guys who are never going to play in that arena again, when you lose that game. To win it is a great feeling for them and I am so appreciative of how the fans stay for this and I really do hope that they look at these four guys that came in there and represented the program and continue to look after them when they get in into the world of business and their chosen profession down the road, because one of the greatest selling points we can have is to look back at the people who have played here. That is the biggest part of tradition, I think as anything else, is what people have done once they have left. I hope that these four as they graduate can add into that."
The Hoosiers built a 69-61 lead with 3:24 to go, but the Wildcats scored the final eight points of regulation, including a three-pointer by Michael Thompson with 1:11 to go to tie the game.
In overtime, Elston, who had 17 points and eight rebounds, made a pair of free throws and after a steal by Watford, Hulls drained his eighth three-pointer of the game to give the Hoosiers a 74-69 lead. Watford would gather a board on a miss by John Shurna, and Elston would follow up with a layup to push the advantage to seven points.
Northwestern would cut the lead to 77-73 when Hulls threw up a desperation three-pointer that missed everything but landed in the hands of Capobianco who beat the shot clock with a layup and was fouled. His free throw put IU back up by seven and he added three more free throws to finish with a career-high eight points.
"Jordan had a big air ball Bobby turned into a big shot.," said Crean. "Jordan made some big shots and I think that's going to be part of his persona at Indiana."
Northwestern scored the first five points of the game, but the Hoosiers went on a 17-7 run capped by a Jones layup to make it 17:12 with 11:54 to go in the half. Jones would finish with 18 points, five rebounds and six assists. Indiana would build a 34-26 lead on a pair of Watford charity tosses with 1:47 left and IU went into the locker room with a 34-28 lead.
Northwestern was the aggressor for the early part of the second half as the built a 51-47 lead with 11:40 to go. Indiana tied the score on a Hulls triple at 54-54 and went on an 11-2 run as IU led 65-56 with 6:10 to go.
A free throw by Jeremiah Rivers with 3:24 left gave IU a 69-61 lead as Northwestern finished regulation with their 8-0 run to force overtime.
The Hoosiers outrebounded Northwestern 44-37 and made a Big Ten high for them 10 three pointers. In addition, IU made 26 of 32 free throws and has made 50 of 62 free throws (80.6%) in the last three games.
IU will be the 10th seed in the Big Ten Tournament which starts Thursday. They will play at approximately 4:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
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