Hoosiers Edged by In-state Rival Butler
Nov. 14, 2006
INDIANAPOLIS - D.J. White scored 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting, but the Indiana basketball team was unseated by in-state rival Butler, 60-55, at Conseco Fieldhouse on Tuesday, Nov. 14, in the NIT Season Tip-Off. The Bulldogs went on a 17-2 run late in the second half to improve to 3-0 and advance to New York for the Tip-Off semifinals.
Senior guard Rod Wilmont had his second straight game in double figures, netting 14 points on four three-pointers for the Hoosiers. White and Wilmont each grabbed seven rebounds to lead the team, while Ben Allen A.J. Ratliff and Lance Stemler each grabbed five boards in the contest.
"It was a disappointing loss," Head Coach Kelvin Sampson said. "I thought that our kids, our defense was great. I thought our rebounding was great. The game came down to two things. We put them on the line too much - 26 times on the line is too much. Twenty turnovers are too much. I thought our defense was great, our rebounding was great, we just have to play smarter."
The Bulldogs were led by A.J. Graves, who scored just four field goals on the day but went 10-for-10 from the free throw line to net a team-leading 20 points. Mike Green added eight points from the charity stripe in a game that featured 45 combined fouls. The Bulldogs took full advantage, going 21-of-26 from the free throw line on the game.
The first half featured numerous fouls, strong defense and unforced errors by both teams, with the squads combining for 20 turnovers in the half. A day after posting just four points in eight minutes, White rebounded by scoring 10 of the Hoosiers' first 12 points, as IU built a 12-11 lead midway through the opening half. White found the bottom of the net on three of his first four shots and hit all of his first four free throws 10 minutes in.
The two teams continued to fight back-and-forth toward the close of the half, with IU going on a 14-8 run late in the frame to take a 26-23 lead into the locker room. Wilmont drained a pair of threes in the final eight minutes of the half, with the second giving IU a five-point lead, its largest of the opening 20 minutes.
With the score tied at 30, the Hoosiers opened up a 17-5 run, with the exclamation point coming on a Wilmont three-pointer to put IU up 45-35. On IU's next possession, Butler was assessed a technical foul, and Stemler nailed both free throws to give the Hoosiers a 12-point lead midway through the second half.
The Bulldogs, however, refused to quit and went on the definitive run to take a five-point lead with under four minutes to play. After an offensive tip-in by Willie Veasley gave Butler its first lead since 13-12, Graves made a steal and stormed in on a fast break. The officials called Armon Bassett for an intentional foul, giving Graves two free throws and the ball. After Graves sank both, a jumper by Brandon Crone extended the lead to 54-49 before a White putback stopped the bleeding for the Hoosiers.
Indiana pulled within one on another basket by White, but a three-pointer by Crone from the right wing increased the Bulldog lead to four. After Mike Green missed a pair of free throws, a two-point jumper by Stemler made the score 57-55 with 41.1 seconds to play.
On Butler's final possession, the Hoosiers played strong defense, forcing Graves to heave up a desperation three from 22 feet with the shot clock about to expire. But the ball caromed off the backboard and into the net with five seconds to play to give the Bulldogs the victory.
Butler advances to New York City, where it will face Tennessee in the Tipoff semifinals on Wednesday, Nov. 22. Indiana returns to action on Friday, Nov. 17, for a matchup with Indiana State on Branch McCracken Court. Game time is set for 8 p.m. against the Sycamores.
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