Men's Basketball

    Indiana Loses Back And Forth Game To George Mason, 69-66

    Go Hoosiers! Verdell Jones III
    Go Hoosiers!
    Verdell Jones III
    Go Hoosiers!

    Nov. 22, 2009

    Post-game Press Conference 

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    SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - The Indiana men's basketball team battled the George Mason University Patriots (3-2) right down to the end, but in the end it was Cam Long's deep three-pointer that banked in with five seconds left that proved to be the difference in a 69-66 victory over the Hoosiers (2-3) in the seventh place game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tipoff on Sunday.

    Indiana was led by Maurice Creek's 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field. Verdell Jones III also scored in double figures with 13 points to go along with four assists, three rebounds and three steals. Freshman Christian Watford was the third Hoosier in double figures with 10 points and freshman Bobby Capobianco provided a key spark off the bench with seven points and 10 rebounds, both season highs.

    "The second half we played much better and finally started to look like a team," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. "We played our best half of basketball and grew up. That doesn't mean we didn't make mistakes and we didn't miss shots and didn't have turnovers, but we started to grow up. And that's exactly what has to happen as we move forward with this team and we are going to continue to build on that."

    Indiana outrebounded George Mason, 43-38, including 18 on the offensive end, and hit 21-of-28 free throws, which is a season high.

    The game featured 11 ties and 25 lead changes with the biggest lead for either team being a 36-30 IU lead just 55 seconds into the second half. The Patriots took a three-point lead on a Luke Hancock triple but the Hoosiers battled back to tie the game a 65-65 thanks to a free throw by Jeremiah Rivers and a pair of made free throws by Christian Watford with 44 seconds left.

    The Patriots then worked the shot clock down to its final ticks before Cam Long was forced to launch a three-pointer from the left wing that banked in as the shot clock expired to give GMU a 68-65 lead with just five seconds left. The Patriots then fouled the Hoosiers with three seconds left so they could not get a game-tying three- point attempt off. Rivers went to the line and made the first and then intentionally missed the next to give IU a chance for a putback, but GMU came up with the rebound to seal the win.

    The first half was back and forth with both teams holding the lead on a couple different occasions, including a 31-26 lead for Indiana with two minutes left in the half but George Mason trimmed the IU lead to just one at 31-30 going into halftime. Although the Hoosiers only shot 29 percent in the first half, they were able to use a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line to hold onto the lead.

    To start the second half, it was the Maurice Creek show for Indiana as he scored five points in the first minute to give the Hoosiers a 36-30 lead, the biggest of the game for either team. The Patriots rallied back to take the lead as the teams then traded baskets until a three-point play by Capobianco gave the Hoosiers s 53-50 lead with 8:30 left.

    GMU regained the lead a 60-59 with 3:25 remaining the game but Creek would strike again with his second three-point field goal of the game to give IU a 62-60 lead with less than three minutes. GMU scored the next five points to take the lead and setup Long's last-second triple.

    Long led GMU with 18 points and Mike Morrison added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Patriots.

    Indiana returns home to face Northwestern State on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.




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