Hoosiers Fall Short of No. 5 Gonzaga
Dec. 6, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS - Facing its third top 25 opponent in 12 days, the Indiana men's basketball team battled, but in the end fell 70-54 to No. 5 Gonzaga at the Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Before we could talk about strategy, we had to get in our mind that we were going to come in and compete," Iu Coach Tom Crean said. "I'm very proud of them for that. They did that. They played to win, they played with a mindset, and now we have to build on it."
The Hoosiers, playing smarter on offense and with a purpose on defense, held the Zags to their lowest point total of the season.
A largely partisan Hoosier crowd, witnessing the first basketball game in newly opened Lucas Oil Stadium, saw the Cream and Crimson hang with a team in the first half that had been defeating its previous five opponents by an average margin of 21.6 points.
Freshman reserve Malik Story gave Indiana its first lead of the game on a conventional three-point play to make it 8-6 with 15:01 to go. Story would come down on the next possession and make it 10-7 with a jumper and IU had its largest lead of the game.
After the Zags stormed back to take a six-point lead, the Hoosiers used two layups and a free throw by freshman Tom Pritchard and a free throw by freshman Daniel Moore to tie the game at 19-19 with 5:12 left in the half. Gonzaga would then take a 29-24 lead into the locker room at halftime.
"When a team is playing as hard as Indiana, it's hard to get separation from them," Gonzaga Coach Mark Few said.
Gonzaga started the second half with a 10-2 run to build a 39-26 lead with 15:37 to go. However, Indiana came back and cut the lead to 41-34 with 13:21 to go on a kayup by Pritchard.
While both teams began heating up from long range, the Hoosiers cut the lead to 54-46 with 6:41 remaining on a triple by senior Kyle Taber. IU would get no closer than 60-51 on a pair of charity tosses by junior Devan Dumes with 3:35 left. He led the Hoosiers with 15 points.
Story added a career-high 14 points and four rebounds off the bench and Pritchard had 13 points, six offensive rebounds, two blocks and two steals, but was limited to 22 minutes due to foul trouble.
"I don't think we can try to teach them moral victories are okay," Crean said. "We don't want any type of losing mindsets or habits creeping into the program."
The Hoosiers also come away from the game hitting a season-high 79.2% from the line making 19 of 24 shots from the stripe. After starting the season with a -17 rebound advantage in the first three games, IU has a +7 edge on the boards in the last three games since returning from Hawaii.
"The best compliment you can give a coach is his team plays hard, and (Crean's) team is playing extremely hard," Few said. "They are young, they just don't have as many horses as they've had in the past."
IU will host TCU at 8 p.m., Wednesday, December 10 on ESPN2.
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