Indiana Falls in Heartbreaker to Rival Kentucky, 59-54
Dec. 9, 2006
LEXINGTON, Ky. - In a contest that saw 14 lead changes, the Indiana men's basketball team suffered a 59-54 heartbreaking loss to border rival Kentucky (6-3) at UK's Rupp Arena (23,000) on Saturday, Dec. 9. In the 50th meeting between the two powerhouse programs, junior D.J. White led all scorers, tying a career-high with 23 points to go along with nine rebounds and four blocks. The Hoosiers tallied a season-high 11 steals and maintained their streak of outrebounding their opponent for the eighth consecutive game.
Wilmont scored in double figures for the fifth time this season, registering 13 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers which tied the game at 47 late in the second half. As a team, the Hoosiers shot 31 percent (22-of-72) from the field and dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Wildcats, 42-39.
Despite getting off to a somewhat slow start in which the Hoosiers missed their first five shots, senior Errek Suhr's steal under the Kentucky basket set up a jumper from Wilmont to give Indiana its first lead of the game (7-6) with 15:45 on the clock. Wilmont followed the bucket with IU's second steal of the contest, before driving to the basket to draw the foul, extending the Hoosiers' lead to 8-6. The Miramar, Fla., native accounting for five of Indiana's first eight points.
The Hoosier defense rose to the occasion in the early part of the game, forcing the Wildcats to turn the ball over three times in the first six minutes.
After Kentucky cut Indiana's lead to 11-9, D.J. White registered the basket and foul to return the Hoosiers' lead to five. White struck again on the ensuing possession to put IU up, 16-9. The Wildcats finally responded with their first field goal in 7:15 on the next possession to pull Kentucky within five again with 8:33 remaining in the opening half.
Following an 8-0 run in which Kentucky regained the 17-16 lead, White snapped the run and returned the advantage to the Hoosiers after he followed senior Earl Calloway deep into the lane to score off a left-handed tip for the one point lead.
To close the first half, the two boarder rivals traded baskets and the lead. The Hoosiers headed into the lockeroom trailing, 28-26, despite a dunk from White in the half's final play.
At the half, White led all scorers with 15 points and a pair of blocks, while the Hoosiers, led by junior Lance Stemler's six boards, outrebounded the Wildcats, 22-18. Additionally, IU recorded six first-half steals.
Kentucky opened the second half with six straight points, before junior A.J. Ratliff stole the ball and tipped it in to cut the Wildcats' lead to 34-30 with just over 17 minutes left in the second period.
With 15:43, Suhr knocked down IU's second 3-pointer of the day to cut Kentucky's lead to one (34-33), before Indiana recaptured the lead on its next possession, as Calloway got loose and scored by taking advantage of a wide-open lane.
Trailing 36-35, Calloway scored off a short jumper, before stealing the ball to set up Ratliff who was in place to tip in a missed 3-point attempt to go up 39-36 with 13 minutes left in the half, marking the 13th time the lead changed in the game.
The lead changed hands once again, as Kentucky responded with a 9-0 run through 10:31 to claim the 45-39 advantage, before White snapped the Wildcat streak with a short jumper.
Wilmont cut UK's lead in half (47-44), as he drained Indiana's third 3-pointer of the day. Wilmont knocked down another one on the Hoosiers' next possession to tie the game at 47 with 6:30 on the clock.
A basket and a trio of free throws from Morris and Ramel Bradley returned lead back to the Wildcats, 51-47, with five minutes left in regulation, but a tip from White off a free-throw attempt from Calloway trimmed Kentucky's lead back down to one (51-50) on the next possession.
After the Wildcats went up five (57-52) with just over two minutes remaining in the contest, redshirt freshman Joey Shaw recorded his first steal of the game, before cutting UK's lead to 57-54 with the put back with 1:48 left in the game.
Despite a relentless effort in the final minute of the game, the Hoosiers could not overcome the Wildcats, falling 59-54 in the 50th meeting between the two boarder rivals.
The Hoosiers return to the hardwood, as they welcome Southern Illinois to Assembly Hall on Dec. 17. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. EST and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
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