Hoosiers Nearly Pull Off Record Rally, But Fall 72-67 To Loyola (Maryland)
Dec. 22, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind.--The Indiana men's basketball team rallied from a 24-point deficit to take a three-point lead, but visiting Loyola (Maryland) regained its composure and pulled off a 72-67 win over the Hoosiers in Assembly Hall, Tuesday night.
The visiting Greyhounds scored the game's first 15 points and led 46-22 with 1:38 to go in the first half before the Hoosiers scored the final six points of the period to go into the locker room behind, 46-28 after freshman Jordan Hulls hit a three-pointer at the buzzer. NCAA records show the largest halftime deficit the Hoosiers have overcome in their history was a 45-26 led held by Indiana State on November 14, 1998. IU went on to win that game, 76-70.
"There are so many lessons that we are going through, and this one, this is a hard one in a lot of respects," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "We just spent a lot of time talking about what we need to learn from it. It was a tale of two games more than any game I have ever seen."
The Hoosiers found themselves in an early hole thanks to 14 first half turnovers which resulted in 20 points off those miscues in the first 20 minutes. Loyola shot 58.6 percent from the field, while IU hit on just eight of 24 shots for 33 percent.
The second half didn't start much better for the Hoosiers, twice the Greyhounds built a 22-point advantage and led 58-38 with 14:10 to go, before IU went to a full court trap and began their comeback.
"We showed our capabilities at times tonight and glimpses of the future of what we are cable of," added Crean. But also showed exactly what our inexperience and lack of understanding and youthfulness is in reality."
Freshman Maurice Creek hit back-to-back three pointers and sophomore Verdell Jones III added a third to make it 58-47 two minutes later. Creek added a conventional three-point play, Jones III knocked in two free throws and junior Jeremiah Rivers added another free throw and the deficit was cut to 58-53 with 9:39 left.
A Creek steal and a feed to sophomore Tom Pritchard for a dunk made it 60-56 and IU tied the game at 62-62 with 5:23 left on another pair of free throws from Jones III.
Rivers, who finished with a team-high 15 points, nailed a jumper and was fouled. His ensuing free throw gave IU its largest lead of the game at 65-62. Loyola would tie the game at 65-65 on a layup by Brett Harvey and after a jumper by Jones III, who had 14 for IU, would give IU its last lead at 67-65 with 2:55 to go.
Harvey then connected on a three-pointer and a free throw with 1:50 to go to give the Greyhounds a 69-67 edge they would not relinquish.
"There was not a doubt in my mind that we were not going to come back and win this," said Crean. "It was not the halftime you would have thought it was either. There was no talk about anything other than coming back and winning this game. They played together in a very big way. In the end we made a couple of costly mistakes."
Had IU completed the comeback and garnered the win, it would have been the largest deficit the Hoosiers had ever overcome to win according to the NCAA record book.
IU will host Bryant on Monday, December 28 at 9 p.m.
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