Hoosiers Pull Ahead Of Michigan, 71-65
Dec. 31, 2009
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -Jeremiah Rivers' three-point play with 1:12 to go broke a 61-61 tie, and Indiana, thanks to six free throws from Jordan Hulls int he final 23 seconds, held on to defeat Michigan 71-65 Thursday.
The Hoosiers (7-6, 1-0 Big Ten) eclipsed their win total of six from last season and equaled the number of wins they had in the Big Ten a year ago with a patchwork roster.
"This was a game that, for so many reasons, we wanted to leave it feeling good about themselves," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "The great thing about it is that they weren't going to feel good about it without a win, and they got it, and they earned it. I thought they had very good poise under pressure."
Michigan, which rallied from a 20-point deficit last year in the second half, only to win in overtime, picked up last year where they left off in Assembly Hall making four of their first five three-point field goals in building a 17-9 lead with 12:20 to go in the first half and a 21-14 lead with 10:44 left.
"Our whole mindset going into this game was that we are going to have to play with great toughness," said Crean. "We were going to have to have great conditioning and hopefully it would pay off this game. Because when you are playing Michigan, you are playing against a team that has as good a passing game as there is in the Big Ten conference."
Senior Devan Dumes hit a three-pointer with 1:02 left before halftime and Indiana went into the locker room with a 34-28 advantage.
The Wolverines started the half with an 8-2 run and tied the game at 36-36 when junior Manny Harris hit a three-pointer with 18:16 to go. The Hoosiers would extend the lead to 42-36 on a Dumes layup with 14:56 to go. Twice, Michigan would cut the lead to a point, the second time at 44-43 on a jumper by DeShawn Sims with 11:35 left.
IU would score the next six points and led 50-43 with 9:12 to go after sophomore Tom Pritchard layed the ball in. However, Michigan would not go away quietly and regained the lead at 56-55 on a three-pointer by Zack Novak with 3:15 to go. He finished with 18 points to lead the Maize and Blue.
Watford would give the lead back to IU with 2:58 left and sophomore Verdell Jones III would make it 59-56 with 2:33 to go with a basket. Jones III would lead the Hoosiers with 20 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.
Novak would tie the game at 59-59 on three free throws by Novak with 1:57 to go. Jones would two more free throws of his own to make it 61-59 with 1:39 to go and Harris would tie the game back up 14 seconds later on a pair of charity tosses.
Rivers drove to the basket and made an acrobatic shot and was fouled by Sims, who fouled out of the game. He added the free throw to give IU the lead for good. Watford would get a steal with 48 seconds left and Jones III made one of two free throws to give IU a 65-61 lead.
Hulls would sandwich six free throws in between baskets by Harris and Zack Gibson to account for the final margin.
For Indiana, Watford added 19 points in his first Big Ten game, Dumes had 11 points and Hulls added 11 points, five rebounds and two assists. Rivers led the Hoosiers with nine caroms.
"We had a lot of good basketball from a lot of different people," Crean noted. "Whoever went in the game today, it was positive. We matched down with them numerous times throughout the game, which is probably going to have to happen throughout the year, just like we may go big certain times throughout the year."
The Hoosiers will visit Ohio State next Wednesday in Columbus. The game will tip-off at 9 p.m.
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