Wilmont's Clutch Three-Pointers Lift IU Over No. 21 Purdue
Jan. 27, 2004BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Redshirt freshman reserve guard Roderick Wilmont knocked down two three-pointers in the final minute of play and Indiana knocked off rival and 21st-ranked Purdue, 63-58, Tuesday night in front of a raucous capacity crowd at Assembly Hall. With their fifth straight win, the Hoosiers moved into sole possession of first place (a half game ahead of Wisconsin) in the Big Ten Conference with tonight's victory over the Boilermakers and improved to 11-6 overall and 5-1 in league play. The Boilermakers slipped to 14-5 and 4-2.
Indiana jumped out to an early lead on Purdue behind the senior leadership of A.J. Moye and George Leach. The pair combined to score 12 of IU's first 14 points in the game. The Hoosiers led for the entire first stanza, building their lead to as many as 13 at 33-20 when junior Donald Perry nailed a three-pointer with 3:41 to go before the break. Purdue fought back, slicing Indiana's advantage to six at the half on Brett Buscher's lay-up as time expired. Moye and Leach led the Hoosiers with nine and eight points, respectively, heading into the locker room as IU led, 36-29.
"We got off to a great start tonight," head coach Mike Davis said. "Our guys made shots. I thought George (Leach) and (A.J.) Moye came out and played well early. I thought Bracey was a little wound up tonight and couldn't make plays early in the game because he knew Purdue, defensively, was a tough basketball team. But late in the game he made some really big shots for us."
In the second half, Purdue continued to chip at Indiana's lead and finally took its first lead of the game at 45-43 with 11:20 remaining. From there, it was back and fourth with the lead changing 12 times.
With 2:45 to play, a Bracey Wright jumper put the Hoosiers on top, at 54-53. The Boilers answered as Ivan Kartelo scored two of 12 points to regain the lead. Wright stepped up again on the next trip down court. With the shot clock winding down, this week's Big Ten Player of the Week knocked down a second jump shot to make it 56-55, Indiana.
The Hoosier defense got a stop. With 1:18 to play, IU retained possession of a tie ball. Wright worked on his defender agagin, but dished to Wilmont just to the right of the top of the key. Wilmont drained the trifecta to give Indiana a 59-55 advantage with 59 seconds showing on the clock. Purdue wasn't finished. The Boilers responded with a David Teague three-pointer to pull within one with 46 seconds left to play.
"I can't even explain. It feels so good," Wilmont said of his clutch shooting. "Right now, those are probably the two best shots I have taken in my career. You get a big feeling inside after you hit shots like that, and I want to come back and do it again. You have to make sure to keep your focus on the other end after you hit shots like that."
Kenneth Lowe, who left the game in the second half due to an injury, led the Boilers with 13 points. Kartelo added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Hoosiers are back on the road on Saturday, Jan. 31, to face the Michigan State Spartans at East Lansing, Mich. The game is set for an 8 p.m. tip and will be televised live on ESPN.
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