Indiana is able to hang on for a late-game win, one that certainly was important for the development of this team.
Tom Pritchard was superb in the paint, and Daniel Moore was the soul of the team.
We’ll bring you updates of what Tom Crean has to say soon after he says it.
Just noticed that a post I thought I made last night did not show up here, so you have no Tom Crean quotes.
Here’s the story that ran in our paper today, which has some.
By Chris Korman
331-4353 | [email protected]
November 19, 2008
And in its second game, the Indiana basketball team was challenged.
The Hoosiers persevered.
Though the 60-57 win came against a Summit League team â€” IUPUI â€” that was playing without its leading scorer and with a point guard whoâ€™d practiced the position all of four days, Tom Crean was so pleased with the win that he commandeered a microphone following the game to share his glee and thank the 13,174 people in attendance Tuesday night.
â€œThis is the togetherness we need to have to bring this program back to where it belongs,â€ he said. â€œOne of the best in the country.â€
Then he and his players went into the student section at the south bleachers to personally thank the fans.
Minutes later, Crean spoke of the â€œmonstrousâ€ achievement.
â€œI donâ€™t think we can describe what winning this way does for our confidence,â€ Crean said. â€œWe have to learn from all of our experiences.â€
What he hopes his players learned is how to play in a game played possession-by-possession. The Hoosiers (2-0) fared well, especially late in the game when the Jaguars (1-2) pulled within a point four times in the final 10 minutes of the game but were never able to take a lead.
But Crean thought his teamâ€™s play was an example of learning not to lose rather than knowing how to win, which is a necessary first step. He thought his team still showed a â€œlack of understanding of how important each possession is.â€
Ron Hunterâ€™s team, meanwhile, showed its own youth. Most of the teamâ€™s late game shots were set up for Alex Young, a true freshman, by John Ashworth, a sophomore forced to run the point by injuries.
Ashworth could not gain penetration and left Young to take a contested deep 3 with five seconds left that could have given IUPUI a one-point lead. The shot ricocheted off the side of the rim, then the glass and fell into the hands of 5-foot-11 Daniel Moore, the walk-on.
â€œAlex Young is disappointed, but heâ€™s going to be a fine basketball player and heâ€™s going to be able to make that shot,â€ Hunter said.
Moore said the rebound was lucky.
â€œIt kind of fell my way,â€ he said afterward, no longer donning his protective facemask. â€œI donâ€™t even know if I boxed out.â€
Moore was the steadying force for the Hoosiers, who needed it. They led by 11 at half but were tied at 40 â€” and seemed to be reeling â€” when Young hit a put-back at 13:46.
Then the game-changing moment that everyone in the arena anticipated played out exactly the way it had been drawn up: Kyle Taber hit a 3-pointer.
Taber, a 6-7 senior forward and former walk-on who had attempted zero 3s and is â€œnowhere near where he needs to beâ€ with his conditioning after August knee surgery, got open â€” as in there wasnâ€™t even an IUPUI player looking at him until the ball landed in his hands â€” and squared up as though nothing could be more natural.
When the bucket sank, Crean turned to the crowd and motioned for the people to stand. Seconds later, Robert Glenn dunked to cut Indianaâ€™s lead again. There would be no pulling away for the Hoosiers. So Crean prepared his team to slog through, scraping to score and keep pace.
â€œThe best opportunity for us to win was to have it be that way tonight,â€ he said.
Early in the game, the Hoosiers dealt with the Jaguarsâ€™ incessant zone by trying to shoot over it. They were 4-of-16 on 3-pointers, which convinced them to try something else.
Tom Pritchard (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Nick Williams (10 points, nine rebounds) adjusted to playing in the soft middle of the zone. They combined for the decisive basket, with Pritchard passing out of a double-team to Williams, who lost his tentativeness near the rim as the game wore on, for a bank shot that made it 58-55 with 3:16 left.
Playing without Gary Patterson (hand), a senior who averaged 12.9 points a year ago and was a preseason second-team all league pick, the Jaguars could not cut through the pressure. Crean has said that great players arenâ€™t the ones who take their teams from down eight to down four; their the ones who can take a team from down four to up four. Hunter was without the only player who might have been ready to do that.
â€œAdd a really good player to that unit and youâ€™ll see this team do some great things,â€ said Hunter, who played only six players in the second half.
Like Crean said, his team showed that it knows how not to lose. He learned that as he gathered them around him during each timeout late in the game. You can see how frantic Crean can often be in the huddle, instructing his players with wild hand gestures.
But he also takes time to look into their eyes â€” those eyes that have seen so little of what college basketball might confront them with â€” to take measure of how they are handling the situation.
What did he see Tuesday?
â€œThere was no panic,â€ he said.
Which is more gratifying than being 2-0.