Hoosiers storm back to beat Notre Dame, 80-73

INDIANAPOLIS — From the ashes of its worst half of the season, Indiana stormed back to earn the signature victory it was searching for.

The Hoosiers flipped a 16-point second-half deficit into an 80-73 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday in the Crossroads Classic. Indiana matched big baskets with stops through its 2-3 zone on the other end late in the game, while going 7-for-8 from the free throw line over the final minute.

After falling down by 16 points five minutes into the second half, the Hoosiers outscored Notre Dame 40-17 the rest of the way to secure the largest comeback in Tom Crean’s eight seasons as IU coach.

Notre Dame, which had controlled most of the afternoon, lost its legs late in the second half. The Fighting Irish hit only one of their final 11 field goal attempts and did not score a single point over the last three minutes.

Irish forward Bonzie Colson led all scorers with 24 points, while Troy Williams paced four IU scorers in double figures with 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Notre Dame led for nearly 30 minutes Saturday, but watched a double-digit lead fall apart late in the second half. The Hoosiers shot 51 percent from the field in the final period, including a 6-for-11 mark from beyond the arc over the final 20 minutes.

“I thought Indiana earned it, especially in the last seven minutes,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.

There were six lead changes over the first six minutes before a 10-0 Irish run midway through the half helped Notre Dame build a 25-17 lead with 10 minutes to play in the period. At that point, the Irish had connected seven of eight shots in a span that saw IU playing without center Thomas Bryant, who picked up two quick fouls early in the half.

Notre Dame extended that lead to as many as 12 points over the next three minutes, as poor shot selection and the same disconnected defense that has defined IU basketball in recent years allowed the Irish to create separation. The Hoosiers’ 41-31 halftime deficit was their largest of the season.

The Irish sank each of their first seven shots to start the second half on the way to extending their lead to 16 points three minutes into the period.

IU charged back and cut its deficit to 10 points on a 3-pointer from Robert Johnson, then seemed to seize momentum after Colson received a flagrant 1 due to a hard foul on Bryant. The IU freshman center hit both of his free throws to cut Notre Dame’s lead to eight, earning cheers from the large IU fan contingent in Indianapolis.

But that momentum swung violently in the other direction when James Blackmon committed the first of two consecutive turnovers by the Hoosiers, allowing Notre Dame to pick up five quick points on the other end and built its lead to 61-48 with 12:28 to play.

Indiana continued punching back, but couldn’t match baskets with stops until an 8-0 run allowed IU to break through and tie the game at 71-all with four minutes remaining. The tie came on a 3-pointer from Yogi Ferrell, who up until that point, had been mired in his worst performance of the season. Ferrell finished with eight points, but also had five turnovers against two assists.

Collin Hartman broke a 73-73 tie with a pair of free throws, giving the Hoosiers their first lead since early in the first half. From there, IU polished off the game with a 9-0 run that sealed the kind of quality win it desperately needed.

This story will be updated.


  1. Nice come back win For the Hoosiers!!! ND coach Talked smack All week about how his team was 3-1 in the crossroad classic, but in the end he see’s who’s better. His smack came back to bite him in the butt, Guess he shouldn’t talk that BS… If they can’t back it up…And no, I was Never worried when we was down 16 cuz I knew that the Hoosiers would pull it out!!

  2. That looked like two very shaky teams that won’t be challenging in their respective conferences this year.

  3. Looked like IU finally realized you have to put as much energy and effort on defense as you put into the offense. Now, can they sustain that level on defense.

  4. By the lack of comments here, I speculate the consensus may be that this win only prolongs the inevitable. It was the most unsatisfying win I’ve felt in a very long time. This is a sloppy team on both sides of the ball. Difficult to watch.

    What a contrast watching the Butler/Purdue game. Both teams are disciplined and much more fundamentally sound. Oh the good old days…

  5. I actually thought they played inspired ball This team rallied around their coach.

    The two biggest additions that are changing this team are Chuck Martin and Derek Elston(Sampson recruit).

    O.G. Anunoby = Jim Thomas…?

  6. By the lack of comments here I speculate that the apologists are completely stumped. This coach and this team have bewildered and dumbfounded all the apologists that in the recent past would have started to trumpificate immediately after a game like this… Everything is possible… except to predict anything with any degree of reliability. For Tom Crean’s sake I hope we get to a Final Four this year and the next. He can then move on with his life and start a new chapter in NBA (Boston, swap with Stevens) or elsewhere (e.g., U of Washington in Pac-12) on his own terms…

  7. Play terrible for 35 minutes and still win by 7 points? Crean kept switching defenses until he found one that his “me-first” players couldn’t screw up. That must have confused ND, cause they sure went cold down the stretch. That was some of the sloppiest basketball I’ve seen in years. We have a freshman Center that needs to stop whining to the refs about non calls and channel his energy into playing like the big guy he is. And we have two guards that played as if one-upping their old High School rival was the only thing that mattered. Learn to play as a team guys, and you might win more than 20 games. Keep playing like you did today, and you’ll go down as the biggest underachievers in IU basketball history. It was a win, but it was really ugly!

  8. Po: didn’t he recruit those me first players you dingbat?

    or are they holdovers from the sampson era… is that what you are saying?

    our only hope is in the players taking over like they did last night… tune “coach” out… and play…

  9. every time Williams gets the ball he gets all goofy. he should never get the ball more than 8 feet from the basket. he also should never try to go coast to coast with the ball because he really is not capable. he plays so much out of control that he actually hurts us so much that the points and rebounds he gets barely off sets the points the opponent gets off his goofy mistakes. he try’s to make ESPN highlights instead of just doing things within his capabilities, which are quite limited! just my opinion.

  10. tallyho, you are basically correct about Williams, although amazingly gifted athletically, he is of the mind that he can take any 5 players all by himself off the dribble and score. I cringe every time he handles the ball at the top of the key, he is a turnover looking for a place to happen. Whether you like Dakich or not, he is correct when he says Williams should never leave the base line offensively! If he would simply run the base line continuously, he would score at will due to his athleticism. Of course most of the way Williams plays on the court falls on the shoulders of our coach. He is the person who allows this to go on and on. Troy has not improved in his ball handling or decision making in the 3 years under coach Crean. While his mother may think he is the greatest thing since sliced bread and trust me. she will continuously tell us that, he lacks self control! This all falls on the coach who apparently wants to put him out there and let him go at whatever pace he desires whether it hurts the team or not? One other thing, Dakich is correct, the guards on this team are incredibly selfish always looking for their own shot. There were so many times yesterday afternoon when Bryant was one on one inside with his man on his back and the guards refused to pass him the ball! He was basically unstoppable inside when he got the ball but, our guards would look at him and go the other way? How in the world could Bryant play 21 minutes and only get 8 shots from the field? Our 3 starting guards had 6 assists among them playing 29, 32 and 35 minutes respectively, not a very impressive stat at all. Bryant should be getting a touch every time down court. This team will not improve until they play better defense which we have heard all year and until they start sharing the ball better?

  11. Harvard, I’m having a hard time agreeing w/ your O.G. = Jim Thomas comparison. I’m still looking for another Steve Eyl.

  12. This team lives by the three.They play defense like a bunch of candy ass ——-. Watch Butler play and see the grit , gumption , selflessness and work it takes to defend like men.

  13. Of course a bird named Chet, you are absolutely correct. It is 100% Crean’s fault. He recruited those players and has total control over everything they do. He has total control over their every thought, just like all college coaches do. These are not young men, they are robots, automatons, cyborgs that are programed to do exactly what they are taught by their coaches. All flaws in their performance are their coaches fault. Those players don’t have any motives or ambitions other than the ones their coach imbues them with. They have no other people influencing them outside of their teammates and coaches. So yes, it is 100% Crean’s fault. And of course, Crean wants them to play a “me-first” style of basketball. He wants them to make stupid turnovers, give away easy layups, and fail to help out on defense. Yep, you nailed it. You are one brilliant bird.

  14. you nailed it po. crean never played any decent basketball. suddenly he’s a coach. he asks of his players to be superhuman. you and i could ask that without being paid three millions a year. be the next dwyane wade be the next dwyane wade is all he yells at them. he can’t show them how because he never played any decent basketball. he just asks. why would anyone believe that what he says is realistic i don’t know. the guy is completely removed from reality with his five type of defenses per posession. so, yes you nailed it po: he can’t play for them, literally. so he offers elucubrations that nobody who knows anything about basketball even understands.

  15. Yes, there were many mushroom cloud moments… This actually reminds me of how past IU teams have faired under Crean – it’s that early season, catch the other team off guard, beat them with talent/energy win… It’s all predicated on the fact that we threw a junk defense at them late in the game that they probably hadn’t seen yet this year, and that we only used late in the game so they couldn’t adjust. We won’t be able to play that 1-3-1 as a staple, and other teams will now be ready for it when we mix it in…
    Late in the season other teams will be ready for everything and we won’t have made improvements or adjustments… it’s Groundhogs Day.

    I wish I could take joy in these wins, but it’s just fool’s gold.

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