Indiana rallies back with 6-0 run in final 52 seconds to stun Michigan, earn first outright Big Ten title since 1993

WHAT HAPPENED: Indiana rallied back from a 71-66 deficit with 52 seconds to beat Michigan 72-71 in front of 12,693 at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor on Sunday, claiming the Hoosiers first outright Big Ten title since 1993 and re-staking its claim to a No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Indiana took a 66-64 lead on a layup by junior guard Victor Oladipo with 2:28 to go, but Michigan scored buckets on three straight trips to take a 70-66 lead. After Indiana failed to score on the other end, Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III went to the line with the chance to give Michigan a six-point lead, but he made just one free throw to give Michigan a 71-66 lead with 52 seconds left.

However, sophomore center Cody Zeller backed in for a layup to make it 71-68 with 38 seconds left. Michigan’s Tim Hardaway Jr. then missed the front end of a one-and-one to keep the deficit at three points. Zeller then drew a foul and hit two free throws to cut it to one point. Michigan sophomore point guard Trey Burke drew a foul on the inbound, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one to leave the door open for Indiana to take the lead. Zeller drove in baseline for what would become the game-winning layup.

Michigan got two opportunities to win it Trey Burke drove off the left side of the lane, but missed, and junior forward Jordan Morgan got the rebound, but his putback spun off the rim and IU completed the comeback.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Zeller finished his regular season with one of his strongest performances and clearly his most clutch. He scored Indiana’s last six points, and by game’s end, was practically unguardable for Michigan’s big men. He was 10-for-19 from the field and 5-for-8 from the free throw line, posting a double-double with 25 points and 10 rebounds. He had six turnovers and was responsible for a number of the Hoosiers’ missed shots in the paint, but the Hoosiers kept going to him, especially in the second-half when he scored 16 of his points.

Junior guard Victor Oladipo made a play for Big Ten Player of the Year honors with 14 points and a career-high 13 rebounds and also wore down Michigan point guard Trey Burke when the Hoosiers moved him to Burke from Michigan wing Tim Hardaway Jr. Burke scored 20 points, but he needed 20 shots to get to that figure. Both men seemed to lose their legs by game’s end, but Oladipo won the battle of attrition.

After struggling from the field in recent games, junior swingman Will Sheehey scored 10 points, hitting two mammoth 3-pointers. Senior guard Jordan Hulls knocked in three 3-pointers, and after struggling early, freshman forward Jeremy Hollowell scored on a put-back and then knocked down a 3-pointer at a critical juncture that helped the Hoosiers take the lead back.

Burke led Michigan with 20 points, but was 7-for-20 from the field. He had four assists, but also four turnovers. Freshman forward Glenn Robinson III had a much better outing than the first game with 13 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Freshman guard Nik Stauskas had 12 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 11, but missed one of those crucial one-and-ones.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Because Michigan missed two crucial front ends of one-and-ones with the game on the line, and because some barely calculable properties of physics and gravity led to Jordan Morgan’s putback going off to the right rather than to the left and down through the net. But also because IU never gave in, and because the Hoosiers kept getting the ball in the paint even though it was difficult, and even though they didn’t always have success there.

Indiana’s dominance on the glass suggested that they should have blown the Wolverines out. They won the rebound battle 53-30 and they grabbed 24 offensive rebounds while Michigan only had 18 defensive rebounds, an overwhelming offensive rebound percentage of 57.1 percent. Somehow, though, Indiana only scored 17 second-chance points. The Hoosiers got the ball in the paint and got rebounds, but Michigan challenged all of their shots and Indiana shot just 20-for-47 (42.5 percent) in the paint.

Still, that was enough for the Hoosiers to score 40 points in the lane, and even though Michigan only committed 16 fouls and IU only went to the line nine times, Zeller got both Mitch McGary (four fouls) and Jordan Morgan (three) in foul trouble and forced them to the bench. When the Wolverines had to go to their third and fourth string big men, they had no answer for Zeller.

Oladipo’s defense on Burke was also critical. Burke still got his points and was able to force IU defenders to collapse to the the paint and leave the corners to give Michigan’s wing guards open looks. But Oladipo seemed to exhaust him and make the most efficient highly-used player in college basketball inefficient. He scored most of his points because switches on ball screens left him with more favorable matchups against Jordan Hulls or Christian Watford, but he rarely scored going straight up against Oladipo.

The bench also mattered for IU. Crean may have cost Indiana a significant amount of momentum in the first half by over-substituting and bringing in Remy Abell, Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea, but it seemed to give them confidence, especially Hollowell, who found a flow in the game and scored five critical points including the 3-pointer. Abell had his struggles, going 0-for-3 from the field and was responsible for a critical open 3, but Hollowell’s second half was very helpful.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: In so many ways, Indana needed this game and this performance. The Minnesota and Ohio State losses had put the Hoosiers in danger of failing to win the Big Ten title outright and also of allowing a No. 1 seed to slip through their hands. More so, the Hoosiers were playing their worst basketball of the season heading into postseason play, and they simply needed to remind themselves how they’d earned their No. 2 ranking in the first place.

The win allowed the Hoosiers to get right on all of those accounts. They have their first outright Big Ten title in 20 years. They already had the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, and they probably have a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament — and also a spot in the Midwest Region, which would take them to Indianapolis — close to sewn up. At 26-5, they need just one more win to match last season’s total, and more important to anything else, they looked like themselves again. They answered runs. They made big shots and big plays, they defended well and they rebounded, something they couldn’t say after the Ohio State loss or the Minnesota loss, and something that was only somewhat true after the Iowa game. They have their confidence back and they proved they definitely still have their legs going into tournament play, and they have set the best possible path for themselves.

WHO SAID WHAT:

Tom Crean

“That was a great college basketball game. That goes without saying. Again, I think this is one of the things about this league, so many games — and we’ve been a part of them, with the Michigan game, the Michigan State game and this one certainly that are really built up, that got a lot of attention — they live up to the hype. Our guys did that, and Michigan guys did too. There’s no doubt about it. It was a hard-fought, rivalry game. That’s what it is. Extremely proud of the way not only the players played today and the edge they played with, but how they responded and how they kept improving. The best thing about these guys is they have short memories.”

“We’ve got people in here that have been a part of those eight league wins in three years. You learn to deal with adversity pretty good, you learn to overcome things. Nothing’s easy, so why even expect it to be? Our guys do an excellent job with that. They really did. They’re always ready to play. When it was 10-3, I had no doubt we were here to say, When we got down, I had no doubt we were here to stay. … We never got down. There was never that lookaway look, there was never that faraway look. There was never anything but being locked into the moment and believing. They’ve earned their chance to be in these games. They’ve earned it. When you earn it and you earn it over a period of time, you understand what to do in it. They made some really, really big plays in the game. Everybody that came into that game contributed.”

“Obviously, Cody Zeller, I cherish every moment with those guys. It has nothing to do with how long they stay. Those are special guys. A guy like that that plays the way that he does. He’ll be so much better for what he’s dealt with at Indiana and the scrutiny he goes under and the way it gets handled sometimes. He brings it every day. He brings it every day. He doesn’t always have a great day, but he brings it every day. Tonight was one of those great examples.”

“A lot of great ball from a lot of great people. They are great people, because they work, they respond, they get better. They have a humbleness. They have an understanding. They can look at it. Figure it out, get it corrected, let’s go. That’s why it’s an honor to coach these guys. We’re really excited to have a win.”

“I don’t like bringing the word panic into it. Because that wasn’t remotely part of this today. There was none of that. There was a strong belief. They had to miss some shots with the free throws down the stretch to make that happen. They did, but our guys responded. They truly did.”

On whether Indiana has earned No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament

“I think you win this league, it’s the best league in the country, yeah I would say so. I really haven’t thought about it. But yeah. I think so. I think you win this league — and if we are, I don’t think (Michigan is) far from it. I think if you win this league the way that we did, to win it outright with everything that’s gone on this season, yes I do.”

On his altercation with Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer (who was on Kelvin Sampson’s staff at Indiana)

“It’s a heated game. It’s a heated game. Ask him.”

Jordan Hulls

On whether it feels better to wear the Big Ten championship hats this time

“Uh, yeah, just a little bit. We’ve been working so hard all season to get to this point. We had some ups and downs, but this team fought through, especially in this game. We were down late, we never gave up. So a win like that was pretty special for us.”

Cody Zeller

“I just wanted to be aggressive. Good things happen when me and Christian catch the ball in the post.”

Victor Oladipo

“I’m kind of speechless, you know? It’s been a crazy ride. We’ve had our share of ups and downs like Jordan said (earlier in the press conference). But this team comes together when we really need to.”

On defending Trey Burke

“I was just trying to get him tired, slow him down a little. I feel like picking him up full and denying his touches, kind of get him out of rhythm a little. He’s a phenomenal player as you guys can tell. He made tough shots, big shots. Maybe he didn’t have the legs to hit that free throw there, who knows?”

On winning the first Big Ten title since 1993

“It’s a crazy feeling. That’s the reason why I came here, to be known as one of the greats, to be known as the reason why Indiana basketball came back and to actually be a part of that is an amazing feeling. I couldn’t have done it without these guys. I really couldn’t have done it without Cody Zeller committing. Really couldn’t have done it without Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, Derek, Mo Creek coming out here and being the backbone about why me and Will are here. If these guys didn’t believe the same thing, we wouldn’t be standing here today. God works in mysterious ways, and he brought us all together so we could be something bigger than ourselves.”

On Zeller

“I’ve been saying all year long he should be the Player of the Year. If ya’ll don’t give it to him, there’s something wrong with y’all. Cody Zeller should be the Player of the Year. I’ve been saying all year long he should be the Player of the Year. If you guys don’t give it to him, no disrespect, but there’s something wrong with ya’ll.”

AUDIO: Tom Crean

AUDIO: Tom Crean Part 2

 

4 comments

  1. Everything said under “What Does It Mean” is absolutely correct. Yes they did prove all of those things but they proved them against Michigan State too and then didn’t follow up or follow through. That’s what they now have to do. This game better not be the culmination of that effort. It better be the beginning for BOTH Tournaments.

  2. At 5:21 in the game chat, surferhoosierdude posted “Prediction. Keep it close, Michigan will choke at the end.”

    Good call.

    Great game! Fantastic finish!

    What did happen with Jeff Meyer?

  3. Just watched the game again. Thanks BTN. If any one reviews this game again, I noticed;

    * Clarke Kellogg seemed to lean toward Michigan.

    * Watch McGary on CZ. Fouls CZ than after the play gives Zeller a two-handed push. Another play McGary is on the floor and and swats at Zeller after the play is called. The guy commits crescendo fouls. He could foul out in one play.

    * At the 7 1/2 minute mark of the second half Jordy seems upset and gestures at Remy after a Michigan score. The next play Remy passes to CZ way outside. CZ ends up with a travel call. Timeout is called and CZ is talking to Remy on the way to bench. Remy turns his back to him and CZ is still talking to him in the huddle.

    * CZ talking to Yogi after a bad pass to CZ. Not yelling but seemed to be asking ‘what was that’ kind of talk. Good sign. Zeller seemed more verbal and committed to the game than I had seen before. He was playing with emotion.

    * Needs to be a award for players who hit the floor most and can still walk after the game. Vic and Cody must hit the floor 7-10 times a game.

    * Surprised Elston did not have more game time.

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