Langford lifts IU to double-OT win over Wisconsin

It was enough to make even Romeo Langford smile.

The stoic Indiana freshman had been in this situation before, with the ball in his hand, the seconds ticking down and a chance to win the game.

This time, he delivered.

Langford’s driving layup with 0.7 seconds left in Tuesday’s second overtime lifted Indiana to a 75-73 victory over No. 19 Wisconsin at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

“Finally, I hit one,” Langford said.

Indeed, he did.

As Wisconsin called a 30-second timeout to set up a final, full-court prayer that went for naught, Langford couldn’t hide his smile in the Indiana huddle.

Nor did he try.

After a full night — and then some — of weird basketball, Langford and the Hoosiers finally had the result they spent the past three weeks striving for. The victory snapped a five-game losing streak overall and a five-game skid in Bloomington.

Indiana (14-14, 5-12) returns to Assembly Hall on Saturday at noon against No. 6 Michigan State.

“I feel like the last three games really reminded ourselves of the beginning of the season, just how hard we’ve been playing and holding ourselves (to a standard) on defense,” Langford said. “Especially tonight, we went into two overtimes.”

Langford made sure there wasn’t a third, beating Khalil Iverson around a screen and gently placing a shot overtop a leaping Nate Reuvers for the win. In doing so, it was a sign of maturity from the newcomer, who had final shot opportunities at the end of regulation in IU’s eventual overtime win at Michigan State on Feb. 2 and in Indiana’s eventual overtime loss at Iowa on Friday.

In each of those games, Langford settled for bad shots — questionable looks from beyond the arc. This time, he played to his strength and attacked.

Langford finished with a team-high 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting.

“Rob (Phinisee) did a great job,” IU coach Archie Miller said. “We asked Rob to come up and interfere a little bit. The minute he did that, I thought that their guy flinched just a quick second. The minute he did, I knew Romeo’s shoulder was gonna get by him. It was just a matter of whether he was gonna make it or not, but he definitely made an aggressive play.

“We talked about it after the Iowa game. Don’t settle. Take the ball to the rim. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, but he made a great play on the finish.”

The first domino to fall in the second extra frame was De’Ron Davis’ layup with 15.5 seconds left. Davis was alone in the post while Indiana tried to break the press in the backcourt, and as the seconds ticked away, Phinisee found him waiting for the pass. Davis delivered, dumping the ball in the basket and drawing a fifth foul from Ethan Happ in the process.

And yet, the Hoosiers couldn’t make it easy on themselves.

On the ensuing possession, Devonte Green fouled D’Mitrik Trice on a 3-point attempt with 9.6 seconds to play, and Trice made all three free throws.

That’s when Langford stepped up and ended a long night of basketball.

Langford was also one of the heroes in the first overtime, when his layup over Happ with 21.3 seconds left gave Indiana a 68-65 lead. Of course, true to IU’s recent luck, Trice answered with a 3-pointer on the other end.

During a frenetic first half, the two teams flipped the script for their seasons. Indiana (6-for-14 from beyond the arc) hit its 3-pointers. Wisconsin (1-for-9) did not.

It helped the Hoosiers to a 33-29 halftime lead — their first advantage at the intermission since Jan. 30 at Rutgers, and only their second halftime lead since the calendar flipped to 2019.

Indiana led by as many as 13 points with 12:40 left in regulation, at which point Archie Miller tried to steal rest for a few of his starters. The Hoosiers played the next two minutes with a lineup consisting of Davis, Green, Al Durham, Zach McRoberts and Race Thompson.

Wisconsin (19-9, 11-6) pounced.

The Badgers outscored the Hoosiers 8-4 with Juwan Morgan, Robert Phinisee and Langford off the floor during that two-minute stretch, embarking on what turned into a 20-3 run that put Wisconsin back in front 54-50 with 6:53 to play.

Making matters worse, the Hoosiers briefly lost Morgan with five minutes left in regulation after he took an elbow to the face from Happ. Happ was called for a Flagrant 1, which allowed Langford to tie the game at 54-all with a pair of free throws.

Morgan later returned — but fouled out with two minutes remaining and IU clinging to a 60-59 lead.

The teams jostled for control down to the final seconds. A key steal by Davis helped Indiana take the lead with nine seconds left in the second half. Davis stole the ball with 36 seconds on the clock, and after an IU timeout, the Hoosiers held the ball deep into the shot clock.

Davis nearly lost the ball in the high post, but Phinisee recovered and laid it through the basket with eight seconds left. Wisconsin got a final chance, this one coming at the line after Durham fouled Trice with five seconds left.

Trice made both of his free throws to tie the game and help force the first overtime.

Happ finished with 23 points, his sixth 20-point effort of the Big Ten season.

With IU trying to shield Morgan from early foul trouble, and Davis only able to play one first-half minute due to an apparent health issue, Thompson drew the Happ assignment.

Thompson fared well, going toe-to-toe with the Badgers’ All-American candidate. Happ had 10 first-half points.

But in a series that has been dominated by Happ during his four years in college, IU’s newcomer had the final say.

Langford not only lifted IU to the victory, but helped lifted the burden of a prolonged losing skid off the Hoosiers’ shoulders.

“I know the past two times I had (the ball) in my hand in the end didn’t come out as planned,” Langford said. “I learned from my mistakes.”

52 comments

  1. This team is like watching 7th or 8th graders play. At some points during a game, your optimistic and think these kids will get it and some point your like sheesh. Then you realize, they will get better when they get older. This IU team——I don’t think they will figure it out. The out of bounds play at the end of regulation kind of exposed how bad the coaching is or the guys don’t run what is called. Hard to watch honestly.

  2. Missing the big points here:
    1) UW is a team which has owned IUBB for significant period of time.
    2) Ethan Haap has been unstoppable by IU during his time at Wisky.
    3) Race Thompson (That’s RT for you H4H), made the first major statement of his IUBB career
    by holding his own against Haap.

    That being said if RT continues to play like this and grow, imagine if he had been healthy all year. As it is, he did quite well even though he has not had the game experience benefit of 25+ games to have gotten into the flow of the team. Nor has the team had that benefit with RT involved in games or practices. It makes a HUGE difference in how well a team plays together if they are not missing significant parts of the team for significant periods of the year. RT, JH, RP, DD & even ZM’s injuries have hampered this team in a big way this year. No doubt AM was counting on those players to have major roles behind JM & RL. Not counting JM or RL, I can’t think of 5 other players on this team whose absences could have hurt this year worse than these players.

    Imagine how much different this year might have been if everyone had been healthy all year. AM had to have known he inherited a mixed bag at best. RL, RT, JH & RP were key to getting a fast turnaround in the program. DA & JH are developmental projects for 2-3 years down the road, and probably hoped EF would fill a niche in the short run. Can’t think of any other program in the country that could take this kind of hit, a this stage of the program, with any different results. There are excuses, and then there are reasons. These are reasons.

    1. Oops, should have said DA & “JF” being developmental projects, not JH he was a major part of the plan.

    2. RL AD JS JF RP DG JM ZM DD JH CM DA RT EF VB JJ QT…………..? And, yes, there will be a quiz.

      RL? Return Label
      AD? Apple Dumpling
      JS? Jumps Sometimes
      JF? Jury Fixed
      RP? Rejected Purdue
      DG? Disastrous Guard
      JM? Junkyard Mobster
      ZM? Zorro Mustard
      DD? Dom DeLuise
      JH? James Harden
      CM? Clayton Moore(Tonto’s friend)
      DA? District Attorney
      RT? Robert Thinissee
      EF? Eternal Funk (That’s PF for you tai)
      VB? Very Bored
      JJ? June Jewels?
      QT? Quebec Time?

  3. think. Sounds like a lot of IU football tradition talk. Again, if this or that is not reality.
    However, I get the speculation. Even then not sure about the difference. Maybe not so much over whole season. IU barely beat just an ok (20th) Wisconsin team at their own gym with some ref assistance, really.

    1. t,
      I don’t think the health problems encountered by the BB team parallels the FB program at all. We all knew that the FB team had very little chance this past year without stellar QB play. As for the FB tradition, there never has been much to talk about there. Regarding the BB team this year, the pieces were there for a good year. AM had two other well regarded recruits besides RL in RT & JH, both of whom were lost for virtually all of this season. I believe time will prove that both could have made major contributions to this season. Hopefully their performances next year will give us some idea of what was missed.

      DD & RP injuries proved to be major hindrances in different ways, DD’s presence inside and RP’s from outside and other areas. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the intangibles which ZM brought to the table last year with his hustle and hard nosed play despite not having as much talent as others. Just the spirit of his play was infectious to the whole team and could have certainly helped out some of the games where the team certainly needed some inspiration.

      1. Let me explain t’s position? I believe he thinks many on our roster would be primarily role players on truly elite teams of our past …or the sorts of top teams now (e.g. teams Hoosier fans had grown used to during the heyday of Hoosier hoops..and long ago times of deep tournament runs).

        Phinisee is a fine freshman guard…but he’s no Isiah Thomas or Quinn Buckner.
        Morgan…is no Steve Downing, Alan Henderson, etc. etc.
        McRoberts is no Steve Green …or Todd Abernathy
        Devonte Green…is no Kieth Smart.
        Durhman …is no Bobby Wilkerson.
        Scott May? Woodson? Cheaney? …..Daryl Thomas…? on..and…on..and on.
        And where’s the shooters and the steady leaders? Where’s the Alford…and the Wittman ….and the Ritter…and the Mighty Quinn being a ‘Rock’ in the backcourt? Where is the levels of confidence and utmost steadiness that was once indicative of a young man wearing the storied candy stripes? Can any coach ever bring that level of IQ meets talent back to McCracken?

        Sorry to go so far back in time…..And although the game has evolved tremendously in terms of athleticism and speed, how many of us would take some those old Hoosier greats in a heartbeat and gleefully insert them into a Hoosier roster of today?
        Bottom Line: Many of us are old enough to have witnessed a considerably higher bar of talent from the ‘starters’ end of a Hoosier down to the final walk-on.
        Romeo is great….but all the other pieces just don’t stack up to a level of dominance and shooting proficiency we once knew. Inside game, outside game, leadership…steadiness ….and shooting so once a trademark of Indiana kids is not the standard we were spoiled. We know better …and we can’t be duped to think we’re anywhere close.

        Our basketball program, sadly, has fallen off to the level of the football program’s standard. The last decade was a disaster to the formulas that once brought banners and Final Fours to Bloomington. We lost even more ground …than what was lost after the Knight firing and the 3-way calling witch hunt/fiasco. And now we get to listen to Dakich on ESPN spit in the face of such great former Hoosiers …and act like those banners are because Assembly Hall….is ‘Call’ Hall. SAD.

        1. H4H,
          I understand where you and t are coming from, but for those memories don’t go back as far as ours, let’s remember what Bob Knight inheirited from Lou Watson in his first year 71-72:

          Bootsie White, Steve Downing, John Ritter, and Joby Wright, not a bad hand to be dealt. I don’t think Archie got anywhere near that good of a deal. Imagine if George McGinnis had decided to stay on that front line.

          His second year he lost Wright to graduation, but picked up John Laskowski and Steve Green,
          not to mention he had Freshmen named Quinn Buckner, Jim Crews, and Tom Abernathy. Also remember the 72-73 season was the first for Freshmen to play at varsity level. Laskowski and Green were on the Freshman team the year before.

          1. You can “pick-up”…”inherit”….or “recruit”….the moon and Jupiter, but it doesn’t mean you can necessarily get them to play as team/unit, play with immeasurable grit…and teach them to the tune of three championships(and likely many more if we allow Mr. Knight the same mug of beer to cry into for a key player injury or early departure in stymieing what could have easily been another great season..e.g. Alan Henderson knee, Scott May broken wrist, etc. etc.).

            I really don’t understand the reluctance in granting Bob Knight the due justice of being one of the greatest minds in the game of college basketball. There are hundreds who inherit much. There are only a handful who truly know how to mold talent into teams.

          2. H4H,
            Didn’t say RMK didn’t have a great basketball mine, likely one of the best. Just said he had great nucleus to begin with at IU.

          1. Your guess is as good as mine….

            Different world back then…Getting national attention was not the instantaneous thing of today. I saw those early Knight teams as underdogs because they were not at the forefront of national attention. Knight was still a very new name at a big time school. Recognition built slowly via picking up the local newspaper and scouring through the sports sections…or via radio. Am I wrong? Please tell me if I am.

  4. Is there going to be an investigation into Vomitgate?

    Why have two key starters been stricken with the sudden onset of severe nauseousness mere moments before tip-off? No indications of sickness previous to the game or during warm-up’s …and then suddenly violently ill?

    I’ve watched a lot of basketball in my lifetime and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything quite this bizarre. Guys are fine …and then they’re hurling chunks right at the exact moment a game is to begin? Beyond strange….

  5. I agree, it is painful to watch this team play basketball. In spite of getting the win last night, they were just terrible. It was as if they were trying to lose the game. And it was, until Romeo “finally” made a game winning shot, the same old failures that caused them to go into overtime.

  6. H4H. Thank You. Exactly, there you go. Some IU men’s basketball fans don’t know what they don’t know.
    Those who are dead and we who are watching the sunset, yes we know. A quarter century of mediocrity in IU men’s basketball program is a bit much.

  7. Really, so losing a 13 point lead, going down by 5 and coming back to win in double O/T is not significant, against Wisky. Because now there is more positive health news than negative this team is playing itself into the team we enjoyed the 1st 15 games. My eyes were not pained last night 1 bit because this young team was reacquiring the same resolve they displayed in Nov. and Dec. Race Thompson is a solid player possessing a strong BB IQ. I could hardly believe my eyes how good he is for not having played hardly any game minutes. Morgan and Davis are a potent duo on the floor together.

      1. True….Reminds me of an ending line to one of my all-time favorite movies…

        “You weren’t lucky. You were due.” (‘Best of Times’….starring Robin Williams, Kurt Russell, Pamela Reed, Holly Palance).

  8. I’m very curious to see how this bunch goes into, and out of, the Big Ten Tournament. Will they implode? Will they explode? With a little help in the draw, they could really cause some havoc. But, we’ll see. I have 0 expectations & a lot of curiosity.

  9. The second half of last night’s game was the worst offensive performance I’ve seen by an IU team that won the game. I’ll give the boys credit for not quitting and for staying in the fight, but it would be impossible to chronicle the multitude of mistakes and missed opportunities that should have cost them the game. Thank goodness Wisconsin was worse at the free throw line last night than IU was. But honestly, IU played as if they were uncomfortable being in the lead, or once they got the lead, as if they were trying to give it back to Wisconsin.

    That being said, there were some positives to take from what was otherwise a terrible performance. IU’s defense was very good, even when some of the starters fouled out. Thompson played great and made a huge impact by playing solid defense and rebounding during the time he was in. His strength is valuable in the paint and he will only get better as he gets more playing time. Romeo finally made a clutch play to win a game. Perhaps that will give him more confidence going forward. And lastly, Phin played well and seems to be all the way back. He demonstrated great physical and mental stamina throughout a very long game last night.

    As for beating Wisconsin, that should not be considered a special accomplishment. They’re 19 -10 so far this season and several rungs below the program they were a few years ago. IU should beat Wisconsin every year, especially at home. You know IU Basketball has declined when you consider beating Wisconsin at home a big deal. I long for the day when that becomes routine again, like it was when I was on campus.

    Now, if we could only learn to shoot the basketball and finish at the rim, IU games might become fun to watch again.

    1. Don’t be fooled by the Wisconsin record…They’ll do well in the NCAA tournament. They came into Bloomington as a Top-20 team. It was a good win…Wisconsin’s “style”(I know how some like to throw that descriptor around on here) makes a lot of teams look ragged and ugly. I don’t have the stats at hand, but it’s my guess that Wisconsin has been one of the strongest road teams in the conference over the last decade.

      And Romeo delivered at the end….Good for him. Good for his confidence level going forward.

  10. I will concede that I never knew Race Thompson was this skilled….He could have made a huge difference had he been available most of the season.

    Regardless of being rough around the edges in his offensive game/readiness (expected for such little playing time), I was beyond impressed by his focus and intensity level. He has great instincts and great discipline in defensive positioning and board play. He is going to be very good. He could definitely make a difference(as he did last night) going forward. He’ll help our chances greatly in the next three and the Big Ten tournament.

  11. One more comment. When Green entered the game in overtime, my wife screamed “Nnnoooooo” at the T.V., followed by an expletive she rarely utters. It was if she knew Green was going to do something really stupid and cost IU the game. And she was almost right. Our heads both exploded when Green fouled his man while attempting a 3-point shot. My wife then looked at me and said, “and you watch, he’s going to make all three free throws!”

    After the game was over, my wife stated, “I can’t recall any IU player with worse situational awareness than Green, EVER! What is Archie doing with this guy during practice?”

    1. She is BB astute. If there was 1 more guard of any caliber on this team Green would only be allowed on the floor during practice timeouts. Green needs to pack his bags. Everyone talks about needing a big post space eater and I do not totally disagree. Whether Brooks does or does not commit IU needs to be serious about another combo guard for steady minutes in the rotation. Green can’t carry the water. He’s a waste of a scholarship, big time.

    2. Your wife actually said “situational awareness”…..? Wish my wife talked that dirty during a game.

    3. But Dan What’s–his–Name said no problem for Indiana when Durham fouled out because Green would be taking his place.

      1. It’s my understanding that there’s supposed to be great piece on Dan Dakich in ‘The Athletic.’ It does have subscription/paywall requirements to read it though….Are you an Athletic supporter?

  12. Dane Fife fouled Jason Williams on a 3-pt shot(Williams made the shot) nearly costing us the greatest come-from-behind win in the history of Hoosier basketball. Careless by Green…but if you are a true historian of Hoosier basketball, you’ve seen it before on a much bigger stage.

  13. But Fife was a D specialist. He hustled every play with a purpose to affect the opponents offense. Green doesn’t ever know what the hell he is doing. He is a mistake specialist.

  14. Will the Selection Committee take 7 teams or 8 teams from the Big Ten? Examine how positions 8 through 13 are still, basically, wide open. It’s really not out of the question for us to have a shot to catch Minnesota for the 8th spot…(OSU is a long shot at 7th, but stranger things have happened). Six teams still have a very realistic shot at the 8th position! Crazy…Minnesota’s last three games are @ Northwestern, Purdue, @ Maryland. None of those will be easy. Where is the best money for the 8th position? And will the committee still take 8 teams from our conference as most pundits have been saying all year long? Who has the biggest non-conference wins in the case of a tie for 8th?

    7. OSU 8-9
    8. Minnesota 7-10
    9. Rutgers 6-11
    10. Illinois 6-11
    11. Nebraska 5-12
    12. Indiana 5-12
    13. Penn St 5-12

    1. Bottom Line: Go Northwestern! (vs. Minnesota, @ Illinois, vs. OSU)

      That 8th position is going to be a ballroom blitz!

  15. IU has wins against #’s 4…12…23…24…45…53…65…70. Loses against #’s 3…7 (x2)…
    10 (x2)…32 (x2),,,33…43…49…63…70…80. Winning games margin has been 5.6 points. Losing games margin of 8.5 points. Louisville, Butler and Marquette have dropped somewhat since losing to IU. Wins are not as good looking as I thought. Seems like the first loss to Michigan (loss of 3 points) took the wind out of the sails of IU, so to speak. Win 2 of the remaining games and a couple in the B1G, maybe an NCAA bid? (all ranking numbers from current KenPom,,,,IU at #48). Blah….

  16. Probably have to win out to have a chance at nailing down that 8th spot in the standings.
    The overtime win at MSU is still a huge win..If we can climb to that 8th spot and make a bit of noise in the BigTen Tournament, I believe we sneak in (maybe playing in Dayton).

    Still have to take them one at a time…but the door is far from completely closed.

  17. My wife is a native Hoosier (I’m a Hoosier by choice, not by birth). She came of age in the Bob Knight era and learned a lot from watching and listening to him. Her pet peeve with any IU team is when the players are standing around on offense, and she goes crazy when our players don’t use shot fakes while in the paint or at the rim. Neither of us will ever watch an IU BB game at someone else’s house or in a bar, unless surrounded by Hoosier fans. We’re a little too passionate. What’s really fun is that her otherwise ultra-polite, reserved and reticent 84-year old mother is equally intense and expressive while watching IU Basketball.

  18. That was the thing about Knight era, especially when BK was on top. Fans learned IU/BK basketball system. (Motion offense and Defense). IU basketball had Self Image Idenity. It was very easily identified and was a proud time (minus some of BK behavior) in IU basketball history.

    1. But we should never confuse “motion offense”….with “weaves to nowhere.”

      My ‘pet peeve’ was watching a fraudulent offense and listening to empty lingo at the podium; witnessing weaving in purposelessness and the draining of energy with zero clue to get inside the middle of a zone, face a basket, utilize a pick and roll…or make a back cut. Tons of energy expelled from otherwise very talented Hoosiers tiring to sell “motion” while soon exposed on defense for an equal level of limitations in understanding/coaching.

      If you call yourself any sort of aficionado in the game of basketball, you had to know what you were watching was not a “style” of anything. It was a Twilight Zone merry-go-round burning your pupils and setting your eyes afire.

      It is not yet determined if Archie is the man to get us back to deep tournament appearances, but, at bare minimum, he has brought teaching and intellect for the game back to McCracken. The banners are no longer shamed by the quiet snickering from all our competition knowing full well what we were stuck to endure. Dan Dakich is very angry in knowing the charades is over.

  19. This game was pretty messy, but I enjoyed it. A lot. We haven’t been on the winning end vs the buzzcuts very often in the past decade and a half, so I’ll take it.

    Really like Race Thompson. Dude is tough. I get all kinds of fuzzy feelings watching a freshman, who’s been injured all year, come in a hold down a 1st team All Big Ten veteran. His defense was stellar. Makes you wonder what this season could have been like with a healthy Rob, Race & Jerome Hunter.

    Also, I’m very happy for Romeo. You don’t often get Wisconsin breaking down on defense like that, but Romeo will make you pay for a small slip-up.

    Indiana basketball is in good hands.

    1. That was what my takeaway was.

      If you go to Wisky and win, come away with the win and appreciate it.

      I had to laugh seeing the comments about Wisconsin merely being a mediocre 19th ranked team. Sure, that means 18 teams are better.

      If you are 25 games into the season and are ranked 19th…that’s probably pretty accurate.

  20. Wisconsin is a mediocre team this year. They’re not a bad team, they’re not a great team, they’re mediocre. If not for horrible free throw shooting, they’d have won the game. After their loss to IU, they should be ranked in the 20 – 22 range. Let’s not allow our desperation for some positive news about IU basketball to blind us from the reality of what has been a very bad season. I am cautiously optimistic that Archie’s squad will finish the season on a high note, but really, when you’ve hit bottom, there’s no other direction to go but up. Now if we beat MSU tomorrow, that will really be something for Archie and his team to hang their hats on. That will be impressive, and might even get us invited into the NIT.

    1. So, the ’20-22′ best team in the country is mediocre?

      How many good teams are there in the country? Five? Twelve?

      The NCAA tournament has only a small handful good teams participating?

      Who knew?

    2. We have been given back the game of basketball.
      No matter if Archie sinks or swims, the sunshine is back in the sky.
      The clouds have parted on this cold winter’s day.
      What was a hopeless dark decade of mockery beset upon our storied basketball institution has been removed.
      Our peers begin to get nervous again.
      The McCracken classroom back in session is now legit and not a charade. The banners no longer disgraced in gimmicks and the props of reunions…
      No more podium gibberish requiring a PhD in gibberish interpretation. Our rivals gloat in fake exaggeration of their temporary hoops harvest for they know the giant now lifting awake is ready to break the ropes of frauds who held our Hoosiers down.
      We are free. The undaunted spirit alive again.
      We are FREE….and I’m waiting for you to follow me!
      Free is Basketball… Sink or swim! Free is our hoops religion again!

    3. Unbelieveable! #19 Wisky is mediocre. IU’s only positive W would be a 2nd 1 over MSU. The 1st over them on their court and the 1 over Wisky are subjectively irrelevant or at best low grade. I don’t know how anyone can arrive to that reasoning.

  21. And it’s no coincidence as Phinisee regains his stride absent during the many weeks of serious setback due to a serious concussion, our team begins to finally get over the hump.
    Race Thompson certainly helps as well…but no team functions anywhere near optimal without a viable point guard.

  22. If Phinisee keeps regaining his stride…and if Race Thompson continues to be a factor, this may be our best chance in a very long time to surprise at the Big Ten Tournament. Very different team right now. Race, Morgan and Smith create far more depth and match-up havoc for opponents. Romeo is playing his best ball. Phinisee is healthy. Durham is a steady influence and gritty defender.
    There is still a chance…

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