Indiana overcomes largest deficit in Tom Crean to beat Notre Dame 80-73 in Crossroads Classic

Indiana overcomes 16-point deficit to earn quality non conference win over Notre Dame.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Trailing by 16 early in the second half, all hope appeared to be lost for Indiana as it seeked a victory in its last opportunity to defeat a quality non-conference opponent. 

But an unusual lineup brought Indiana back and restored it. 

With three starters on the bench, Indiana (9-3) mounted a 17-4 run over the final 7:25 en route to an 80-73 victory over Notre Dame (7-3) Saturday afternoon in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. 

"When we got down 16, guys really continued to respond to each other," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. "Very proud of the contributions, very proud of the comeback in what was really a remarkable second half." 

Early in that second-half run, Crean went with a lineup of senior guard Yogi Ferrell, fifth-year guard Nick Zeisloft, junior forward Collin Hartman and grad transfer forward Max Bielfeldt with the Hoosiers trailing by eight. 

It resulted in immediate dividends, as Hartman hit a jumper to cut the deficit to six. Notre Dame responded with a dunk by senior guard Demetrius Jackson with 6:32 remaining, but it would be the last Irish points until the 2:55 mark.

In that same time span, Crean made another adjustment and subbed Williams and Anunoby into the game. Indiana scored seven quick points off an Anunoby dunk, a Williams layup and a Ferrell game-tying 3-pointer near the top of the key. 

Later in the run, Hartman would hit the go-ahead free throws with 57 seconds remaining. Overall, Indiana's bench would contribute 14 of its 16 points in the second half.

"The bench came in and gave us fresh legs," Hartman said. "But we can't do that if we don't make stops and get steals and deflections."

Hartman finished with nine points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds. Indiana was led by Troy Williams, who finished with 18 points - 16 in the second half. 

Focusing primarily on Auguste in the post, Indiana struggled to defend Auguste's frontcourt mate, Bonzie Colson. The 6-foot-5 Colson led all scorers with 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting from the field. 

Still, Colson's efforts would not be enough for Notre Dame. 

The Irish led 69-61 after a layup by Auguste with 7:25 left. Indiana responded with a 10-2 run, capped by a pull-up 3-pointer near the top of the key by senior guard Yogi Ferrell to tie the game at 71-71. 

Over the course of that final 15 minutes of the game, the Hoosiers outscored the Irish 40-17 to seal their come-from-behind win. 

Twice Indiana trailed by as few as five points. In addition to keeping it close, the Hoosiers also overcame 12 turnovers as a team. 

The Hoosiers cut it to eight with a pair of Thomas Bryant free throws after a flagrant-1 foul. However, Notre Dame would extend its lead back to eight after Bryant turned it over on Indiana's ensuing possesion off the free throws.  

Robert Johnson added 17 points - including 13 in the first half - for Indiana on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Williams added 10 rebounds to his 18 points, finishing with a double-double. 

After shooting just 35.3 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from the foul line in the first half, Indiana finished the game at 42.9 percent from the field and 69.6 percent from the line. The biggest improvment and contributor to Indiana's second-half run was its shooting at the free throw line, as it shot 86.7 percent from the line in the second half. 

"Our players did a fantastic job of responding to their strengths and playing through it," Crean said. "And we're very proud of the win, because I know we beat a really good Notre Dame team." 

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