The NCAA Tournament field won't be announced until a week from Sunday, but Indiana punched its postseason ticket Saturday.
In a game that featured 44 turnovers and 44 fouls, Indiana used a 7-0 run in the game's final minute to upend Michigan 69-67 at Crisler Arena. The win was Indiana's fourth straight and locked up the fifth seed and a first-round bye for the Hoosiers (17-10/9-7) in next week's Big Ten Tournament. Indiana will play fourth-seeded Wisconsin at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
It was also the win that likely put the Hoosiers safely into the NCAA field. With a season sweep of Michigan to go along with wins over Top 25 teams Michigan State, Ohio State and Illinois, the Selection Committee will have a hard time passing over the Hoosiers for a third straight year in eight days.
To get the win, Indiana had to overcome abysmal starts to both halves to even give itself a chance in the closing minutes. Indiana fell behind 10-0 to start the game and then saw a three-point halftime deficit balloon to 10 after a 9-2, four-minute run by Michigan early in the second half.
"We got down 10-0, 12-3, but we came back and fought. Our guys played hard," IU Coach Mike Davis said.
Indiana whittled away both times, eventually finding itself down two, 64-62, with one minute remaining. And in a matchup of two teams that many think needed to win this game to guarantee itself a spot in the NCAA field, it was IU Coach Mike Davis' team that came up with all the big plays in the closing minute.
First it was Marco Killingsworth, who tied the contest with a 17-foot jumper from the left wing with 58 seconds remaining. Michigan's Daniel Horton, who finished with a game-high 34, tried to tie the game on the other end, but his contested jumper went off the side of the backboard with 38 seconds remaining and Indiana corralled the rebound.
It appeared Indiana would set up for potentially the game's final shot, but Michigan guard Dion Harris immediately fouled Earl Calloway in the backcourt and sent him to the line. Calloway hit the second of two free throws to put Indiana up one, 65-64, with :30.9 remaining.
Michigan then held for the game's final shot, but Harris failed to make up for his earlier foul. With the game clock under ten seconds, Horton skipped the ball cross court to Harris who drove baseline, but his 13-footer over Killingsworth missed and was corralled by Rod Wilmont with :02.1 remaining. Wilmont made both free throws to extend the lead to three, 67-64.
Michigan had one final chance to try to send the game into overtime, but Graham Brown's attempted length of the court pass deflected off a speaker on the the Crisler Arena scoreboard, giving the ball back over to Indiana. Wilmont hit two more free throws, and Indiana had its 10th straight win over the Wolverines dating back to 2001.
"I can't tell you how proud I am of this team, the courage they've shown, to put four straight games together," Davis said.
Killingsworth was one of four Hoosiers in double figures, scoring a team-high 19 points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds. Robert Vaden finished with 13 and Marshall Strickland added 12, with each connecting on a couple of critical 3-point baskets in the game's final five minutes. Wilmont, meanwhile, scored 11 of his 13 in the second half and added five rebounds.
Michigan, meanwhile, was led by Horton's 34. One of eight Wolverines presumably his final home game on Senior Day, Horton was 9-of-17 from the field and 3-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc. Horton was also 13-of-13 from the free-throw line, making him 89-of-91 during league games this year (97.8 percent). That shattered former IU great Steve Alford's Big Ten record of 93.5 percent shooting in conference games.
But other than Horton, Michigan struggled to get much offensively. Graham Brown was the only other Wolverine to finish in double figures, concluding his UM homecourt career with a 10-point, nine-rebound effort against IU.
"The last four games our defense has really stepped up," Davis said. "We've put an emphasis on it, blocking out…defensively we're where we need to be. I love this basketball team right now."
The NCAA Selection Committee figures to like Indiana as well next Sunday. Not only did IU secure the first-round Big Ten tourney bye with its win in Ann Arbor, but it also gave the Hoosiers the sort of signature road victory that their resume might have been lacking.
"This is a big win for the Hoosier fans, a great , great, great win for the IU fans," Davis said.
Killingsworth 9-13 1-2 19, Vaden 4-11 2-2 13, Strickland 4-12 2-2 12, Ratliff 2-4 0-0 5, Calloway 1-2 1-2 3, Wilmont 4-8 5-6 13, Suhr 1-2 0-0 3, Allen 0-3 1-2 1, Monroe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-55 12-16 69.
Harrell 0-0 0-0 0, Ba 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 5-7 0-1 10, Horton 9-17 13-13 34, Grooms 0-0 0-0 0, Smith 0-2 1-2 1, Harris 2-10 2-2 7, Petway 2-4 1-2 5, Coleman 3-6 2-5 9, Sims 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 21-46 20-27 67.
Halftime Score: Michigan 30, Indiana 27. 3-Pointers: Indiana 7-22 (Vaden 3-8, Strickland 2-7, Ratliff 1-1, Wilmont 0-2, Suhr 1-2, Allen 0-2), Michigan 5-16 (Horton 3-6, Smith 0-1, Harris 1-6, Coleman 1-3). Rebounds: Indiana 31 (Killingsworth 13), Michigan 13 (Brown 9). Assists: Indiana 14 (Killingsworth 3, Ratliff 3, Strickland 3, Wilmont 3), Michigan 7 (Sims 3). Turnovers: Indiana 20 (Killingsworth 6), Michigan 24 (Horton 6). Blocks: Indiana 1 (Ratliff), Michigan 5 (Petway 2, Horton 1, Coleman 1, Sims 1). Steals: Indiana 10 (Calloway 3), Michigan 7 (Horton 2, Smith 2). Officials: Donnee Gray, Sid Rodeheffer, Dan Chrisman. Attendance: 13,751.
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