Indianapolis, Ind. – The five-game winning streak for the Indiana Hoosiers may be over, but it did not end without a fight. The Hoosiers found themselves attempting another second half rally, this time led by point guard Earl Calloway.
The 6-3 junior brought Indiana back from a nine-point deficit with gritty play and eye-popping toughness.
"I tried to bring the toughness because they wanted to bully us the whole game," said Calloway. "We won't stand for that. Nobody is going to push us around. As a team we need to stand our ground and we did."
Indiana got knocked around early by the Buckeyes, but Calloway decided enough was enough for him and his teammates. Calloway took it to Ohio State's interior defense and led Indiana on a 9-0 run with about eight and half minutes to go in the game that tied the contest, 47-47. He capped the run off himself with a three-point play after driving to the basket and drawing a foul on Ohio State's Matt Sylvester.
"We pushed the tempo because they seemed pretty tired," said Calloway. "Our main thing was to get the ball up the court to get open looks and try to find Marco in the paint."
Calloway also played the role of enforcer for the Hoosiers by slowing down the Buckeyes' leading scorer J.J. Sullinger. After Sullinger had rattled of 13 staight points for Ohio State, the two got tangled in two separate instances in the second half. The first involved Sullinger seemingly pulling Calloway to the floor after an offensive rebound from Calloway, but the play was called a travel on Calloway instead of a foul.
"I have no idea what happened on that play," said Calloway. "I thought they called the foul on Sullinger. I had the rebound and he pulled me down. I thought they called the foul and I got up and had no idea what was going on."
The second sequence involved another rebound battle between the two, this time with Sullinger coming up on the wrong end of the deal. Calloway jumped for a rebound under the Ohio State basket and appeared to catch Sullinger in the eye on his way down. Sullinger would have to leave the game with a cut above his left eye, but would return. He did not score another point after the incident however.
One day after Calloway and the Hoosiers and zero first half assists, the Hoosier point dished out three of his six assists in the opening period and helped Indiana into the locker room in the lead for the first time in four games. Calloway finished the contest with seven points and eight rebounds.
That effort had IU Coach Mike Davis signing his praises, and also predicting big things next season.
"Earl has developed into a nice player for us," said Davis. "He gives you something you can't teach and that's speed and quickness. He's done a great job for us. He's getting better game by game. I think next year he's going to be either a first-team or second-team all-league player."
Calloway finished the night above his season averaged in points, rebounds and assists and committed only one turnover against the Buckeyes – traveling on the play he felt he was fouled by Sullinger.
"I was just seeing the floor better tonight," said Calloway. "Coach told me to push the tempo and look for the wings. If they were open, I hit them. We were fortunate enough to hit the shots to stay in the game because everyone was in the right place."
Calloway Pointed In Right Direction
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