Indiana upended by late 3 in 69-66 loss

There may come a day when the Hoosiers win a game against an opponent like George Mason because of a physical advantage. Sunday, though, the Patriots proved that those days remain in the future. The Hoosiers' opponents outmuscled and outscored them 42-20 in the paint on their way to a 69-66 win. A 3-pter by Cam Long in the final seconds provided the death blow.

There may come a day when the Hoosiers win a game against an opponent like George Mason because of a physical advantage. Sunday, though, the Patriots proved that those days remain far in the future. The Hoosiers' opponents outmuscled and outscored them 42-20 in the paint on their way to a 69-66 win.

Athletic forward Mike Morrison put up career highs in points (17), rebounds (13), and blocks (7) to guide George Mason to the win. Freshman Luke Hancock came off the bench to add 9 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists. Of course, no one's contribution was more important than junior Cam Long's 25-foot 3-pointer that banked in with 5.4 seconds to give the game its final margin.

The Patriots took possession after Christian Watford coolly nailed two free throws with 41.5 seconds left to tie the game at 60. They ran the clock all the way down before finding a well-guarded Long, who rose and shot over Jordan Hulls and Jeremiah Rivers for the winning shot.

Indiana tried to bounce back by inbounding the ball to Rivers, who pushed it up court quickly but was fouled, sending him to the line with just 2.9 left on the clock. Needing to make the first and miss the second to give the Hoosiers any chance of tying the game, Rivers did just that. The carom was tipped out by Derek Elston, but into the hands of a Patriot to seal the game.

"We had no choice at the end of the game," Crean said. "We were out of timeouts. If there's a second or two more on that we make the foul shots and then we foul."

It was a back and forth affair throughout as the biggest lead of the game was just a six point margin in favor of the Hoosiers that quickly vanished early in the second half. The lead changed hands 24 times, bouncing back and forth down to the wire. Ultimately, the Hoosiers just couldn't handle the size, power, and athleticism of the Patriots who scored inside the paint easily, while the Hoosiers seemed to struggle for their points.

"We played hard for forty minutes, but we missed 13 or 14 lay-ups in the first half because we didn't shoot them the proper way," said Crean. "First three out of four baskets were lay-ups that we missed because we didn't use the glass or go up and dunk the ball. Some of that's physicality, some of that's courage, young guys not being old enough to do that yet, but some of that is just flat out being a player."

After getting whipped on the boards in their previous game, the Hoosiers did bounce back with 15 offensive rebounds and a 40-37 rebounding advantage overall. Freshman Bobby Capobianco led the way with ten rebounds, including five offensive. Watford added ten points and eight rebounds and Rivers had nine points and seven boards, but also finished with just one assist and four turnovers. The Hoosiers were led in scoring once again by Maurice Creek with 15 points on 6-10 shooting. Verdell Jones came off the bench to score 13 points, but shot just 3-10 from the field. Starter Devan Dumes played just seven minutes and went scoreless with two turnovers.

"Second half we played much better and finally started to look like a team," Crean said. "We played our best half of basketball and grew up. Didn't mean we didn't make mistakes, didn't mean we didn't shots, didn't mean we didn't have turnovers, but we started to grow up and that's exactly what's got to happen on this team going forward."

The loss drops Indiana to 2-3 on the season and a last place finish in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off tournament. They now head home where they will face Northwestern State this Saturday before beginning a three-game meat grinder with Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Kentucky.

"We just got to learn to listen and learn to make the plays," said Crean. "I know fans at home got to be getting frustrated. Don't get frustrated. I'm not frustrated, I'm angry because I got a bunch of young guys that don't know how to listen yet. But we did start to see the team really start to grow up in the second half and that's what we are going to build on."

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