Furious Second-Half Rally Not Enough For IU

Bloomington – Loyola Coach Jimmy Patsos isn't exactly sure how his team managed to build a 24-point first half lead against Indiana, blow it all in the second half, and then re-group in time to upset the Hoosiers 72-67 Tuesday night at Assembly Hall.

Bloomington – Loyola Coach Jimmy Patsos isn't exactly sure how his team managed to build a 24-point first half lead against Indiana, blow it all in the second half, and then re-group in time to upset the Hoosiers 72-67 Tuesday night at Assembly Hall.

The Greyhounds' 15-0 start to the game and 46-28 halftime lead, perhaps, can be credited to the team's lunch in Indianapolis.

"They'll never forget that shrimp cocktail from Harry and Izzy's because half of them…took one bite of shrimp cocktail, we've never seen anything like it, " Patsos said of the downtown Indianapolis restaurant. "They're all watering in their eyes. Maybe that's why we got off to a good start."

Or, maybe, it was some early shots that Patsos would have originally liked to have taken back.

"We made a million lucky shots in the first half," Patsos said of his team, which made 17-of-29 shots in the opening half. "There were about eight of them that I was screaming to get back on defense, and they went in."

They did go down, and Indiana didn't have any answers early. While Loyola (6-5) was making shots in hoards, Indiana (5-6) was turning it over in bunches. The Hoosiers committed 12 of their 23 turnovers in the first 9 ½ minutes of the game and the lead continued to balloon.

"It seemed like it happened so quickly," said Jeremiah Rivers, who led Indiana with 15 points. "It's like, ‘now it's four, now it's 10, now it's 14, now it's 20.' It's play after play after play, and then all of a sudden we're down in a hole, and we're kind of like, ‘how did this happen?'"

IU Coach Tom Crean said it happened because his young team got in a hurry to try to erase the deficit, and instead of working within the flow of the offense some looked to make plays individually. That didn't work, and the end result was an 18-point halftime hole.

"I kept saying we're not going to win this game by ourselves," Crean said. "And that went in one ear and out the other."

But as bad as the opening half was for the Hoosiers, the second half was a different story. What appeared to be an insurmountable lead on paper was anything but that in Crean's mind.

"There wasn't a doubt in my mind in that second half that we were going to come back and win this," Crean said. "There was no talk (at halftime) about anything other than coming back and winning this game."

They nearly did.

After being the team that was constantly on its collective heels in the opening half, Indiana turned the tables on Loyola in the second half. A different mindset was key for the Hoosiers according to Crean, as was some fullcourt pressure that was in response to Loyola's decision to work its possessions deeper into the shot clock.

That pressure helped produce 15 second-half Loyola turnovers, and Indiana got back into the game almost as quickly as it had fallen out of it early on.

Trailing by 20 six minutes into the second half, Indiana's rally began. Spurred nine points from the previously scoreless Maurice Creek, Indiana put together a 15-0 run to cut the margin to five, 58-53, with 9:39 remaining.

Indiana's flurry wasn't finished. Trailing by five with 8:05 left, Tom Pritchard and Rivers scored in the paint to cut the margin to one. After Loyola's Brian Rudolph pushed the lead back to two with a free-throw, Verdell Jones capped Indiana's comeback with a pair of free throws at the 5:23 mark to tie the game for the first time, 62-62.

Moments later, Rivers seemingly put Indiana over the top. Rivers knocked down a 14-foot jumper while being fouled, and the ensuing free-throw gave Indiana a 65-62 lead with 3:48 remaining.

But the magical comeback wasn't to be. Loyola's Brett Harvey scored eight of his game-high 25 points in the final 3:01 – including his second four-point play of the half when he was fouled on a made 3-pointer by Rivers – to avoid a calamitous collapse. Indiana, meanwhile, missed five of its final six shots and four free throws down the stretch.

Two of those misses came from Rivers, who had a chance to extend a two-point Indiana lead to four with 2:03 remaining. But Rivers missed both attempts, and then fouled Harvey on a 3-point make seconds later that gave Loyola a two-point lead that it would never again relinquish.

"I didn't want to let my team down," Rivers said. "I didn't feel pressure from the game. I think the only pressure I felt was letting my team down. That's the last thing I wanted to do. We'd fought so hard trying to come back. It was real tough for me."

It was also tough for the Hoosiers, who had hoped to follow up a good semester in the classroom (Crean said 10 of IU's players had GPAs of 3.0 or above) with a second straight win heading into the holiday break. Instead, they're dealing with a tough-to-take loss and learning more lessons.

"It reinforces that we have a tremendous amount of learning to do," Crean said. "Everybody wants it back as soon as possible…I know I do. But there's no magic formula, no magic wand….we learned a hard lesson tonight."

Watford 3-11 4-4 10, Elston 1-2 0-0 2, Creek 3-6 1-1 9, Rivers 6-10 3-9 15, Jones 2-7 9-12 14, Hulls 2-3 0-0 6, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Capobianco 0-0 0-0 0, Pritchard 3-5 1-2 8, Dumes 0-4 4-4 4, Jobe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-48 22-32 67.

Winbush 3-5 0-0 8, Walker 0-2 2-4 2, Brooks 4-4 0-0 8, Harvey 7-11 8-9 25, Olson 2-2 0-0 6, Lewis 2-3 2-4 6, Wright 1-3 1-2 3, Barney 5-14 2-5 13, Rudolph 0-1 1-2 1. Totals 24-45 16-26 72.

3-Pointers: Indiana 5-11 (Creek 2-3, Hulls 2-3, Jones 1-2, Dumes 0-2, Watford 0-1), Loyola (8-16 (Harvey 3-5, Olson 2-2, Winbush 2-2, Barney 1-5, Walker 0-2). Rebounds: Indiana 33 (Pritchard 8), Loyola 27 (Walker 7). Assists: Indiana 9 (Rivers 4), Loyola 15 (Harvey 5). Turnovers: Indiana 23, Loyola 23. Blocks: Indiana 5 (Jones 3, Rivers 1, Elston 1), Loyola 4 (Walker 2, Brooks 1, Wright 1). Steals: Indiana 10, Loyola 13. Officials: Zelton Steed, Bert Smith, Ron Tyburski. Attendance: 11,321.

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