Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE
The Hoosiers blew a large lead in the final minute of regulation, but owned overtime and eventually finished off the Hoyas.
Indiana and Georgetown put on quite a show for a national TV audience, but just when it appeared the Hoosiers had the game put away, with 63-,56 lead with 1:18 remaining, the Hoyas came back to tie based on a combination of excellent offensive play on their part (I didn't think IU's defense was bad) and missed free throws by IU. In overtime, the Hoosiers were undaunted by the late-regulation disappointment. IU scored the first six points of overtime and the Hoyas never got any closer than four points. When it was over, IU has outscored Georgetown 18-8 in overtime and claimed the Legends Classic title. This is IU's first tournament title of any sort since winning the Maui Invitational ten years ago. While it wasn't always pretty, the Hoosiers departed Brooklyn as they arrived: ranked number one.
It's unmistakable that Georgetown dicated the pace of the game. Even with overtime this was only a 63 possession game. IU's offensive efficiency number of 116.5 was better than against Georgia, but the 1.02 points per possession allowed to Georgetown is IU's worst allowed of the season. On the other hand, Georgetown managed 1.10 points per possession against UCLA, so there's really no shame in that. Georgetown was fairly streaky from behind the arc, shooting it very well in the first half (Georgetown made 8 of its first 12) and 8-14 overall in the first half) but made only one in the second half until hitting two in the final 68 seconds of the half to force overtime. Neither team rebounded particularly well--IU grabbed 25 percent of offensive rebound opportunities while Georgetown had 31 percent. While missed free throws allowed Georgetown to send the game to overtime, IU won the game at the line. IU outscored Georgetown by 17 at the line, making 26-36 compared to 9-10 for the Hoyas.
Jordan Hulls was named the tournament MVP, and with good reason. Hulls was tied with Cody Zeller for the team lead with 17 points, and in addition to his usual strong offensive performance Hulls had four steals. I feel bad for describing him as a defensive liability in my Q&A with Casual Hoya. Hulls unquestionably has stepped up his game in this regard and definitely has the "hungry senior" feel this season. And yes, I agree that it was a bad misstep for Crean to have him out of the game at all during the final minute, let alone to not burn one of three remaining timeouts to get him back onto the court when IU got the ball back. There is no guarantee that Hulls would have shot free throws better than Yogi Ferrell, but I would have liked to have found out. Other individual performances:
- Zeller was much better, and hopefully he can fully recuperate in time for the Ball State game on Sunday. Zeller was only 4-11 from the field but was 9-13 from the line and had eight rebounds.
- Will Sheehey looked lost early, but picked it up in the second half and finished with 6 points on 3-4 from the field.
- Victor Oladipo scored 12 points on 4-5 from the field and 3-4 from the line.
- Remy Abell's stat line looks quiet (6 points on 2-4 from the field and 2-2 from deep), but he hit what may have been the biggest shot of the night. With 10:07 remaining Georgetown was up by 4, its biggest lead of the second half, when Abell buried a 3 to pull IU within 1. An Abell rebound at the defensive end set up a Hulls three on the next possession, and Georgetown never led again.
- Christian Watford struggled on the inside against Georgetown's height, but he did make 3-4 three pointers and had 10 rebounds.
- Yogi Ferrell's free throw problems shouldn't overshadow the fact that he played a nice game against his toughest opposition to date. He scored 14 points on 2-6 from the field and 9-11 from the line, and his desperation three with the shot clock expiring in the final minute of overtime finished Georgetown. He had 4 assists and a steal to 2 turnovers.
It's disappointing that IU couldn't finish the job in regulation, but it's always nicer to learn lessons in a win rather than in a loss. IU played reasonably well against a well-coached team that had a decided size advantage. IU weathered its first major competition as the nation's top-ranked team, and now does not leave the state of Indiana again until the Big Ten opener at Iowa on December 31. The first segment of the schedule is complete, and IU is 5-0.