"That certainly hurt us. We wanted to drive, we wanted to get to the basket, and it just wasn't going that way for us," said IU Coach Tom Crean. "There are no excuses. We have to rebound the ball better, especially at the five spot. You have to fight through that at both ends of the floor."
IU was in for an upset as Christian Watford delivered a three-pointer to give Indiana a 57-56 lead. But after that, the Wildcats would go on a 25-6 run and would end the game with a victory. Watford played another great game as usual this season, putting up 19 points. He also had nine rebounds. IU just had a tough time in the final nine minutes.
"If it was a 35-minute game, we very likely would have won the game, but it wasn't and they capitalized and they made some big plays," said Crean. "We didn't make as many. We didn't overcome some of our deficiencies today and they did at the end. As far as battling and believing you can win and being there toe-for-toe, we definitely did that, we just couldn't get over the hump at the end and again, they made some big plays."
But if this were last season, Indiana would have gotten themselves handed. They have been playing strong this season and could be on their way to the NCAA Tournament in March.
Jordan Hulls had ten points while Victor Oladipo also had ten along with an additional four rebounds. Jeremiah Rivers and Maurice Creek added seven.
"We did things today that certainly we haven't done in our time here," he said. "They're things we've got to do more as we continue to get better."
IU will face SIU-Edwardsville next on December 17th. They will be back at home as they play in the Las Vegas Invitational.
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