Rapid Reaction: Indiana 73, Kentucky 72
December, 10, 2011
By Dana O'Neil | ESPN.com
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Here are a few quick thoughts from Indiana's buzzer-beating 73-72 victory over No. 1 Kentucky at Assembly Hall.
Overview: Quite simply, it was a classic. After Indiana gave up a 10-point lead in the second half, Christian Watford drained a 3 at the buzzer to give the Hoosiers a program-defining win under Tom Crean. The lead exchanged hands five times in the final two minutes as these two tradition-rich programs put on a show in Bloomington. Watford's 3 won it instead of tying it because UK missed the first of two free throws seconds earlier. It created a scene unlike anything this reporter has ever seen. After so many struggles over the past few years, the Hoosier fans finally got to let it all out in a court-storm that provided a moment of catharsis that few around here will ever forget.
Star of the Game: Well, this one is easy. Watford hit one of the most memorable shots in the Hoosiers' storied history and finished with 20 points and 5 rebounds and was 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. He was one of five Indiana players in double figures, but no one besides Jordan Hulls (4-of-7 field goals, 3-of-6 3-pointers) shot it nearly as well as Watford. For Kentucky, on a day when Terrence Jones was completely absent, Doron Lamb (19 points) and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (18 points, 9 rebounds, 9-of-12 FG) kept the Cats in until the very end.
Stat line: Indiana won despite losing the turnover battle (18-16) and being outshot badly overall (56-43 percent). But the Hoosiers were 9-of-15 from long range (compared to just 2-of-7 for UK) and 14-of-17 from the charity stripe (10-of-17 for UK). That's 25 points right there. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Kentucky shot better than 55 percent and lost for just the fourth time in the past 15 years -- the last being a 2007 loss to UAB.
Memories: This was just the second time ever the Hoosiers knocked off No. 1 in Bloomington. The only other occurrence also came on a buzzer-beater, against Michigan State in January 2001.
More flashbacks: The last time the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll lost on the same day was Feb. 27, 2010, when No. 1 Kansas lost to Oklahoma State and No. 2 Kentucky lost to No. 17 Tennessee. Interestingly, Syracuse moved into the No. 1 spot after those upsets. Could the same thing happen again when the polls come out Monday?
Up Next: The Hoosiers are 9-0 for the first time since 1989, and as if IU fans weren't excited enough already, one look at the schedule and you have to think the Hoosiers are well on their way to a 12-0 start before opening up Big Ten play at Michigan State on Dec. 28. Indiana's next three games are against struggling Notre Dame next Saturday at the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis, then home games against Howard and Maryland-Baltimore County. As for the Wildcats, they've got a soft landing as well, hosting Chattanooga, Samford, Loyola (Maryland) and Lamar before a New Year's Eve showdown with in-state rival Louisville.