4:30 PM ET, January 24, 2004
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Coach Mike Davis was asked about Bracey Wright's impressive spin move late in overtime that helped Indiana beat Minnesota.The shot against two defenders drew a collective "Ooooh!!" from the crowd."That's what I taught him, every day," Davis said sternly before breaking into laughter. "No, just kidding."All joking aside, Davis and the Hoosiers were relieved to come away with the 86-81 win Saturday after blowing an early lead and surviving a furious Gophers rally. The victory was Indiana's fourth straight and kept the Hoosiers tied for the lead in the Big Ten standings."It was a big win for us," Wright said.Wright scored 22 points and A.J. Moye added 20, including six in overtime, to send the Gophers to their fifth straight Big Ten loss.The Hoosiers (10-6, 4-1 Big Ten) led by as many as 18 points in the first half and won their third straight conference road game. That string includes close wins at Michigan and Ohio State.Indiana, which outscored Minnesota 11-6 in overtime, had lost five straight at Williams Arena dating back to 1996."If we lost the lead and lost this game, we'd have something to be mad about," Moye said. "You'd love to win by 30 or 40, but you have to take what you can in the conference."Sean Kline scored 13 points in the second half for Indiana. George Leach scored a season-high 12 points, all in the first half, and Marshall Strickland also had 12 for the Hoosiers.Star freshman Kris Humphries scored 24 points for the Gophers (8-9, 0-5) but finished 7-for-26 and missed two crucial free throws late in overtime."When you are struggling as a team like we are right now, your mind-set can be fragile in close situations," Gophers coach Dan Monson said.Humphries hit all 10 of his previous free throws, but missed two with Indiana leading 81-77 with 1:46 to go. Then came Wright's amazing shot that deflated the Gophers and the crowd. He took Ben Johnson off the dribble, spun around Michael Bauer and laid in his shot to make it 83-79."I tried to get them to freeze," Wright said. "It got tangled in my legs, so I threw it up."Said Moye: "He does that stuff all the time. You should see him in practice. That was amazing."Strickland added two more free throws. Johnson hit a jumper for Minnesota with 10.5 seconds left and Indiana sank another foul shot."They got the win, and that's all we're searching for right now," Bauer said.After a horrible start, Minnesota had a good chance to pick up its first Big Ten win.The Gophers ripped off a 24-8 run spanning both halves. Adam Boone hit a three with 10:36 to go in regulation to give Minnesota its first lead at 55-54.But Kline went 6-for-7 from the field to help Indiana regain the lead.Johnson nailed a pull-up jumper to cut Indiana's lead to 74-73 with just over a minute to play in regulation. But Indiana got an offensive rebound on its next possession and Donald Perry hit the second of two free throws to give the Hoosiers a 75-73 lead with 21.5 seconds left.After a time-out, Humphries banked in a runner in the lane to tie the game with 11.1 seconds to play and the Hoosiers couldn't get off a clean shot on their final possession, sending the game to overtime."I was proud of the way that our players fought back," Monson said. "You can't fault the effort of our team today."The game came a day after the Gophers learned starting guard Moe Hargrow quit the team and decided to transfer. But the players said Hargrow's absence didn't effect their early struggles.Indiana jumped out to a quick 14-2 lead. The Hoosiers used good ball movement to get some close looks, which helped Leach inside. Leach went 6 of 8 in the first half and the Hoosiers hit 13 of their first 17 shots.Minnesota's shots, meanwhile, kept falling short. Humphries missed 11 of his 13 first-half shots."I missed a lot of shots I thought I could make," he said.