Late Hoosier Rally Falls Short Against Butler - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Late Hoosier Rally Falls Short Against Butler

INDIANAPOLIS (WFIE) -

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana fell short of a valiant comeback attempt against the #18 Butler Bulldogs, 83-78, in the second leg of a compelling Crossroads Classic at Bankers' Life Arena. James Blackmon led #9 Indiana's scoring output with 26 points, going 4-for-7 from the 3-point line.

The Hoosiers (8-2) trailed by 14 points heading to the locker room at halftime, as the Bulldogs (10-1) created separation with their accuracy behind the arc. Butler made half of their 3-pointers, going 7-for-14 in the first 20 minutes; Indiana, on the other end, couldn't land a long-range shot before the break.
 
They stayed in the hunt with their size and length, protecting the glass and getting in the air on shot defense. The Hoosiers out-rebounded Butler, 42-26, pulling 14 rebounds off of their offensive glass. Juwan Morgan championed the retrieval effort with 10 rebounds while also leading IU with 4 of their 8 total blocks. Both figures are career highs for the do-it-all sophomore.
 
Indiana also outscored Butler in the paint, 38-26, with a great deal of the credit going to big man Thomas Bryant. The sophomore tallied 15 points with 7 boards, including 3 offensive rebounds. Josh Newkirk helped spark the comeback in the lane, as he scored all three of his makes in the paint.
 
The backcourt tandem of Blackmon and Robert Johnson nearly flipped the script in the final 10 minutes of the game. Both shooters found their stroke from deep, with Blackmon going 4-of-6 in the second half and Johnson draining his only second half attempt for IU's first 3-point make of the evening. Johnson finished 4-of-5 from the field with 11 points. Both players combined to make 6 of Indiana's 20 free throw conversions.
 
As the clock crept closer to the final buzzer, Butler's gap on Indiana began to close. Morgan scored a tip-in to pull within 7 points. After that, Johnson found Blackmon on the perimeter to pull within 4. Butler extended their margin with a pair of free throws in the final minute, but Blackmon countered again on a 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining.
 
The comeback ended for Indiana on a designed inbounds play, where Butler set up a running Tyler Wideman for a dunk with 15 seconds remaining. Guard Kelan Martin led the Bulldogs to victory with 28 points, going 5-for-9 from 3-point range.
 
The Hoosiers face a slate with four of their next five games in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, but they only have two games remaining before their Big Ten opener against Nebraska at the end of the month. IU's season continues on Monday, December 19 when they host the Delaware State Hornets. The game is set for an 8:00 p.m. ET tipoff, and will air live on the Big Ten Network.

Courtesy:  Indiana Sports Information Dept.  Copyright 2016, WFIE, All rights reserved.

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