Alex Barlow was the least likely person to take the final shot for Butler. As time ticked away, he drove the ball on Indiana's Jordan Hulls and chucked up a prayer. His shot bounced around and eventually fell through the rim with 2.3 seconds left on the clock.
No one could help Hulls, save for Will Sheehey who was in the game for Cody Zeller and failed to provide any help. The subsequent inbounds pass was to Hulls who drove to the middle of the court before heaving a desperation shot that was wide left.
The Hoosiers are undefeated no more after losing to Butler in the Crossroads Classic 88-86. Indiana came back from a seven point deficit to force overtime and even took a four point lead before back-to-back threes got Butler back into the game.
Looking at the stat sheet, it looks as if the Hoosiers should have won the game. They had advantages in turnovers, assists, steals, and especially in personal fouls. By the start of overtime, three of Butler's starters had fouled out of the game. In reality, they should have fouled out sooner but IU didn't attack the players in foul trouble for some reason.
The big difference maker in the game came in the form of rebounds. Butler took the edge there 37-31, and had a 17-12 advantage on the offensive glass. This is where IU was really outworked. The Hoosiers leading rebounder, Cody Zeller, ended the game with just five rebounds. Butler's center Andrew Smith had nine and consistently got Zeller off his spot.
Smith bullied Zeller all night long and made him look incredibly soft. Zeller tried to play too much like a wing player rather than body up his man and go to the basket with authority. This was atypical of what we have seen from Zeller this season and it really hurt the Hoosiers. He settled for a hook or a floater far too often yesterday. In reality, Smith should have fouled out a lot sooner but it was unclear what constituted a foul in Saturday's game.
IU had Butler in the Bonus with 15 minutes left to play in the game, but failed to take advantage of it.
Butler's leading scorer, Rotnei Clarke, only hit 7 of his 19 field goals but five of them were three's and he finished with 19 points. For much of the day, he was completely shut down by Victor Oladipo. Clarke had a nack for hitting the big shots when Butler needed them most, even with a man in his face or if he was five feet behind the three-point line.
The Hoosiers appeared to be completely off their game for the entire 45 minutes. They were never able to get in a comfortable groove or set the pace of the game. They lacked the selfless play that promotes ball movement and utilizes IU's speed. This was by far the most selfish that they will play all season.
It's clear that the games Indiana has played over the past couple weeks have made them complacent. This game was a wake up call that should light a fire under the players and promote better play. Butler exposed IU and its lack of toughness. The refereeing was questionable, but when things broke the Hoosiers way, they failed to take advantage.
We'll have more on this game up later.
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