Indiana looked all kinds of awful in the first half Saturday afternoon, but a huge second half powered a comeback win over Notre Dame.
The Hoosiers shot 51.7 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes, and a defensive change by Tom Crean cooled off the Irish. Indiana erased a 16-point second-half deficit to earn a huge non-conference win by a final score of 80-73.
The Hoosiers looked dreadful on defense in the first half, a theme of the season for a team that doesn't have trouble scoring but has consistent trouble keeping opponents at bay. The Irish shot 53.1 percent in the first half, while the Hoosiers were cold, shooting just 35.3 percent from the field. Notre Dame used a 14-5 run to build an eight-point lead by the half's midway point, and only the Irish missing opportunities and a late spark by Thomas Bryant kept the halftime deficit at just 10. It certainly could've been much worse for Indiana.
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It was more of the same at the start of the second half, as the Irish ballooned the lead out to 16 in the half's opening minutes. But Crean switched the Hoosiers over to a 1-3-1 zone defense, significantly impacting the Irish's offensive capabilities. Indiana chipped away, and a big 13-4 run was capped by Yogi Ferrell's game-tying 3-pointer, knotting the score at 71 with a little more than four minutes to play.
Ferrell's 3 was actually the Hoosiers' final made basket of the game, but they did damage at the free-throw line in the game's final minutes, as the Irish missed free throws and turned the ball over. Indiana went 9-for-10 from the stripe over the final two minutes, 44 seconds. Notre Dame missed its last seven field-goal tries and a pair of free throws, going scoreless over the final two minutes, 55 seconds. The Hoosiers finished the game on a 17-2 run.
Troy Williams had a terrific game with 18 points, 16 of them coming in the second half, and 10 rebounds. Williams played the biggest role in Indiana's comeback, as the Hoosiers outscored the Irish by 17 over the final 20 minutes. Robert Johnson finished with 17 points, James Blackmon Jr. scored 11 and Bryant had 10.
Indiana improved to 9-3 with the win and wraps up non-conference play against Kennesaw State next week.