WHAT HAPPENED: Sophomore walk-on point guard Alex Barlow hit a floater in the lane with 2.3 seconds to go in overtime to give Butler an 88-86 win over No. 1 Indiana in front of 19,192 in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Indiana rallied back from a seven-point deficit with 2:22 to go in regulation and a 74-69 deficit with 38 seconds remaining thanks to a 3-point play by junior guard Victor Oladipo and a game-tying 3-pointer with six seconds to go by freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell. The Hoosiers built an 84-80 lead in overtime, but the Bulldogs got back-to-back 3-pointers by senior guards Rotnei Clarke and Chase Stigall to take the lead back. IU sophomore center Cody Zeller tied the game with 19 seconds left before Barlow’s bucket won the game.
WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Barlow, a sophomore walk-on, had scored 18 points in his career before Saturday and had one field goal before overtime. However, he backed IU senior guard Jordan Hulls into the lane and hit a floater over him for the game-winner.
Butler coach Brad Stevens called sophomore forward Roosevelt Jones “the best player on the floor” on Saturday, and his line made it hard to argue. He posted a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds and also had seven assists and two blocks.
Senior center Andrew Smith scored fewer points than Zeller, but he appeared to win the matchup with 12 points and nine rebounds before fouling out in the second half. Bloomington South graduate Erik Fromm also scored 10 points, hitting a pair of crucial 3-pointers, and junior wing Khyle Marshall scored 11 points.
For Indiana, junior guard Victor Oladipo continued his stellar play with 18 points, four assists, two blocks and four steals. Zeller struggled, but still finished with 18 points. Junior swingman Will Sheehey had 13 points and senior forward Christian Watford had 10, but Watford only grabbed three rebounds and was 1-for-5 from the field.
WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Butler only won the rebound battle by two, but it felt like a significantly greater margin because the Bulldogs got 27 second-chance points to Indiana’s 17. The Bulldogs had 19 offensive rebounds while the Hoosiers only had 20 on the defensive glass.
Butler also took advantage of several IU defensive miscues, including two critical ones on the 3-pointers by Clarke and Stigall in overtime. Clarke was sprung open when a IU defender went under a screen, and Stigall hit his when Hulls bit on a pass-fake while trying to rotate.
The Hoosiers were able to force their way back into the game after falling behind in the second half with a wicked full-court press — which IU coach Tom Crean said he wish he would have deployed earlier — and the Hoosiers got critical plays down that stretch. Ferrell’s 3-pointer was particularly impressive, because minutes earlier he had fumbled a pass that appeared to be a back-breaking turnover. It was a huge shot, considering that Ferrell had come into the game shooting 1-for-10 from 3-point range on the year.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN: Indiana will assuredly lose it’s No. 1 ranking, most likely to Duke, and the dream of matching the 1975-76 team’s unbeaten season are officially dashed, but for a number of reasons, this might be good for the Hoosiers in the long term. It gives the Hoosiers a number of obvious issues to work on, because they had to pay dearly for their mistakes in this one, and there will be evidence on film of what went wrong and the cost of those mistakes. The Hoosiers will still have pressure and a target on their backs, but it gets significantly smaller now that they’ve lost a game. They get to move forward with a spotlight that’s just slightly less bright.
WHO SAID WHAT:
IU coach Tom Crean
On what IU can learn from this:
“We didn’t play well enough to win,” Crean said. “We just didn’t. It’s things that we certainly have to get better at, and it’s things thing we can. It’s communication. It’s rebounding. Those are all things that are correctible … Our practices, they’ll be fierce now. They’ve been, but now we’ve got a chance to really dive in. They’ll be able to say, ‘Hey, this got us. We’ve gotta get this fixed.’”
“I think we’re gonna be disappointed in some of our contact on the block-outs (when we watch the game on film),” Crean said. “Some balls bounced wrong. We’ve just gotta go up with two hands and get them. Those type of things. Balls bounced (the wrong way) a couple of times like that, but that’s not an excuse for us on the fact that we didn’t rebound well enough. Then the first half, we didn’t offensive rebound nearly well enough. I know we ended up with 18 offensive boards. That number should’ve been way higher today. Our offensive rebounding attempts were not nearly where they needed to be.”
On defensive miscues
“We went under a screen, which was at the top of the chart, don’t ever do that,” Crean said. “We had a miscommunication on a switch. There’s no question we cost ourselves at the end of the game defensively. They made the plays. They get the credit for that, but we made the mistake in how we guarded them.”
On the reason Cody Zeller was not in the game for Butler’s final possession
“We wanted to switch on everything because they were in the ball screen game,” Crean said. “They were running a lot of high ball screens at the end of regulation and overtime. In that situation, we wanted to continue to have that situation, because it was either gonna be a drive or a three. … We wanted to make sure that we could defend the high ball screen which they had been running consistently and not put ourselves in a switch that would be advantageous to them.”
On his game-tying shot
“I just knew time was winding down. I looked at Cody and he popped out. He just pretty much gave it to me and I was pretty much open, so I just shot.”
On defensive issues
“We just had miscommunication up top. In the heat of battle, sometimes we mis-communicated. Everyone makes mistakes. That just happened, and we’re definitely going to work on that in practice.”
“We’ve gotta continue to keep going. Work on some things in practice and stay together. I think that’s the big thing. Just stay together. Stick with one another and look out for each other.”