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Victor Oladipo leads the Hoosiers off the court on Thursday against Illinois. Chris Howell | Herald-Times
Of course Tom Pritchard made the final shot. He had to, right? The much-maligned, more fouls than points junior had the two biggest points of his career on Thursday.
The big man put back Christian Watford’s miss (a put-back of a Jordan Hulls miss), and Indiana held Illinois scoreless for the last 2:44 in winning 52-49 in Assembly Hall.
The student section stormed the court afterwards and eventually Tom Crean ended up in the south lobby, celebrating the win with fans.
Indiana forced MIke Tisdale into a turnover with 16 seconds to play. Hulls made a pair of free-throws, and Indiana held on as D.J. Richardson and Brandon Paul both missed potentially-game tying 3-pointers in the final seconds.
“There’s no place in the country that would support a program that has been going through what we’ve been going through like we have been supported,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said.
Hulls led the Hoosiers with 18 points, including 4 3-pointers. He looked as confident as he ever has in an Indiana uniform, like the pressure of knowing Indiana needs him to score finally pushed him over the edge.
Christian Watford came through with 16 points, and Jeremiah Rivers deserves a host of credit for the defense he played on Demetri McCamey — Illinois’ best player was 2-of-11 from the field, 2-of-7 from 3-point range.
So by now you’ve probably seen the Big Ten Icons series. Its been running all fall and into the winter, after all. Pretty good stuff, right? The kind of thing the Big Ten Network should be producing, no?
About a month ago I got an e-mail from the Big Ten Network asking me to predict the top-eight. There were quite a few of us invited, and the winner would have $5,000 donated in his/her name to their favorite charity. The top-five would get a set of mini-bobbleheads.
Needing a mini-Ron Dayne to complete my living room, I went for it. I picked South Central Community Action Program (a local charity that helps those dealing with poverty and does a lot of good work) as my favorite charity, and went about the task of widdling down the top-eight.
I missed out on No. 8 (It was Ohio State’s Jerry Lucas; I guessed Michigan’s Bennie Oosterbaan), and then again on No. 7 (I went Lucas; it was Iowa’s Nile Kinnick).
I finally got one right this week, though — No. 6, Dick Butkus of Illinois.
Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal and Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette are in the lead. I am tied for third with three others, including Hutch.
I’ll need some help to win — No. 5 is already zero points for me, so I probably need to get my top-four in order (Illinois’ Red Grange at No. 4, Michigan State’s Magic Johnson at No. 3, Ohio State’s Archie Griffin at No. 2, and Ohio State’s Jesse Owens at No. 1) to have a chance.
But, yeah, figured I would let you guys and girls know this is happening.
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