Saturday, March 11, 2000

Indiana falls on late shot


3-pointer by Bradford gives Illinois 72-69 win

BY SCOTT MaCGREGOR
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CHICAGO — Indiana is making a habit of last-second losses.

        The Hoosiers were burned again Friday, falling to Illinois 72-69 in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals when Illini guard Cory Bradford drained a wide-open 3-pointer with one second to play.

        It was the second straight buzzer-beating loss for Indiana, which finished the regular season with a 56-53 loss at Wisconsin. The Hoosiers also lost on a late basket at Minnesota earlier in the season, and blew a second-half lead in losing to Ohio State.

        Although it did beat Michigan State at the buzzer, losing leads in the final moments of games is becoming all too common for an Indiana team with high NCAA Tournament hopes.

        These Hoosiers (20-8) have been accused of not being tough enough. Sophomore guard Kyle Hornsby agrees.

        “We just don't grab it,” he said. “It's something we've got to learn to do if we're going to win the NCAA Tournament. It's not a physical thing, it's a mental thing, and we've got to learn how to do it.”

        IU coach Bob Knight, asked to discuss his team's struggles, said, “I've been talking about it all year.”

        Indiana, the fifth seed in the tournament, led fourth-seeded Illinois 69-66 after Jeffrey Newton hit a pair of free throws with 1:16 to play. Illinois tied it at 69 when freshman center Brian Cook backed in for a layup, was fouled and hit a free throw with just under a minute left.

        Indiana's final possession was disastrous. The Illini, one of the league's best defensive teams, forced IU center Kirk Haston to take a bad 3-pointer before the shot clock expired. Frank Williams rebounded for Illinois, brought the ball to halfcourt and called timeout.

        With 7.5 seconds left, the Illini drew up a play for Williams, a freshman. But Indiana sealed him off, forcing Cook to find forward Sergio McClain, who dribbled to draw the defender, then passed cross-court to Bradford, who was wide-open on the baseline.

        Bradford, who had struggled with his shot all game, squared up and sank the winner as Indiana's defender, A.J. Guyton, watched from several feet away.

        “It was the opposite of how we drew it up,” said Bradford, who hit only two other shots in 12 attempts. “You have to trust your shot, not worry about mechanics, and hope it goes in.”

        Illinois (20-8) held Guyton, the Big Ten's scoring leader at 20.5 points per game, to 13 points on just 5-of-20 shooting. When the Illini won by 24 points in their earlier meeting in Champaign, they held Guyton to three points.

        “I can't shoot well every night,” Guyton said. “I'm human.”

        The game was not a total blunder for the Hoosiers. Haston played well at times in the middle and scored 16 points. Newton, a surprise starter, had 14 points, including two dunks. But the team weakened down the stretch, and when Guyton was rendered ineffective, it had no consistent answer.

        And that's a problem heading into the NCAA Tournament.

        “We've got to learn from our mistakes,” Hornsby said. “We've been in the driver's seat a lot of the time. When you don't bring those out and make them wins, a lot of frustration comes from that. We need to focus.”


INDIANA (69)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Hornsby         17   2-3   0-0   3-4  1  4    5
Newton          30  5-11   4-4   7-9  1  3   14
Haston          31  5-14   6-8  3-10  3  3   16
Lewis           38   3-8   1-3   0-7  7  4    8
Guyton          37  5-20   0-0   1-5  3  2   13
Fife            11   0-0   0-2   0-0  0  2    0
Jimenez         10   1-1   0-0   0-0  1  0    2
Richardson       7   1-3   1-4   1-2  0  1    3
Odle             7   0-0   2-2   0-1  0  0    2
Washington      12   1-3   4-6   0-1  0  1    6
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 23-63 18-29 15-39 16 20   69
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.365, FT-.621. 3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Hornsby 1-1, Haston 0-2, Lewis 1-5, Guyton 3-11). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 2 (Newton, Haston). Turnovers: 17 (Guyton 5, Lewis 3, Newton 2, Washington 2, Fife, Haston, Hornsby, Jimenez, Richardson). Steals: 7 (Haston 3, Lewis 3, Jimenez).

ILLINOIS (72) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Johnson 19 0-2 0-0 1-7 0 3 0 Mcclain 23 2-3 4-4 0-2 6 3 8 Cook 22 8-14 2-3 3-8 0 3 18 Bradford 34 3-13 5-7 1-2 3 3 12 Williams 33 3-9 1-3 2-5 5 3 8 Archibald 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Harrington 13 2-4 0-0 0-0 2 1 5 Brown 17 3-6 0-0 0-1 3 3 7 Krupalija 21 3-5 0-2 1-7 0 2 6 Griffin 14 3-6 2-4 1-3 2 2 8 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 27-63 14-23 9-35 21 24 72 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.429, FT-.609. 3-Point Goals: 4-18, .222 (Johnson 0-1, Cook 0-1, Bradford 1-6, Williams 1-4, Harrington 1-2, Brown 1-3, Krupalija 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 6 (Griffin 3, Cook 2, Bradford). Turnovers: 14 (Williams 5, Mcclain 3, Griffin 2, Brown, Cook, Harrington, Johnson). Steals: 7 (Krupalija 3, Johnson 2, Mcclain, Williams). __________________________________ Indiana 33 36 - 69 Illinois 36 36 - 72 __________________________________ Technical fouls: Illinois 1 (Bench). Officials: Donnie Gray, Arnie Mcdonald, Sam Lickliter.



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