Don’t call it a comeback: Hoosiers fall to Loyola

  • 12/22/2009 9:55 pm in


The road back from a 24-point deficit is a long one.

But after a three-point play by Jeremiah Rivers with 3:48 remaining, the Indiana Hoosiers had their first lead, and for a few short moments, momentum, Tuesday night in Assembly Hall.

That lead, however, would be short lived.

The Hoosiers (5-6) missed four free throws and failed to score in the final 2:55 in a head scratching 72-67 loss to Loyola (MD).

The opening half of basketball was easily Indiana’s worst of the season. The Hoosiers failed to score in the first 6:17. They committed 14 turnovers, which lead to 20 Loyola points. And with 1:38 left, Indiana trailed at home by 24 to a program that had never beaten a Big Ten opponent.

“They were taking balls from us. We did not come out aggressive enough,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “They put us back on our heels in a big way.”

But for as poorly as Indiana played the first twenty minutes, Loyola matched their level of ineptitude in the second half.

The Greyhounds (6-5) committed 15 second half turnovers. They missed seven free throws. And after leading 58-38, they allowed Indiana to reel off a 27-4 run for a 65-62 IU lead.

Maurice Creek, who failed to score in the first half, scored all nine of his points during this stretch. And for a few moments, it looked as if the first half performance would be quickly forgotten.

“Especially 24 hours removed from the Sacramento Kings coming back from 35 against the Bulls, you’re not looking at it like, wow, we can’t come back,” Crean said. “Our halftime was all about how we were going to come back and win this game.”

But alas, it was not meant to be. At least not on this night.

After a layup by Verdell Jones that gave Indiana a 67-65 lead with 2:55 remaining, the Hoosiers were finished scoring for the night. Jeremiah Rivers missed four free throws. Rivers, Christian Watford and Jordan Hulls each committed a turnover. And for the second time in the game, Indiana surrendered a four-point play to Brett Harvey, who finished with a game-high 25 points.

The crowd of 11,321, which helped Indiana fight back from what seemed to be an insurmountable lead, headed for the exits.

Rivers finished with a season-high 15 points, but missed six of nine free throws. Despite his struggles from the foul line, Crean was still encouraged by the play of his junior point guard.

“We don’t make the comeback without him,” Crean said. “That kid’s attitude with the way he attacks, when he’s in a full mode attack, he’s pretty hard to stop.”

Verdell Jones (14) and Watford (10) were the only other Hoosiers in double figures.

Player postgame interviews, courtesy of the IU Athletics channel on YouTube:

(Photo credit: Chris Howell, The Herald-Times)

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  • msdiu81

    We're up 2 with Rivers at the line shooting 2 and he misses both, then Harvey hits a 3, Rivers fouls him and bam; we have a six point swing. Instead of being up 4, we're down 2. That's the ball game. Great comeback, but we should never have been in that position. We still have a long way to go, but I won't give up on the players or the coach. Go Hoosiers! Enjoy the holiday and come back and knock off Bryant and Michigan at home!

  • Kelin Blab

    Lucky for me I only saw the second half and the comeback.
    + Rivers has to get better at F/T's and shooting
    + Love the fight in this young team. No should not have been down by 20, but fought our way back into the game
    + This team has some firepower to quote Dakich. Creek, VJ3, Wateford can all put points on the board quickly…..
    + Pritchard is gaining some well needed confidence going into the big ten.
    + Most of our losses this year can be attributed partially to poor f/t shooting overall or at some point during the game.

  • HoosierSmitty

    The Hoosiers didn't miss four free throws…RIVERS did. For all the good he did, he still can't shoot a basic free throw. If you can't make FTs, WHY drive to the lane and try to get fouled. Try to make a shot first!

    Worse off, why does Crean call a play for Rivers and let Jones bring the ball up? The guy needs to be distributor, not a shooter. He couldn't even make a layup.

    The result is a flat out joke and an unacceptable loss. Shouldn't we be past this kind of a defeat at HOME? I know we're young and blah blah, but really? If we can't beat George Mason, Boston, or Loyola (AT HOME) what chance do we have in the Big Ten?

    A few people warned of this the other day. I was NOT one of them, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Man, what a downer on my Christmas vacation.

  • tberry


    I know the IU and Ky comparison leaves a lot out BUT look at what Calipari's coaching has done for KY and look at IU after two seasons.

    This type of play at this time is really disappointing and make you wonder about the future???

  • hoosierraised

    Agreed with the comment about Rivers missing the ft's. Why was the ball in his hands coming down the stretch knowing that he is a 58% ft shooter. Bad choice at that time for sure. Also wouldn't you expect the son of an NBA champion coach be a little more fundamentally sound, for example shooting free throws.

    I feel that the positive to come out of this is knowing that they are capable of overcoming adversity and playing together as a team when the pressure is on albeit they came up short.

    Also the full court pressure defense seemed to really work well for them, and having a team that goes 9-10 deep isn't this a possible look that big ten teams will receive from the hoosiers, or at least shouldn't be considered.

  • hoosierraised

    I believe that Syracuse and Arizona are the two teams that are the biggest threats to get Selby. I was looking at ESPN's top 100 and noticed something interesting, both Kentucky and Kansas have him on their board but also have the #1 overall recruit on their board and also happens to be a PG.

    I feel that this has to favor IU, Syracuse, and Arizona. What highly touted recruit wants to be the 2nd at his position to be recruited by a team?

    The 2nd point with him is that Arizona is by far the farthest team west, although this may not mean much to his decision but I believe that IU may have a legit shot at this unbelievable talent. However, losing to the likes of Loyola (MD) at home is not making any recruits salivate at the chance to play at IU.