DES MOINES, Iowa — Indiana sent shockwaves inside Wells Fargo Arena and through the college basketball world on Saturday, as the fifth-seeded Hoosiers stunned the fourth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats in the second round of the East Regional, 73-67.
With the victory, Indiana (27-7) advances to the Sweet 16 for the third time in five years and will play next week in Philadelphia. Kentucky’s season ends with a 27-9 record.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming?
With 7:44 remaining, the game was as even as it could possibly be. Both teams had 50 points and both teams shot an identical 19-of-45 from the floor.
It was then where Indiana began seizing control of this contest. The Hoosiers moved ahead when freshmancenter Thomas Bryant converted an old-fashioned 3-point play to make it 53-50.
Then it was another Indiana freshman, forward OG Anunoby, draining a 3-pointer to extend the lead to six.
Bryant put the Hoosiers up 10 with a dunk with 4:10 left to make it 62-52 and then added another dunk in the final minutes to give Indiana a 66-57 advantage.READ MORE: Wild Ride: Suspects Identified In Carroll County Police Chase
The Hoosiers finished the game making six of their last seven shot attempts and Bryant finished with a team-high 19 points, along with five rebounds. Senior guard Yogi Ferrell had 18 points and also tallied five rebounds and four assists, while junior forward Troy Williams added 13 points to the Hoosier cause.
Sophomore guard Tyler Ulis finished with a game-high 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting for the Wildcats.
Early on, Kentucky looked as if it would be the more dominant team, jumping out to a 9-2 lead before an 8-0 run by the Hoosiers put Indiana back ahead. Despite trailing 33-32 at halftime, the Wildcats led the majority of the first half thanks in large part to the play of Ulis,
As a team, the Wildcats finished the half shooting 44 percent after starting just 3-of-12 from the floor. But from that 7:44 mark in the second half on, when both teams were 19-of-45 shooting, the Wildcats made just five of their last 12 attempts and finished just 4-of-16 from behind the arc. To make matters worse for Kentucky, freshman guard Jamal Murray was just 1-of-9 from 3-point range.
Indiana did suffer one significant injury during the first half when sophomore guard Robert Johnson re-injured his left ankle at the 5:07 mark. Johnson had missed four games due to the ankle injury before returning for the Hoosiers’ first round contest against Chattanooga. He came back to the Hoosiers’ bench right before halftime, but did not play the rest of the contest.MORE NEWS: Deal Between Battery Firms A Big Lift For Georgia
NOTES: Saturday marked the fifth time Indiana and Kentucky have met in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats have won three of the previous four postseason meetings, including a 102-90 victory over the Hoosiers in the Sweet 16 back in 2012. … Kentucky held a 34-30 edge on the glass in this game. The Wildcats entered leading the nation with an average of 33 rebounds per game. … Indiana shot 6-of-21 from 3-point range on Saturday. The Hoosiers entered the game ranked third nationally in 3-point shooting percentage, averaging 42 percent shooting per game from behind the arc.