No. 1 Hoosiers stunned by Butler, 86-88 in OT

Tom Crean spent the first hour after Saturday’s game
contemplating what went wrong.

Indiana will spend the next three days fixing the problems
Butler exposed.

Alex Barlow, a 5-foot-11 walk-on guard, backed his way into the
lane and hit a spinning 6-foot jumper with 2.4 seconds left in
overtime to give the Bulldogs an 88-86 win over the Hoosiers,
likely ending their season-long reign as the nation’s top team.

”The thing that hurt us as much as anything in this game is the
things that we saw,” Crean said after waiting more than 60 minutes
to take questions. ”It’s the lay-ups that get you. It’s the
drives, it’s the lay-ups. It’s those types of things. Those things
hurt us. The bottom line today is that we didn’t rebound the ball
well enough today.”

Indiana didn’t resemble the nation’s top-ranked team against the
surging Bulldogs (8-2), who have won five in a row overall, six
straight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and four of the last five when
this series has been played in Indianapolis.

Crean groaned about the rebounding. Butler held just a 40-38
advantage, but it marked the first time this season the Hoosiers
(9-1) have been beaten on the glass.

But there were far bigger problems.

Indiana committed 13 turnovers, a handful that allowed Butler to
stay close and a big one when Barlow poked the ball away from Yogi
Ferrell with 1:14 to go in overtime. That miscue led to a 3-pointer
that gave Butler an 86-84 lead and allowed it to dictate the rest
of the game. Ferrell, a freshman, finished with six turnovers.

And then there was the decisive play – Barlow’s strong back-down
move.

Indiana immediately called timeout to set up a play but all the
Hoosiers could muster was a long heave from Jordan Hulls that
sailed to the left of the basket.

”For us to get back into the game, we played better defense.
It’s that simple,” said Victor Oladipo, who scored 18 points.
”They executed down the stretch, that’s why they won. It’s that
simple.”

The Hoosiers were beaten by a kid who spurned college
scholarship offers to play his best sport, baseball, and opted to
come to Butler for only one reason – to learn how to coach
basketball from Brad Stevens. He showed everyone he can hoop it up,
too.

Stevens didn’t hesitate to constantly keep the ball in Barlow’s
hands after three key Butler players had already fouled out. The
sophomore, who had scored only 12 points in nine games this season
and 18 in his college career, delivered with a series of key
plays.

Barlow finished with a career-high six points, came up with a
big steal that led to a go-ahead 3-pointer late in overtime and
finally won it with a shot that bounced off the back of the rim,
straight into the air and finally through the net for the school’s
first win over a No. 1 team.

The sold-out arena roared as the game ended, and the Bulldogs
rushed to midcourt to celebrate with Barlow.

”I thought he just rose up over Hulls and it looked good,”
Stevens said. ”Don’t use this as an excuse to get down on Indiana.
I still think they’re the team to beat in April. Our guys just
played really hard and when it really mattered, they figured out a
way.”

Barlow overshadowed a supporting cast that put up stronger
numbers.

Roosevelt Jones scored 16 points and matched his career highs
with 12 rebounds and six assists before fouling out with 2:03 left
in regulation.

Andrew Smith finished with 12 points and nine rebounds and held
national player of the year candidate Cody Zeller in check until
fouling out just 17 seconds after Jones.

Rotnei Clarke, who transferred to Butler from Arkansas, scored
13 of his 19 points and made three of his five 3-pointers in the
second half.

In all, five Bulldogs players finished in double figures while
the defense held one of America’s most proficient offenses to just
42.9 percent shooting from the field.

The Hoosiers were led by Zeller’s 18 points, including a layup
to tie it at 86 with 19.3 seconds left in overtime. Reserve Will
Sheehey added 13 points.

Clearly this was not the same Indiana team that won its first
nine games by an average of nearly 32 points while shooting 51.5
percent from the field.

”There’s a lot of things (to work on),” said Zeller, who had
only five rebounds and four baskets. ”We got outrebounded. There’s
a lot of little things that we have to figure, but we’ll get back
to work and figure them out.”

The difference Saturday was that Butler never let the Hoosiers
get away from them – even when Smith and Jones went to the bench
with four fouls midway through the second half.

Stevens reinserted both players with 9 minutes to go in
regulation, trailing 57-50, and the Bulldogs responded with a 12-0
run that gave them a 66-59 lead with 4:31 left.

Butler still led 71-64 when Jones fouled out, and the Hoosiers
answered with five straight points from the free throw line. They
finally tied the score on Ferrell’s 3-pointer from the right wing
with 6.1 seconds to go, and Butler’s Chase Stigall missed a
3-pointer off the front of the rim as time expired.

In overtime, Indiana looked as though it would take control when
Zeller’s layup made it 84-80 with 2:12 to play. But the Bulldogs
again rallied, getting a 3 from Clarke, a steal from Barlow that
led Stigall’s 3-pointer, and Barlow’s improbable winning shot.

”I just figured I would throw it up to the rim,” Barlow said.
”If I missed it, I knew they wouldn’t get a shot off. Luckily, it
bounced in.”