Indiana stuns No. 1 Kentucky 73-72 on final shot
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)
Everybody knew John Calipari's closing strategy Saturday night. Everybody except his own players.
On a night No. 1 Kentucky committed 17 turnovers and allowed a season-high point total, it was the simplest of things - missed free throws and the inability to foul - that allowed Christian Watford to knock off the nation's No. 1 team with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that gave Indiana a stunning 73-72 victory.
''We had two fouls to give. Two,'' Calipari said in disbelief. ''We're fouling once and if they throw it to half court, just make sure they're not in a shooting motion and we're going to foul again. The officials knew we were fouling. They said, `Just make sure they're not in a shooting motion,' so I have no idea what went through our mind. Maybe they thought, `I'm not fouling, the time is going to run out,' I don't know.''
The late mistakes cost the Wildcats (8-1) their unbeaten season.
Anthony Davis spent most of the night in foul trouble, finished with six points and one block and missed the front end of a one-and-one with 19.9 seconds left with Kentucky leading 71-70. Doron Lamb, who had 19 points, then missed the first of two free throws with 5.6 seconds to go, making it only 72-70. And then, of course, there was the Wildcats' inexplicable inability to foul on the final possession - not once, but twice.
''We were going to foul before they made the shot, before they crossed half court,'' Lamb said. ''Nobody fouled them and they made a lucky shot.''
Lucky or open, the result was the same.
Indiana knocked off a top-ranked team for only the second time ever at Assembly Hall, ended a three-game losing streak to the Wildcats and put Hoosiers basketball squarely back on the college basketball map.
Students celebrated by pouring onto the court so quickly that the officials had to scramble to reach the scorer's table for a replay review, that nobody bothered to wait for.
''I thought it was good, so I would have been like stunned if it wasn't,'' said coach Tom Crean, who stood next to the officials, pressed up against the table. ''And I have no idea how we would have got that game finished if it wasn't.''
He wasn't joking and, fortunately, nobody had to figure out how to get everyone back in the stands.
The biggest worry was Watford, who still had to get up after hitting the deck with the students, signs and raw emotion around him.
''I was scared for him because there were people all over him,'' said Jordan Hulls, a Bloomington native and the only player on the roster who could remember such a crazy scene at Assembly Hall.
The last time it happened was Jan. 7, 2001, when Kirk Haston hit a buzzer-beating 3 from the right wing to beat then No. 1 Michigan State. The only difference this time was that it came from the left wing.
But it still gave Indiana the biggest win of Crean's four seasons in Bloomington.
''It felt great,'' Watford said about the shot after scoring the last of his 20 points. ''You can't really tell if it's going in. But I got it off, it felt great, it looked like I got enough rotation on it and it went in.''
Indiana is 9-0 for the first time since 1989-90 and on its way to the first winning season under Crean. It's the first time the Hoosiers have upset a No. 1 since taking down Duke 74-73 in the 2002 NCAA tournament.
Kentucky (8-1) will likely lose its hold on the top spot this week after a two-week reign. Calipari lost for the only the second time in seven games against Crean, and for the first time in this series.
The game was every bit as wild as the crowd.
Students began lining up outside the arena 10 hours before tipoff and raced into their seats as soon as the doors opened. Before the game even started, the public address announcer already had to scold the students for chanting profanely at Kentucky.
When the game started, it was a typical rivalry game.
But it was the closing stretch that was so captivating.
Indiana led 63-53 with 9:03 to play, their second 10-point lead of the game and Kentucky's largest deficit all season. But the Wildcats rallied to retake the lead at 69-68 with 2 minutes to play.
In the final stretch, the lead changed three more times - when Watford put in a layup with 1:07 to go and when Teague followed that with a driving layup to give Kentucky a 71-70 lead with 48.8 seconds to go.
Then after the Wildcats missed two of their final three free throws, Watford hit the shot that revived Indiana basketball and sent four players atop the scorer's table to lead the cheers - and Crean got the first Gatorade bath of his Indiana tenure.
''I hate to lose, but if I'm to lose, losing to Tommy is fine because what he's done here in four years and having to do it the way he did it where you're undermanned and now you're trying to fight,'' Calipari said. ''For him to have this happen for him and his family, I'm happy for them. They deserve to win the game.''