Hoosiers Fall to Irish at Crossroads Classic
Indiana just couldn’t get over the hump, falling to Notre Dame 79-72 in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
“We made a bunch of runs, we just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean.
Will Sheehey tied a career-high with 22 points and had great success in the midrange against Notre Dame’s 2-3 zone, but Jerian Grant had a game-high 23 for Notre Dame as the Irish dropped the Hoosiers to 8-3.
“Our struggle right now is learning who we are versus who we want to be,” continued Crean. The 6th year coach also mentioned that “the lights were too bright” for a few of his players.
The Hoosiers had multiple chances to tie or take the lead in the second half, but 10-31 second half shooting kept Crean’s squad at bay, leading to the second straight Indiana loss in the Crossroads Classic.
“In this state, to beat this program here is powerful for our program,” said Brey of the significance of the Irish’s victory. Indiana is now 48-22 against Notre Dame and 73-21 playing in Indianapolis.
Notre Dame got what it wanted in the paint early, including a strong start from 5th year senior Garrick Sherman, who ended up with 16 points, six rebounds, and four blocks on 6-7 shooting. Notre Dame shot just 6-18 from three point range, but Pat Connaughton went 3-4 with all three three balls coming in the second half.
Yogi Ferrell had a pair of long-range shots that ended long Indiana droughts in the second half, but the Indianapolis native shot just 5-14 overall en route to a 13-point performance.
The Hoosiers trailed by as many as 13 in the first half, and the predominately Indiana-clad crowd tried to will IU back into the game, however the Hoosiers never led.
“That was a heck of a lot more fun than Wednesday night,” said Notre Dame coach Mike Brey in reference to his team’s loss to North Dakota State at home earlier this week.
Grant’s 23 came on 11-11 free throw shooting, and the Fighting Irish went 23-30 from the line overall.
Freshman Noah Vonleh went 4-5 from the floor and finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds, but Vonleh played just 21 minutes due to foul trouble. Indiana finished with a 36-33 rebounding advantage, including a 17-9 advantage in second chance points, but a Notre Dame basket quelled every Indiana run.
Now 8-3, Indiana no longer has a chance for a marquee non-conference victory after losing to the Irish along with UConn and Syracuse and will head into Big Ten play still searching for a signature resume builder.
The next game for Indiana will be Nicholls State next Friday at 7 PM on WIUX.