Information for this story was provided by www.iuhoosiers.cstv.com
Led by a season-high 12 points from junior Tom Pritchard, including a thunderous put-back dunk that brought the crowd of 16,168 to its feet, Indiana posted its third-straight home victory and its second victory of the season over a ranked opponent with a 60-57 win over No. 18 Minnesota (16-6, 5-5 Big Ten) Wednesday night at Assembly Hall.
It is the first time since 2007-08 that the Hoosiers have defeated ranked teams in back-to-back games at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers (12-11, 3-7 Big Ten) are 12-2 overall at home this season.
"We have a lot of individual performances but this was a complete team effort again," said head coach Tom Crean. "The players that came in really made things happen. They are really believing in one another and they don't want to let each other down. I am really proud to be coaching them."
The game also marked the return of junior Verdell Jones III, who scored 12 points in 17 minutes off the bench in his first appearance since Jan. 20. Jones' biggest bucket of the game came with 2:02 remaining as his three-point shot gave IU a 60-54 lead. That capped a five-point run by the Hoosiers, all from Jones III, after Minnesota had cut the Indiana lead to one, 55-54.
Colton Iverson had a chance to make it a four-point game with 1:31 to play but he made just one of two free throws. Indiana ran the clock down on its next possession, but a steal by Austin Hollins led to a Chip Armelin jumper and the Hoosier lead was 60-57 with 43 seconds to play.
Indiana again ran an extensive offensive set, but Armelin rebounded Jordan Hulls' missed jumper with 14 seconds to play. With time winding down Minnesota tried to get the ball into Blake Hoffarber's hands, but the senior's three-point effort fell short.
It was a wild ending to a game that saw Indiana lead from start to finish. A pair of layups from Pritchard along with buckets from Derek Elston, Will Sheehey, Jeremiah Rivers and Jordan Hulls gave IU a 14-6 lead with 13:38 to play in the first half. The Golden Gophers continued to struggle offensively and back-to-back three-pointers from Matt Roth gave IU its largest lead of the game at 24-10.
Minnesota shot just 27 percent (7-26) from the field in the first half and IU went into the lockerroom with a 21-16 rebounding advantage.
Hoffarber, who led Minnesota with 15 points, found a rhythm including one of his three long-range buckets on the night and helped bring the Golden Gophers to within seven at 26-19 with 4:31 to play. The Hoosiers would end the half on a 7-2 run to take a 33-21 lead.
Hollins opened the second half hot from three-point range, and seven points in a three-minutes span from Hoffarber had the Indiana lead back in single digits at 39-34.
An 11-0 IU run, which included a pair of Pritchard free throws and a one-handed dunk from Victor Oladipo, seemed to put the team in control with a 50-34 lead at 9:49 to play.
Indiana went cold from the field, missing six of its next seven field goals and a 20-5 run by Minnesota made it a one-point game at 55-54.
Pritchard's 12-point effort came on a perfect 5-for-5 night from the field. He also had a team-high seven rebounds and was 2-for-2 from the charity stripe. Jones III was 4-of-7 from the field, including 2-for-3 from three-point range. It was a scoring-by-committee evening for the Hoosiers with Pritchard and Jones III the only players in double figures.
Elston added eight points and six rebounds in 23 minutes of action, with Roth putting up nine points off the bench.