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Indiana College Basketball Update

INDIANA UNIVERSITY

UP TO DATE: On Saturday night, the Indianapolis Colts defense surprised some by shutting down the vaunted Ravens rushing attack, on Sunday, something even more surprising Indianapolis sports fans happened.  The Indiana Hoosier won a close ballgame.   It was an exciting game to say the least. The Hoosiers led by as many as 15 points, barely forced an extra period, and then rallied from down five in OT to secure the win.

On Thursday, Indiana travelled to Penn Stat in search of their first true road victory of the season.  IU jumped to an early 11-point lead, but Penn State rallied back, tying the score on an end-to-end layup by Talor Battle with over 13 minutes left in the second half.  Instead of folding up, as they’ve done often this year, Indiana immediately went on a 10-2 run, spearheaded by senior guard Devan Dumes (Decatur Central High School/Vincennes University) .

Dumes, seeing significant action with Jeremiah Rivers in foul trouble, scored seven of the Hoosiers 10 points during the spurt.  Although Penn State closed to within three points with four minutes left, that was as close as they’d get.  Dumes finished with a team-high 15 points, while Christian Watford (11 points, 9 rebounds) and Verdell Jones III (14 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) contributed significantly down the stretch.  The win moved Indiana to 9-9 on the season, and 3-3 in Big Ten Conference play.

UPCOMING: Tom Crean‘s squad will be back home in Bloomington, Indiana Sunday evening to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes at Assembly Hall.  The Hawkeyes, coached by former Butler and Danville High School coach Todd Lickliter, are 1-5 in Big Ten play.  IU’s lone conference win last year came against Iowa.

BUTLER UNIVERSITY

UP TO DATE: Brad Stevens‘ squad is on a roll.  Since losing to the University of Alabama-Birmingham on December 22 in the Bulldogs last non-conference game, Butler has reeled off seven consecutive Horizon League victories.  They’re not just winning games, they’re manhandling conference foes, winning by an average margin of over 10 points a game.  Thursday’s game against a middle-of-the-pack Loyola-Chicago team was expected to be more of the same, but with Bulldogs shooting touch absent, they found themselves in a good old

Hitting just 35 percent of their shots, including 3-of-20 from behind the arc, Butler clamped down on the defensive end to keep the game close, and when Willie Veasley hit a free throw to break a 47-47 tie, they held a precarious one-point lead with 34 seconds left to play.  After trading turnovers, Loyola’s Terrance Hill rimmed out a three-pointer, and Jordan Hicks missed a tip-in as time expired, giving Butler a 48-47 victory.  The unranked Bulldogs are now 15-4 on the season, and 8-0 in Horizon League action.

UPCOMING: Butler will stay in Chicago to take on Illinois Chicago on Saturday.  They then return home to Hinkle Fieldhouse for a rematch with Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday January 29.  With a victory over Illinois-Chicago, the Bulldogs will have beaten every team in the Horizon League this season.

PURDUE UNIVERSITY

UP TO DATE: After such a hot start — Purdue won their first 14 games to open the season — the Boilermakers were due for a letdown, though nobody expected the three straight losses that followed the 14-0 start.  The loss at Wisconsin can be forgiven, the Kohl Center is one of the most hostile environments in all the Big Ten, but dropping consecutive games to Ohio State, at home no less, and to an injury depleted Northwestern team were inexcusable for a team that fancies itself an NCAA Final Four contender.  When Illinois took a 32-28 lead into halftime this past Wednesday, you could practically hear the groans from Purdue backers who had already purchased tickets to the end of the year event hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lucky for them, a 56-point second half relieved their concerns, at least temporarily.  Led by little used guard John Hart (Beech Grove High School), the Boilermakers came out on top 84-78, keeping the team in the hunt for a Big Ten title.  Hart, who had played all of 33 minutes on the season, hit 5-of-10 shots to finish with 14 points.  JaJuan Johnson (Franklin Central High School) paced Purdue with 24 points and 12 rebounds, and Robbie Hummel (Valparaiso, Indiana) chipped in 11 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.

UPCOMING: Michigan visits Mackey Arena this Saturday for a 4:00 P.M. tip-off.  Matt Painter‘s squad then gets a chance at redemption when Wisconsin comes into West Lafayette, Indiana on Thursday evening.

INDIANA UNIVERSITY-PURDUE UNIVERSITY INDIANAPOLIS

UP TO DATE: IUPUI is in the midst of one of their finest season’s ever.  After a mid-year swoon that saw the Jaguars lose four of five games, Ron Hunter‘s team has righted the ship and won four in a row.  On Thursday, they traveled to Cedar City, Utah to take on the Southern Utah Thunderbirds, and immediately

The Jaguars controlled the paint and held the Thunderbirds to 26 percent shooting on their way to opening a 37-19 halftime lead.  They coasted from there, finishing with a 15-point victory.  Alex Young (Indianapolis Northwest High School) and Robert Glenn each finished with a game-high 24 points.  Young, the 2008 Indiana Public Schools Player of the Year, is averaging 18.2 points and 4.5 rebounds in his breakout sophomore campaign.  The win over Southern Utah pushed the Jaguars record to 14-7 overall, and 7-1 in Summit League play.

UPCOMING: IUPUI will take on the University of Missouri-Kansas City on Saturday.  The game is in Kansas City, with tip-off scheduled for 8:05 P.M.  The Jags then travel back home face the conference leading Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Thursday at The Jungle.  Oakland, many experts pick to win the Summit League, is 8-0 in the conference, and dealt IUPUI their only conference defeat thus far.  Indianapolis basketball fans can catch the action starting at 7:00 P.M. at the downtown Indianapolis venue.