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Pritchard leads Hoosiers past Jaguars

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


AP Sports Writer

BLOOMINGTON -- Tom Pritchard played an almost perfect game Tuesday night.

He held his ground, stood strong, dominated the middle and swatted away IUPUI's desperation shot for overtime Tuesday night -- even if wasn't drawn up that way.

Indiana needed every one of Pritchard's contributions.

The freshman forward scored 19 points, making 7-of-8 field goals and 5-of-7 free throws, and preserved a 60-57 victory by blocking Leroy Nobles' last-second 3-point attempt to force overtime.

"The good thing was that his facial expression never changed," coach Tom Crean said. "He just has a great temperament, and we've got to do a better job getting him opportunities because we've got to play through him in the post."

The Hoosiers (2-0) executed Crean's strategy precisely, and Pritchard made sure it worked.

He single-handedly kept Indiana close in the first half when his teammates were struggling and again came up big in the second half when the Hoosiers were fighting to hang on.

Virtually every time, Pritchard produced a big play, including that block Crean second-guessed.

"Probably not," Crean said when asked if that's what he wanted Pritchard to do. "But we're so far behind in teaching those situations."

It didn't seem to bother the young, short-handed Hoosiers.

Matt Roth scored 12 points while Nick Williams and Devan Dumes each scored 10 for Indiana (2-0). Williams also had nine rebounds.

Dumes, a junior college transfer, is the only one of the three who is not a freshman and after playing four games -- two of those exhibition games -- in 11 days, the Hoosiers were fatigued.

"They're probably as mentally tired as they are physically," Crean said. "But that's what winning is all about at this level, finding a way to win."

IUPUI (1-2) tried to take advantage of weary Indiana.

Alex Young scored 15 and John Ashworth had 13, not quite enough to beat a Big Ten foe for the first time in six years.

Ten times in the final 14 minutes, the Jaguars had a chance to take the lead. Ten times, including two of their last three possessions, they failed. The last chance came after Pritchard fumbled a pass from walk-on Daniel Moore, resulting in a turnover that put the Hoosiers' 59-57 lead in peril.

But Young's 3-pointer with about 6 seconds to go was off the mark, Moore grabbed the rebound on the run, drew a foul and made two free throws to make it 60-57.

"We wanted to get an open look from the 3 or a penetration," Young said. "It worked out but just didn't hit the shot."

Moore even considered missing the second shot, but when he made it, Nobles had a chance to send it into overtime.

Pritchard refused to let that happen.

The victory, however, may have come at a cost. Indiana, which has just nine scholarship players, lost freshman guard Verdell Jones with about 8 1/2 minutes to go when he appeared to land awkwardly on someone's foot, hurting his right ankle.

Jones is one of those precious few on scholarship.

He hopped to the bench, then to the locker room before returning to the bench for the final minutes.

"He's icing it right now, but he was eating pizza so I think he'll be all right," Crean said. "But he couldn't go back in the game."

Pritchard kept the Hoosiers close after his teammates missed their first seven shots, and he scored the first seven points in a 16-0 run that got the Hoosiers righted.

By halftime, Indiana had a seemingly safe 31-20 lead.

Things changed quickly. IUPUI opened the second half on a 13-5 run, and finally tied the score at 40 on Young's putback with 13:48 to go.

From that point on, it was a slugfest.

No, Indiana never trailed again, but it couldn't expand its lead to more than four the rest of the way.

Pritchard, who had 10 rebounds, one assist and two blocks, followed a tip-in with a 3-footer to give Indiana a 56-52 lead with 4:57 left.

And when the Hoosiers needed a defensive play at the end, it was Pritchard who stood his ground.

"I wasn't worried (about a foul)," he said. "I just put my arms up. I think we rebounded better, and I think we did better tonight."


IUPUI (1-2)

Young 6-16 1-4 15, Glenn 5-6 2-2 12, Pettiford 2-4 0-0 4, Nobles 3-11 0-0 7, Ashworth 5-10 3-4 15, Moss 0-2 0-0 0, Avery 2-4 0-0 4, Stone 0-1 0-0 0, Smeathers 0-2 0-0 0, Siakam 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-56 6-10 57.


Pritchard 7-8 5-7 19, Taber 2-3 0-0 5, Jones III 1-5 0-0 2, Williams 4-9 2-3 10, Dumes 3-12 2-2 10, Roth 4-10 0-0 12, Moore 0-0 2-2 2, Finkelmeier 0-0 0-0 0, Story 0-2 0-0 0, Jobe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-49 11-14 60.

Halftime--Indiana 31-20. 3-Point Goals--IUPUI 5-19 (Ashworth 2-4, Young 2-7, Nobles 1-5, Moss 0-1, Smeathers 0-2), Indiana 7-24 (Roth 4-9, Dumes 2-9, Taber 1-1, Williams 0-1, Story 0-2, Jones III 0-2). Fouled Out--None. Rebounds--IUPUI 31 (Pettiford 10), Indiana 35 (Pritchard 10). Assists--IUPUI 10 (Ashworth, Pettiford 3), Indiana 17 (Moore 6). Total Fouls--IUPUI 15, Indiana 14. A--13,174. 13,174.

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