Indiana boys battle past Kentucky, keeps alive All-Stars win streak

jsmith3@herald-leader.comJune 9, 2012 


Indiana's Jeremy Hollowell tried to stop a drive to the basket by Kentucky's Jay Johnson, who scored a team-high 16 points.


INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's All-Stars, with their two McDonald's All-Americans and seven players rated among the nation's best, barely got out of Louisville with a win Friday night.

And as Kentucky's All-Stars made a surge early in the second half Saturday, Indiana started to worry.

"We can't lose this game at home," Indiana Mr. Basketball Gary Harris recalled saying to future Indiana University teammate Yogi Ferrell.

So the Hoosiers flexed their collective nationally ranked muscle and topped Kentucky 83-73 in front of 5,938 in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

"We wanted to live up to the hype," R.J. Hunter explained of Indiana's big second half.

But perhaps more importantly, Harris said: "You don't want to be the team to end the streak."

The Hoosiers have swept seven of the past eight series and four straight. They've won 25 of the last 27 games.

Harris had 17 points and five steals to lead the Hoosiers.

Ron Patterson added 14 points and four rebounds, and Hunter had 11 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer from the right corner to make it 56-55 with 11:35 to go.

Bigger than Hunter's three-pointer, though, was the Indiana defense, which held Kentucky more than nine minutes without a field goal and more than four minutes without a point.

"We ran into a brick wall in the second half," Kentucky Coach Jason Booher said. "And that hurt us."

Woodford County's Jay Johnson, who hit the final Kentucky field goal before the nine-minute drought, shook his head as he looked at the stat sheet in front of him.

"Silly turnovers just killed us," he said as Booher noted that on Friday Kentucky had just 12 turnovers and on Saturday it had 22, which Indiana turned into 22 points.

Indiana went ahead by as many as 19 points in the second half Saturday before Kentucky hit some shots again and kept the score respectable.

Johnson led the Bluegrass boys with 16 points. Pleasure Ridge Park's Peril Taylor, who was questionable for this game after injuring his knee at Freedom Hall, added 12 points on four three-pointers, all in the first half.

His hot shooting helped Kentucky take a 41-40 lead at the break.

All weekend Kentucky was without three of its All-Stars.

Perry Central's Jaysean Paige didn't show up for practices this week. Moore's Mekale McKay couldn't get out of his commitments to Arkansas, and Fairview's Mike Terry injured his knee and was unable to play.

Early this week, Booher dubbed the group that remained "the mighty 10," but the mighty eventually fell to the Hoosiers.

That didn't change Booher's perception of his team.

It was still mighty, mighty good, he said.

"On paper before this week started we were supposed to get blown out in both games," Booher said. "But these guys ... they didn't listen to all that. The whole state of Kentucky should be proud of these 10 players."

Jennifer Smith: (859) 231-3241. Twitter: @jenheraldleader.

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