INDIANAPOLIS — Kentucky had a win in its grasp, but Indiana stole it away.
It was the story of Friday night's All-Star game in more ways than one.
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The Hoosiers overcame an early 11-point deficit and used stifling defense to force 29 turnovers and win their eighth straight over Kentucky's boys, 83-82 at Conseco Fieldhouse.
“We were real motivated to come in here and try to win,” Kentucky Mr. Basketball Darius Miller said. “It's a really tough loss. I think we had a good shot at it, but we had some mistakes there.”
The miscues were costly and equalled 26 points — nearly all of them coming on fast breaks — for the Hoosiers.
“Kentucky not taking care of the basketball is the difference in tonight's game,” Kentucky Coach Tim Davis said.
The Kentucky team looked like it was on a mission to break the long-running losing streak to Indiana, which includes falling 12 straight times at Conseco.
Behind six points from Bryan Station star Shelvin Mack, Kentucky grabbed a 14-14 lead early in the game. A Mack three-pointer with 7:46 to go in the first half gave the Bluegrass boys an 11-point lead.
Mack, who has signed with local favorite Butler, got a warm welcome from the partisan crowd. He didn't disappoint his future fans, scoring a game-high 24 points. The guard also had six rebounds, four assists and four steals.
“They made us earn it the hard way,” Indiana Coach Rich Baumgartner said. “They jumped all over us.”
The Hoosiers responded with a 14-3 run to pull back within a point 35-34 with five minutes to go.
Larry Stone's fast-break lay-in at the buzzer tied the game at 40-40 going into the locker room. Stone had 12 points and six assists for the Hoosiers, who will play Kentucky again on Sunday at Louisville Gardens.
Tyler Zeller, a 7-foot North Carolina signee, had 22 points and seven rebounds on 7 of 12 shooting from the field.
“We had a hard time keeping Stone out of the lane,” Davis said. “And of course Tyler, he's a load inside. He's big.”
Indiana's defense held Kentucky without a field goal for more than seven minutes in the second half and used a 13-3 run to grab a four-point lead.
That lead ballooned to seven on a monster dunk by Zeller with just under two minutes to go, but Kentucky responded by scoring seven straight (including five straight from Mack) to even it up at 79-79 with just under a minute to go.
Alex Young hit the go-ahead free throws after sending Mack to the bench with his fifth foul with 31 seconds remaining.
Kentucky had a chance to tie it or go ahead, but Corey Sorrell passed up an open three-pointer and had the ball stripped. Young hit two more free throws to cement the win.
“I was real proud of the way we kept our heads and hung in there and came back,” Baumgartner said. “We made plays when we needed to make plays.”
Future Tennessee player Scotty Hopson heaved a shot from beyond halfcourt at the buzzer that sailed into the basket, but it was too late.
Hopson had 14 points and five rebounds, but turned the ball over six times. Miller, who is headed to the University of Kentucky, had 11 points and four rebounds, but turned the ball over five times.
Victor Moses of Henry Clay and Aaron Morris of Madison Central added eight points apiece for Kentucky.