With 6:52 left to play Sunday, the Indiana All-Stars were sitting on an 84-64 lead, an eighth straight sweep in the series with Kentucky a near certainty.
But the Kentucky boys, led by Mr. Basketball Carson Williams, mounted a valiant rally before coming up short 99-96.
“We saw that it was do or die time,” Williams said. “We started playing our game, getting to the rim. We started playing basketball with how we were comfortable with it.”
The Hoosiers, who had only eight players, were led by Eugene German. The Northern Illinois signee scored 23 of Indiana’s 49 first-half points and finished with 34.
Kentucky, which got good shots throughout but failed to capitalize, started to turn it around with under seven minutes left to play.
“I hate losing,” Williams said. “I saw we were down a lot there at the end and I said, ‘I’m going to do everything I can.’”
The Northern Kentucky signee backed his words down the stretch, scoring 16 of his 19 points in the second half. And he got a lot of help from Mason Faulkner and Tyrik Edwards.
Faulkner led the Kentucky All-Stars with 21 points, 15 in the second half. His two clutch threes with under two minutes left kept victory within reach.
Edwards drove to the rim for a bucket with 31.6 seconds left that cut the deficit to two.
Kentucky then fouled German, who missed the front end of a one-and-one. Indiana got the rebound and added a free throw.
Needing a three-pointer to force overtime, Tyler Sharpe of Bullitt East attempted a shot at the buzzer, and there appeared to be contact made by a defender. It fell short and no whistle came, leaving Kentucky with a close loss for a second straight year.
“We rolled over in Indianapolis and we had an opportunity to roll over today,” Kentucky Coach Wayne Breeden said. “But I thought the team fought and showed some perseverance and had opportunities to win the game down the stretch.”