INDIANAPOLIS — With some in Indiana grumbling that the boys' Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Classic has run its course, Saturday's 94-82 Hoosier win might seem to add to the argument.
Maybe not, though.
Indiana, which won 105-103 Friday night in Louisville, completed its sixth sweep in seven years. Indiana also has a whopping 85-42 advantage all-time.
But, after a last-second shot decided Friday's game, Kentucky played well enough to lead in the second half before a Conseco Fieldhouse crowd of 5,681. Then, after Indiana blew out to a 17-point lead, Kentucky rallied to within seven before giving way.
Cody Zeller, Indiana's Mr. Basketball and the player of the game, didn't see the series as being non-competitive.
"It was pretty heated both nights," Zeller said. "I don't think either team wanted to lose. It was definitely a very competitive game, and I think it was entertaining for the fans."
Anderson County's Glen Drury, the Kentucky coach, made a passionate endorsement.
"This was the best basketball show you can get in the summer without being an NBA game," he said. "Thinking about even changing this all-star game would be a shame for the state of Indiana, and it would be a shame for the state of Kentucky."
Zeller, a 6-foot-11 Indiana signee, led all scorers with 26 points on 8-for-11 shooting from the field, 10-for-12 at the foul line. He also grabbed 15 rebounds, had two steals, two blocks and three assists, committing one turnover.
"I knew he was good. I just didn't know he was this good," Indiana Coach Mike Hackett said. "I had no idea. ... He's a competitive basketball player, and that pales in comparison to what kind of kid he is."
Zeller got help from his fellow McDonald's All-Americans — Branden Dawson and Marquis Teague.
Dawson, a 6-6 Michigan State recruit, totaled 23 points and six rebounds.
Teague, Kentucky's 6-1 hope at point guard, had 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.
"My gosh, Zeller, Dawson and Teague — no wonder they're McDonald's All-Americans," Drury said. "Give them a lot of credit. They really played out there tonight, especially Zeller."
Ryan Taylor (Western/Louisville) led Kentucky with 24 points and 10 rebounds.
Remy Abell (Eastern/Indiana) added 16 points, and Arman Marks (Eastern/James Madison) had nine. George Fant (Warren Central/Western Kentucky) had six points and 14 rebounds before fouling out. Mr. Basketball Anthony Hickey (Christian County/Louisiana State) came up with six points, six rebounds and six assists.
Kentucky led 42-40 at halftime, but Hackett said Indiana was in good position. He had used all his players, none had more than two fouls, and Zeller kick-started the second half with a slam dunk.
Kentucky still led, 48-47, when Hickey hit a driving basket with 15:55 left.
However, Indiana scored the next 13 points to blow out to a 60-48 lead.
"A couple of our players got going (early), and that's part of being on an all-star team — both teams are going to bring it each day," Hickey said. "But Indiana was knocking down shots, and it seemed like the rim was getting a little smaller for us."
After Hickey's bucket, Kentucky didn't get another field goal for nearly five minutes. Plus, Kentucky went 1-for-2 from the foul line on five consecutive chances.
Indiana pushed the lead to 74-57 when Dawson banked in a three-pointer.
Kentucky scored the next eight points, getting a pair of free throws from Fant and back-to-back three-pointers by Marks and Abell.
With Indiana leading 84-75, Kentucky had a chance for a five-point trip with just over three minutes left.
A technical foul on Indiana's Nic Moore put Abell on the line for two shots. He made one.
On the ensuing possession, Taylor got a good look on a three-pointer, but it didn't fall.
Not until 2:22 remained did Kentucky cut the lead to seven, 86-79.
"It was a good game, but the second half that Indiana had was kind of hard for us to overcome," Taylor said. "Even though we were still getting the same shots and the same looks, we just couldn't knock them down."