Indiana remains unbeaten at home
Watford scores 25 to lead 12th-ranked Hoosiers past Michigan
The Associated Press
Last Updated - January 6, 2012 12:26 GMT
No. 12 Indiana beat No. 16 Michigan 73-71 on Thursday to remain unbeaten at home.
No. 12 Indiana holds on to top No. 16 Michigan
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Christian Watford started fast and finished strong for Indiana.
The junior scored 25 points and connected on 1 of 2 free throws with 2.9 seconds left on Thursday, leading the 12th-ranked Hoosiers to a 73-71 victory against No. 16 Michigan.
Indiana (14-1, 2-1) is 11-0 at Assembly Hall this season and has three wins against ranked opponents -- its highest total in a season since beating four in 2005-06.
And while the Hoosiers never even trailed Thursday, it certainly was treacherous.
The Wolverines (12-3, 2-1) rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final 7 1/2 minutes and came within a last-second heave of beating the Hoosiers at Assembly Hall for only the second time since 1996.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had 19 points for Michigan and Jordan Morgan added 12.
Indiana led 65-55 after Victor Oladipo drove in for a dunk, but the Wolverines stormed back.
Trey Burke hit a 3-pointer, scored on a breakaway layup and then made another layup to cut the lead to 68-65 with 4:03 to play. Hardaway made 1 of 2 free throws and converted a turnover into a dunk to tie the score at 68 -- only the second tie all game.
But Indiana senior Verdell Jones broke the tie with two free throws with 2:50 left, then hit a 15-footer with 23.9 seconds to go, making it 72-68.
Michigan got a 3-pointer from Stu Douglass with 2.9 seconds left, cutting the lead to 72-71, and even had a chance to win it after Watford made his second free throw.
Zack Novakís heave from just beyond midcourt, however, bounced high off the backboard after the buzzer sounded.
It didnít look like it would be this tough for Indiana after it built a 17-6 lead just eight minutes into the game.
Michiganís shooters finally warmed up late in the first half, closing to 35-30 and then carried the momentum into the second half.
Novak opened the second half with a 3-pointer from the corner to get the Wolverines within 39-35, and when Morgan posted up for an easy layup with 16:14 left to close the gap to 44-43. Michigan finally tied the score for the first time with 14:54 to go.
Cody Zeller had 18 points for the Hoosiers, and Jones finished with eight.