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Hoosiers Stage Dramatic Comeback, But Fall Short in Double Overtime To Syracuse

Indiana staged an epic second-half comeback, but lost in double overtime to Syracuse 112-110, losing on a pair of free throws with just 0.8 seconds left in the second extra period for their first loss of the year. Trayce Jackson-Davis led the Hoosiers with 31 points.
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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Indiana dug itself a huge hole against Syracuse on Tuesday, with a bunch of unforced turnovers leading to an 18-point deficit early in the second half. But then something happened that we haven't seen much of in the past few years.

The Hoosiers actually fought back instead of folding their tents. They kept making play after play, and making shot after shot to get back in the game. They even succeeded in missing a shot on purpose to force overtime.

Despite all the terrific play, the Hoosiers still fell to Syracuse in double overtime, losing 112-110 at the Carrier Dome in a game for the ages. There are no moral victories in major college basketball, and this certainly wasn't one either, but what Indiana did in getting back in this game just hasn't happened much around here in a long time.

The first half was ugly for the Hoosiers. They had 13 turnovers, and six of them — three each — came from forwards Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson. They were getting the ball in good positions in the paint, but struggled to get the ball back out to shooters. Everyone was trying to play too fast. 

Syracuse kept capitalizing on the mistakes, and led 49-33 at the half. The first bucket of he second half put Syracuse up by 18, but then the Hoosiers settled down and started storming back. 

"We started listening to Coach Woodson,'' Jackson-Davis said about the Hoosiers flipping the switch. "The first half we were kind of doing our own thing and they were exploiting us. We were moving way too fast into the middle of the zone, and we weren't being patient. We were just swinging the ball from corner to corner.''

But in the second half, Thompson and Jackson-Davis starting finding creases in the zone. They were getting easy baskets or dunks, and when they got doubled, they were finding Miller Kopp and Parker Stewart for open shots.

Both had their best games as Hoosiers. Kopp scored 28 points on 9-for-16 shooting and made 4-of-9 three pointers. Stewart had 20 points, making 6-of-12 threes. Jackson-Davis was the leading scorer with 31.

"The zone, it actually helped us a lot,'' Jackson-Davis said. "It helped guys find their rhythm. I thought Miller Kopp had a great game, and so did Parker Stewart.

"The biggest adjustment we made was just being patient in the zone with the ball. We switched sides so I could go in with my left and that really opened things up for us. We got a lot of good looks, and we did a much better job of getting the ball to guys in the corner.''

Stewart hit three consecutive three-pointers s early in the half to cut the lead from 17 to 7. Thompson hit a couple of floaters in the lane and when Kopp hit a jumper at the 10:34 mark, the game was tied at 58-58. 

It was a battle there. Indiana went ahead 67-65 on a Rob Phinisee layup, but then Syracuse scored on seven of eight possession to go up 83-72. But then the Hoosiers returned the favor themselves, scoring on seven straight possessions down the stretch. When Stewart hit a three with 6 seconds left, it was 86-85.

Indiana fouled quickly, and Cole Swider made both free throws to make it 88-85. Syracuse then fouled sophomore point guard Khristian Lander intentionally so he couldn't attempt a three-pointer. Lander made the first and intentionally missed the second free throw. Jackson-Davis got the rebound, and was fouled going up to the basked. He calmly made both free throws to send the game into overtime.

"The reason you foul on purpose is to avoid the three-pointer, but you have to get the rebound,'' Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We just stood there. That's just not smart playing.''

Indiana grabbed the early lead in overtime on a Kopp three-pointer and a layup by Thompson, but Syracuse kept firing away. The period ended tied at 97.

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Jackson-Davis opened the second OT with back-to-back dunks to put Indiana up 101-97, and then Syracuse, in driving to the basket, attracted three straight fouls. They made all six free throws to take a 103-101 lead.

Budy Boeheim, who played all 50 minutes, hit consecutive short-range jumpers around a Jackson-Davis free throw to go up 107-102. Thompson scored again and Lander hit a three-pointer with 25 seconds left to make it 108-107.

Indiana fouled Jimmy Boeheim right way, and he made them both to go up three, but then Indiana got Kopp freed up for a three, and was fouled with 7 seconds to go. He made all three free throws to tie the game.

But on Syracuse's last possession, Joseph Girard drove down the and was fouled by Lander with 0.8 seconds to go. He made them both to seal the win.

It was a bitter defeat for the Hoosiers, especially considering how hard they fought to get back in it.

"Obviously, everyone in that locker room wanted to win that game,'' Jackson-Davis said. "At the same time, that's double overtime, a hostile environment like Syracuse, I think that’s great for us that we hung in there the way we do.

”We're hurting there, but at the same time, we can't dwell on it. We've got a game against a Nebraska team that's hungry at noon on Saturday. We can 't get too high or get too low. We've got to get ready a gain.

The Boeheim boys were the difference for Syracuse. Buddy Boeheim played all 50 minutes and scored 27 points. His brother Jimmy scored 26 in 47 minutes of action

"If I have to play Buddy all 50 minutes to win a game, I'm going to do it,'' the elder Boeheim said. "If he doesn't play 50, we probably don't win that game.'' 

Indiana had 26 turnovers on the game, 13 in the first half. They succeeded often against that zone for 75 percent of their possessions in the second half. A huge learning experience, which is exactly what November games are for. 

The 110 points IU put up Tuesday were the most points scored since scoring 110 against Penn State on Feb. 1, 2017. The 55 points scored in the second half was the most IU has scored in a single half since putting up 58 against Troy on Nov. 16, 2019.

Jackson-Davis, who scored 43 points last Saturday against Marshall, is the first Indiana player since Eric Gordon in 2007 to score 30 points in consecutive games.

But coming away with a win would have felt even better. 

"I hate to use the word scared, but I though we played scared in the first half, and that was out of character for us. We just couldn't figure it out in the first half. We made adjustments and we were better.

"We had 20-something turnovers, and I told the guys, to win games on the road, you have to protect the ball. We had our chances to win and I couldn't get them over the hump. It comes down to execution, and I've just got to do a better job to help him.''