Indiana tops Kentucky for Sweet 16 berth
DES MOINES, IOWA >> Kentucky had the stars. But Indiana had more toughness — and that's why the Hoosiers are headed back to the Sweet 16.
Thomas Bryant scored 15 of his 19 points in the final eight minutes, Yogi Ferrell had 18 and fifth-seeded Indiana beat Kentucky 73-67 Saturday to earn a spot in the Sweet 16.
The Hoosiers (27-7) will return to the regional semifinals for the first time since 2012 despite losing starting guard Robert Johnson to an apparent left ankle injury late in the first half.
Indiana took control with a 17-4 run to go up 10 with four minutes left. Tyler Ulis and Alex Poythress pulled Kentucky within 69-67 on free throws, but Bryant hit two from the line with 10 seconds to go to seal the win.
Ulis scored 27 points for Kentucky (27-9), which suffered its earliest NCAA Tournament exit since 2008 — when it lost to a Marquette team then led by current Indiana coach Tom Crean.
Jamal Murray added 16 for the Wildcats, but he was just 1 of 9 on 3s.
The Hoosiers won this one with resilience more than anything else.
Indiana went on a 9-2 run with Ferrell on the bench after he picked up his third foul. Ferrell quickly went back in, and the Hoosiers pushed their lead to 62-52 on a Bryant dunk.
An O.G. Anunoby block and another Bryant dunk proved huge for the Hoosiers — especially after Troy Williams fouled Ulis from 3-point range to give Kentucky life.
It had been four years since these once-longtime rivals had faced each other; a Sweet 16 game that Kentucky won 102-90 on its way to a national title.
This one had the feel of an Elite Eight-type matchup from the opening basket.
Still, Indiana was lucky to go into halftime ahead 33-32.
Johnson went to the locker room with five minutes left after hitting a pair of early 3s, and Ferrell took 12 minutes to knock down a bucket.
Kentucky looked set to run away with it too, especially after Murray followed a Ulis 3 from the "March Madness" logo with a dunk. But the Wildcats went nearly five minutes without a basket to close the first, allowing the Hoosiers to inch out in front.
Indiana pushed it to six before Murray and Ulis 3s pulled Kentucky even at 38-all. But that would prove to be Murray's last made 3, and an Anunoby 3 with 6:53 left put the Hoosiers back on top, 56-50.
Williams had 13 for Indiana.
Kentucky: The Wildcats committed 16 turnovers with just eight assists... Kentucky went just 4 of 16 on 3s... Ulis and Murray were the only Wildcats in double figures.
Indiana: Ferrell became Indiana's leader in games played with 136... Reserve freshman forward Juwan Morgan injured his left shoulder early in the second half. After a trip to the locker room, Morgan returned in a sling.
Indiana will play either North Carolina or Providence Friday in Philadelphia.
Kentucky's season is finished.
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