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Indiana survives to make Sweet 16
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On March 24, 2013 @ 6:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
DAYTON, Ohio — Temple senior guard Khalif Wyatt stood near midcourt, doubled over in disbelief, the image of a near-upset thwarted. He’d scored 31 points and done all he could to lead his ninth-seeded Owls to the brink of the tournament’s most shocking result.
Indiana fans leaped and cheered. Coach Tom Crean embraced junior guard Victor Oladipo, who’d been the recipient of “Ol-a-di-po” chants in the game’s final moments after sinking a 3-point dagger to put the game away before Christian Watford’s free throws iced it.
No. 1 Indiana held on to beat Temple 58-52 in front of a raucous crowd at UD Arena Sunday. The Hoosiers are headed to the Sweet 16, and they’ll play next in Washington, D.C.
“Temple, like I said to our players in the huddle, they’re as tough a team physically and mentally as we faced all year, and we faced the best all year in the Big Ten,” Crean said. “They take a backseat to nobody. This was a hard-earned victory that can only make us better.”
Oladipo finished the game with 16 points and eight rebounds. Besides his big shot, his greatest impact on the game was defensively. Temple goes as Wyatt goes, and boy did he go on Sunday; Wyatt’s 31 led all scorers. He did it all while playing with a sort left hand, injured during the Owls’ opening-round game against North Carolina State.
Perhaps more impressive than his scoring was his basketball IQ. A few times, knowing he was being guarded intently by Victor Oladipo, the Big Ten’s best defender, Wyatt essentially took himself out of the possession. He’d run near midcourt and let his teammates essentially play 4-on-4 without Indiana’s best defender near the basket.
Wyatt went 12-for-24 from the field, and with the game tied and 1:26 remaining, he missed what would have been a go-ahead 3-pointer. Oladipo grabbed the rebound, drew a Wyatt foul and hit a free throw that put Indiana up one. He then hit the three moments later, besting Wyatt in one of the most intriguing individual matchups of the NCAA tournament.
“Credit to (Wyatt),” Oladipo said. “He’s an amazing player. … [For more on Indiana survives Khalif Wyatt's scoring outburst to make Sweet 16, click here.]
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