Indiana holds on to beat Georgetown in OT
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It was a late November game that felt like March, and perhaps most surprisingly, it featured the nation’s top-ranked team and another that had been largely forgotten heading into the season.
Indiana has the early national player of the year frontrunner, five returning starters from a team that reached the Sweet 16 last season and, of course, the No. 1 ranking. The Hoyas lost their three top scorers and entered the season out of the polls and out of most people’s minds.
But none of that mattered Tuesday night in a Legends Classic championship game that lived up to its billing. Behind Cody Zeller’s 17 points and Jordan Hulls’ 15, Indiana edged Georgetown 82-72 in an overtime thriller.
The reason the game was close was Georgetown’s do-everything forward Otto Porter.
Porter scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, including the Hoyas’ final five points of regulation and the game-tying layup with 4.6 seconds remaining. Despite the loss, Porter undoubtedly opened a lot of eyes – both due to his late-game heroics and hustle.
“I don’t think it’s any secret … he’s not only one of the best players in the Big East but one of the best players in the country,” Hoyas coach John Thompson III told USA TODAY Sports prior to the start of the season. “He will be the focal point when people prepare for us, opposition scouting reports. I don’t think that’ll change how he prepares or how we prepare. He is going to be the focal point. I think he’s ready for that. We’re ready for that.”
Indiana, meanwhile, looked much improved from the previous night, when it beat Georgia not quite comfortably enough to reach the championship game. Zeller played more aggressive Tuesday night, and Hulls hit a few key shots down the stretch to keep Indiana unbeaten – despite the Hoosiers shooting just 26-for-36 from the line.
On Monday, Georgetown had played spoiler to the marquee championship matchup that most expected to see: a top-15 showdown between Indiana and UCLA. Porter’s double-double (18 points, 11 rebounds) and Markel Starks’ career-high 23 points … [For more on No. 1 Indiana holds on to beat Georgetown in overtime, click here.]