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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student


IU knocks out Buckeyes, wins first game of Big Ten Tournament, 83-69; plays Illinois today in quarterfinals

INDIANAPOLIS -- Despite a losing record for the first time in years, the IU men's basketball team hasn't given up.\nThe Hoosiers (14-14) beat the Ohio State Buckeyes (14-16) at Conseco Fieldhouse in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, 83-69.\nIt was a game full of surprises, emotions and career records.\nWith 6:29 left in the first half, IU was down 11 points. Sophomore guard Bracey Wright wasn't hitting his shots, so coach Mike Davis brought in junior guard Mark Johnson.\nThis decision began what would end up being a 21-4 run by the Hoosiers.\nIU was up 38-35 with five seconds left until halftime, but senior forward A.J. Moye wanted to make one more contribution to the first-half points. He sunk a three-point basket to put IU up 41-35 going into the half.\nHis dance and celebration running off the court brought the crowd to its feet.\nAt half time, Moye said it was the most emotion he'd seen out of the team the entire year.\n"It was like we had already won the game," Moye said. "I just love the intensity that the guys brought today. That's Indiana basketball. It was awesome. It felt like 2002."\nMoye finished the game with 19 points and eight rebounds.\nIn the last four seasons in the conference tournament, Moye has hit 28 of 40 field goal attempts in eight games. \nOSU coach Jim O'Brien said he hopes Moye gets an opportunity to continue his senior season.\n"I've really enjoyed coaching against him and watching him and watching his growth," O'Brien said. "My hat's off to A.J. Moye. He's one of my favorite players in the conference."\nInto the second half, the Hoosiers started to see their 41-35 halftime lead fall away. \nGame-high scorer OSU center Terence Dials had 22 points and contributed to the Buckeye comeback.\nWith 8:42 left in the game, the score had the two teams tied at 58.\nThe Hoosiers weren't going to take the pressure OSU was handing them, and it started with the three-point basket from Johnson that put IU in the lead, 61-58.\nJunior guard Ryan Tapak said he never doubted Johnson was a good shooter.\n"There were a couple huddles where I tried to get coach to run a play for him," Tapak said. "When he comes off, he has the confidence. Why not shoot it? That's what he is -- a proven shooter."\nThe game went the Hoosiers' way the rest of the time. While OSU tried to foul to get the ball back, IU was extremely successful in its free-throw shooting and finished the game missing only one of its 18 free-throws.\nThere were 12 seconds left in the game when Moye grabbed a defensive rebound and passed the ball to senior center George Leach. Leach made a fast break to the IU basket and dunked the ball to give the IU team its final two points.\nLeach had 14 points and four rebounds.\nSophomore guard Bracey Wright had a team-high 20 points and became the 39th player in Indiana basketball history to score 1,000 points. \nWright struggled in the first half, hitting only one of seven shots, but came out on fire in the second half to hit six of 10.\n"In the second half, I got into a groove," Wright said. "We set really good screens and set up our cuts really well. We got wide-open shots."\nThe next challenge for IU comes today at noon, when they will play the conference champions, the Illinois Fighting Illini (22-5).\n"They're a tough team," Johnson said. "They've got a lot going for them right now. They're playing real well, so for us to go out there and compete with them and play with them, we've really got to step our game up even more." \nIt had been awhile since the IU team ran off the court smiling, but Thursday afternoon in Indianapolis left the Hoosiers grinning from ear to ear.\nTheir season is not over yet.\n-- Contact staff writer Natalie A. Trout at

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