Mike Woodson wouldn’t say the play was drawn up for Anthony Leal.
Because it wasn’t. Not as a first option, anyway.
Already with 19 second half points, Trey Galloway was on a heater, and Woodson was going to ride the hot hand in the clutch.
Led by Galloway and Malik Reneau, Indiana had come all the way back from an 18-point second half deficit on the road to take the lead in Columbus. But Ohio State reclaimed a 73-71 edge on Jamison Battle free throws with 32 seconds remaining.
After an Indiana timeout, Woodson put the ball in Galloway’s hands. He drove right off a high ball screen from Reneau and got all the way to the block. But there waiting was Ohio State shot blocker Felix Okpara.
Also there trying to disrupt Galloway’s rhythm was Roddy Gayle, who had left Anthony Leal alone in the corner.
Woodson did say he was confident in having Leal on the floor in a big moment. And so was Galloway, who has played with Leal on teams going back to their early high school AAU years.
Recognizing his long time teammate was wide open, Galloway made the proper read.
And Leal delivered with the game-winning three.
💻: Peacock pic.twitter.com/VODzfgEyXx
— Big Ten Men’s Basketball (@B1GMBBall) February 7, 2024
“It’s a big time shot,” Galloway said. “I feel so comfortable playing with him since our freshman year of high school. I trust him, he trusts me. I got downhill, they helped from the corner, and I kicked it to him and he made it. I want him to shoot that ten times out of time.”
Leal described the options Galloway had on the play.
“The design was just for Trey to get downhill, with the lob option for Kel’el and me and Mack (Mackenzie Mgbako) in the corners just to try to find us,” Leal said. “Trey made the right play and I was able to make a shot.”
Leal grew up in Bloomington a fanatical IU basketball fan. And his big moment had some similarities to the biggest game winner in program history.
Like Keith Smart’s national title winning bucket in 1987, Leal hit a baseline jumper to give his team a 74-73 lead with seconds to go.
But Leal wasn’t ready to celebrate when he saw the ball go through the net.
“We still got 30 seconds (actually 22) left, we’ve got to get a stop,” Leal said he was thinking in the moment.
Indiana did get the stop, and then Leal grabbed an offensive rebound, was fouled, and made two free throws to secure the 76-73 victory.
“Huge shot, it doesn’t get any better than that,” Reneau said. “He knocked down those two clutch free throws also, huge game by Anthony Leal. I give him huge props for that.”
🗣 THAT’S HOW YOU COME BACK, BABY. pic.twitter.com/mTtOuwz2ts
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) February 7, 2024
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