Indiana is still trying to figure out how to put together a complete effort.
After leading by as much as 17 in the second half, the Hoosiers suddenly found themselves down five with less than four minutes remaining in the game on Saturday against Notre Dame in Indianapolis.
But IU battled back when the going got tough. And an unheralded freshman rose to the occasion.
Indianapolis product Armaan Franklin came into Saturday’s contest having made just 4-of-27 three-point attempts on the season. He made four more against the Fighting Irish, including a pair in the game’s final three minutes to help the Hoosiers pull out another tight win at The Crossroads Classic.
With the encouragement of his coaches and teammates, Franklin was able to step up and will IU to victory.
“Even though I was in a slump there everybody was telling me to keep shooting,” Franklin said.
Franklin, who grew up in South Bend, helped IU rally late for 62-60 win with a career high 17 points.
Although Franklin had only played 11 minutes before the game’s last three, head coach Archie Miller had the confidence to go with the hot hand when it counted the most.
“Armaan was playing really well all game,” Miller said. “Sometimes you go with the older guys, sometimes you go with experience. We were struggling offensively and he was the one guy that had made a few plays for us.
“It’s not easy to do what he did. He’s got a great attitude. You pull for guys like him”
Indiana shot just 41 percent from the field and its old stand by, the free throw line, didn’t produce either. The Hoosiers attempted just twelve shots from the charity stripe.
IU controlled the game early in the paint and on the glass. But about five minutes into the second half things changed quickly.
“We’re fortunate to be sitting here in the winner’s circle,” Miller said. “I thought we played really well for 25 to 28 minutes of the game, and we let our offense sort of frustrate us. And against that kind of team that can shoot and do some things they can get back in it quick.”
Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey credited his defense for the turnaround.
“We actually got stops. We got nine or ten stops,” Brey said.
And those stops by the Irish led to offense on the other end.
“And we didn’t have to take the ball out of bounds and play against a set defense and we got some early offense,” Brey said.
No sooner than Notre Dame stretched its lead out to five points in the waning minutes, IU responded.
Miller inserted Franklin into the game with 3:42 remaining, and the true freshman made his head coach’s decision look brilliant.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
Indiana won the rebounding margin 42-32 and the points in the point battle 34-24. The Hoosiers’ paint dominance led to openings on the perimeter.
“Yeah, we felt that we had to give looks from outside because they’re so potent inside,” Brey said. “They’re so hard — we were helping in the post, and we’re going to have to live with some of that stuff.”
Indiana led for nearly 33 minutes of the game but fell behind by five with 3:42 remaining before Franklin’s three-pointers down the stretch.
Trayce Jackson-Davis joined Franklin in double figures for the game with 14 points and 7 rebounds. Devonte Green added 11 points.
Joey Brunk had a career high 14 rebounds.
The Hoosiers will take another week off before hosting Arkansas on Dec. 29 at 6 pm. ET.
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