Nov. 30, 1999
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Eye on the Enemy is a series in which the Insider looks at Notre Dame’s opponent and analyzes who has the hot hands for the team. This time it is Indiana senior A.J. Guyton who led Indiana past Temple.
By Kate Hairopoulos
Indiana Daily Student
A.J. Guyton sat with Bob Knight on the IU bench Friday night, the coach’s arm placed loosely around the senior guard’s shoulders, the two smiling and talking during the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic award ceremony.
Temple senior guard Juan “Pepe” Sanchez sat on the end of the opposite bench, dressed in street clothes with a blue walking cast wrapped around his right ankle and foot.
The contrast is a telling one. The Hoosiers really couldn’t have asked for more from their leader and go-to player Friday night.
The Owls didn’t have the choice of using their leader’s talents at all.
IU (2-0) had just finished knocking off the No. 5 Owls (1-1) 67-59 in front of a national television audience and a capacity crowd of 8,650 at the Springfield Civic Center. Guyton had just finished a performance of 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including six three-pointers, while earning Most Valuable Player honors.
He managed to do all that despite sitting out the final 11:34 of the first half after picking up two quick fouls.
During the eight minutes he was in the half though, it’s fair to say he was “feeling it,” scoring 12 points from his four three-pointers, helping the Hoosiers build a 10-point lead.
“Guyton got off early, unlike the last time,” said Temple coach John Chaney, referring to the Owls’ matchup with IU last year.
In 1998 in Assembly Hall, Guyton struggled, shooting two-for-10 before surfacing just in time to hit a dramatic game-winning three-pointer.
But with Guyton watching from the sidelines during the closing chunk of the first half, the Owls narrowed their deficit to just one point by the break, taking advantage as the Hoosiers endured almost a seven-minute drought without a field goal.
“I think (Guyton’s) smart enough to play (with two fouls),” Knight said, “and I’m not sure I would have done that if we didn’t have a lead. Had we been playing even, I don’t know if I would have done that.”
The time out of the contest didn’t cool Guyton off for the second half. He added 10 more points, including two more three-pointers and a breakaway layup that wowed the crowd.
Sanchez, the Owls’ assist and directional leader from the point position, re-sprained his ankle in the closing minutes of Temples’ 60-47 win against Miami of Ohio the previous Sunday. All he could do was watch from his spot on the bench. Chaney said it might be another week before Sanchez is able to play.
But Guyton wasn’t the only one on fire Friday night.
Temple junior guard Lynn Greer did his best to carry the Owls and compensate for Sanchez’s absence, scoring a career-high 25 points and matching Guyton’s total of six three-point shots, five of which came in the second half. But Chaney said he hopes Greer never has to do that again.
“Everything we do is wrapped around Pepe,” Chaney said. “He is the best point guard in America. You can’t get very far if you have to put shooting guards in the lead guard position.”
Guyton’s stellar performance was supplemented by sophomore center Kirk Haston’s 20 points, the steady play of senior guards Luke Jimenez and Michael Lewis and a formidable team defense. That forced Greer to play outside his regular role. He was the only Owl to score in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
IU forced forwards Mark Karcher and Lamont Barnes, usually dependable offensive factors, to finish a combined 9-of-25 from the field.
“I knew I was in kind of a groove,” Greer said. “Unfortunately the other guys were off. That happens sometimes.”
IU’s defense didn’t contain Greer, but did just about everything else. At the three-minute mark, with IU leading 59-55, the Hoosiers’ defense forced a Temple shot clock violation. During the 35 seconds, the Hoosiers never allowed the ball to get within the three-point arc.
“It was a really good team win for us and again, I like what we did defensively,” Knight said. “And there were some plays made defensively when we had to make plays.”