Nov. 30, 1999
By STEVE HERMAN
AP Sports Writer
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana finished the way it started.
The No. 23 Hoosiers scored the first 17 points of the game and the first 15 points of overtime, including eight by A.J. Guyton, in an 81-64 victory over Notre Dame Tuesday night.
“In between, Notre Dame just took it away from us,” Indiana coach Bob Knight said. “We’re trying to grow a little, but I didn’t think we did tonight.”
The Hoosiers (3-0) built a 22-point lead in the first half, but that wasn’t good enough to hold off a big rally by Notre Dame (3-3), which was playing a ranked team for the fourth time in six games and refused to panic by the huge deficit.
“I told them, `Don’t look at the scoreboard. I don’t care about the score,”‘ Irish coach Matt Doherty said of his instructions to his players after the first few minutes of what looked like an Indiana rout.
“I said, `We need to play each and every possession and that if this is the worst thing that happens to you in your lifetime, you’re going to have a pretty good life.’ So I wanted to play and compete and get better, and all of a sudden we’re down by one with seven minutes to go and have a chance to win the game,” Doherty said.
Guyton finished with 20 points and Kirk Haston added 18 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out late in regulation. But it was during a six-minute stretch with Haston on the bench that the Irish made their comeback.
Notre Dame ran off 13 straight points, including 3-pointers by David Graves and Matt Carroll, and pulled to 47-41 with nine minutes to go. The Irish cut Indiana’s lead to three points on another 3-pointer by Graves and to one, 51-50 on two free throws by Troy Murphy, before Haston returned with seven minutes remaining.
Haston hit five free throws but picked up two more fouls and left for good with 1:42 to go. The Hoosiers still led by five with a minute left, but Jimmy Dillon hit a 3-pointer and after a miss by Indiana, Dillon drove in for a tying layup with two seconds to go to force the overtime.
“We just didn’t play well for a long time,” Knight said, “and that’s not to take anything away from Notre Dame. For 10 minutes we played awfully well, but for 30 minutes Notre Dame outscores us by 22 points. That’s not just a matter of our not playing well. They’ve got to play damn well during that period.”
The Hoosiers reverted to their original form in the overtime.
Guyton hit two free throws, Lynn Washington scored, Guyton made two straight steals for a basket and two more free throws, and Larry Richardson scored on a dunk off a feed by Guyton to push Indiana’s lead to 10. Indiana stretched it to 77-62 before Murphy got Notre Dame’s only basket of the overtime with 1:12 to go.
Murphy, who led the Irish with 22 points and 16 rebounds, fouled out 18 seconds later, and the Hoosiers got the final four points on two free throws by Richardson and another slam dunk by Washington.
“Basically, we just let up,” Washington said of the big lead the Hoosiers let get away from them. “We had them beat and then we started focusing on the score instead of focusing on what we had to do.”
Indiana, playing its first home game of the season, forced nine early turnovers and held Notre Dame without a point the first eight minutes at the start for a 17-0 lead before Carroll scored for the Irish.
Haston had six points and Guyton and Washington four apiece during the Hoosiers’ opening streak.
Haston had the first three baskets and added a pair of free throws that pushed the lead to 26-4 midway through the opening period. Indiana still led by 22 before Murphy scored a basket and free throw and followed with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 28-12.
“I didn’t think in the first half that losing the lead was as mush a result of our defense as it was of our impatience on offense,” Knight said. “To Notre Dame’s credit, they really picked up on things.”
Notre Dame sliced it to 37-24 at halftime and began chipping away in the second half after Haston left the game. The only Irish lead was at 52-51 on a basket by Carroll with 6:30 to go in regulation.