Although Bob Knight has done it all in his career at Indiana, even he wasn’t ready for this season’s Hoosiers to win the Big Ten Conference championship.
The sixth-ranked Hoosiers, who lost four of their first seven games, capped another storied chapter in Indiana basketball history Thursday night by beating Wisconsin, 75-64, at Bloomington, Ind., to wrap up the Big Ten’s automatic NCAA tournament berth.
“They came back to just give us all, everyone associated with Indiana basketball, one of the greatest treats I’ve ever seen a group of people give anyone,” said Knight, who has coached three NCAA championship teams.
“They’ve worked awfully hard, done the things we’ve asked them to do. Last Sunday was a tough loss (to Illinois) for us, but tonight, that doesn’t mean a thing, because can’t any of ‘em catch us now.”
Indiana (25-6 overall, 15-2 with one Big Ten game left) allowed Syracuse, Louisville and North Carolina all to score more than 100 points in three of those four early defeats, then won 22 of 24 games.
The Hoosiers’ 10th outright Big Ten title broke the record of nine they shared with Purdue and Ohio State.
Freshman Eric Anderson scored 14 of his 19 points as Indiana built a 36-32 halftime lead. Todd Jadlow scored all of his 18 points, and Joe Hillman added 12 of his 17 as the Hoosiers pulled away in the second half.
Indiana made 30 of 39 free throws.
Trent Jackson and Danny Jones scored 16 points each for Wisconsin (17-10, 8-9), which faded rapidly when Jones fouled out with eight minutes left. Hillman made six straight free throws, and Jadlow added two baskets in a 14-3 run that made it 71-54 with 2:40 left.
Michigan 88, Northwestern 79--Glen Rice scored 26 points, and Sean Higgins added 12 of his 14 points in the second half as the eighth-ranked Wolverines got past the Wildcats in a Big Ten game at Evanston, Ill.
Northwestern (9-18, 2-15) trailed, 64-45, with under 12 minutes left, but the Wildcats rallied and cut the lead to six points twice before Michigan (24-6, 12-5) pulled away in the final minutes.
Rice has 2,244 career points, surpassing Gary Grant (2,222) as the second-leading scorer in Michigan history.
Brian Schwabe scored 22 points for Northwestern, and Loy Vaught added 17 for Michigan.
Atlantic 10 Conference
Rutgers 70, Penn State 66--Rick Dadika made two three-point shots in the final 3:14, and the Scarlet Knights rallied from 13 points down to beat the Nittany Lions in the title game at Piscataway, N.J.
In earning its first NCAA berth since 1983, Rutgers (18-12) completed a turnaround from a 7-22 season a year ago under first-year Coach Bob Wenzel.
Penn State (19-11), bidding for its first NCAA appearance since 1965, had a 19-6 lead in the first five minutes, but the Scarlet Knights rallied to take a 40-38 halftime lead.
Dadika, who scored 14 points, hit a three-pointer with 3:14 left to break a 61-61 tie, and Craig Carter added two free throws 21 seconds later to make it 66-61. After Bruce Blake’s layup brought Penn State within 66-63, Dadika sank a clinching three-pointer.
Tom Savage had 18 points for Rutgers, and Blake scored 17 for Penn State.
Western Athletic Conference
Hawaii 72, BYU 69--David Hallums hit a jumper and a free throw in the final three minutes to lift the Rainbow Warriors over the Cougars in a first-round game at Salt Lake City.
Hallums’ key points gave Hawaii (17-11) a 70-67 lead with 1:24 left. Michael Smith, who had 33 points, hit a basket to get BYU (14-15) within 72-71 with 1:13 left, and Troy Bowe added a free throw for the Warriors with 32 seconds left.
Terry Houston had 21 points for Hawaii, which will next play Colorado State, a 52-50 winner over Utah.
UTEP 88, Wyoming 81--Prince Stewart’s three-pointer in the second overtime triggered a 9-0 run, and the Miners escaped the Cowboys in another quarterfinal game.
Texas El Paso (23-6) will face New Mexico in a semifinal game tonight. Rob Robbins scored 25 points as the Lobos beat Air Force, 74-60, earlier in the day.
Wyoming (14-17), defending tournament champion, led, 37-30, at halftime, largely on the record-setting three-point shooting of Robyn Davis, Tim Breaux and Reggie Fox. The Cowboys made 11 of 29 from three-point range and broke a tournament single-game record of nine set by New Mexico in 1987.
The Miners went on a 20-10 run to take their first lead of the game, 63-61, on a basket by Johnny Melvin with 4:30 left in regulation. Two free throws by Antonio Davis gave UTEP a 67-65 lead with 17 seconds left, but Clauzell Williams forced the first overtime on a basket with four seconds left.
Williams sent the game into a second overtime when his three-point play with 21 seconds left tied the score, 75-75.
Mississippi 80, Auburn 68--Gerald Glass had 31 points and 10 rebounds as the Rebels beat the Tigers in the first round at Knoxville, Ky.
Ole Miss (15-13) will meet Alabama in the quarterfinals tonight.
Auburn (9-19) had a 50-42 lead with 14:47 left, but Mississippi took control with 12 straight points.
Georgia 83, Mississippi State 68--Litterial Green had 30 points to lead the Bulldogs past State.
In tonight’s quarterfinals, Georgia (15-15) will play SEC regular-season champion Florida.
Gene Lockart scored 19 points for Mississippi State (13-15).
Ohio Valley Conference
Middle Tennessee State 82, Austin Peay 79--Kerry Hammonds made a three-point play with six seconds left as the Blue Raiders beat the Governors in the title game at Nashville, Tenn.
Hammonds gave Middle Tennessee State (22-7) an 80-79 lead, and after Austin Peay (18-12) threw away the inbounds pass, Mike Buck added two free throws with one second left.
The Blue Raiders, who shared the OVC regular-season title with Murray State, earned the conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.
Randy Henry scored 18 points for Middle Tennessee; Keith Rawls had 23 for Austin Peay.
Big East Conference
Boston College 81, St. John’s 74--Dana Barros set tournament records with 38 points and eight three-point baskets as the Eagles downed the Redmen in a first-round game at New York.
Last-place Boston College (12-16) will play third-ranked and top-seeded Georgetown in the quarterfinals tonight.
Malik Sealy and Matt Brust scored 22 points each for St. John’s (15-13).