DES MOINES, Iowa (March 19, 2016)- No one doubted that the match up would deliver 40 minutes of entertaining college basketball. Everyone knew this was going to be a grind it out game between two blueblood rivals. The predictions were split between the Hoosiers and Wildcats.
But Indiana put that debate to rest with a 17-4 run with four minutes to go giving IU the 10 point lead and a berth into the Sweet 16.
"I'm 1-0 against Kentucky now," senior Yogi Ferrell said in the lockerroom after extending his career at Indiana for at least one more game. "I get to go out as a senior with that win. We knew it was going to be a high-level game."
"It was awesome." Max Biefeldt said. "Everyone here just loves winning together. There's not one guy on the team worried about his stats or anything."
The difference maker down the stretch for Indiana was freshman Thomas Bryant. It was his time to shine on the biggest stage so far of his career. Bryant had a team high 19 points, two of his most important points coming at the free throw line with 10 seconds left in the game to seal the win.
"The key to this game was mental toughness," the freshman said in the lockerroom. "Coming off a game that you just won, can get you lackadaisical. So the key thing for us was mental toughness."
"I think he did a great job, he did a fantastic job. He stayed really even keeled." Coach Crean said as he praised his freshman. "I'm glad I put him back in for a couple minutes in the 1st half after he got into foul trouble, even though we didn't do it long because we knew it would be a long game but he did a really good job."
Indiana heads to Philly this week to face the number one seeded UNC Tarheels in their third berth in the Sweet 16 in five years.