Rob Phinisee hit a deep, buzzer-beating 3-pointer, and Juwan Morgan scored a career-high 35 points to give the Indiana Hoosiers a 71-68 victory over Butler in Saturday’s Crossroads Classic.
The Hoosiers (9-2) barely won their fourth straight, scrambling to get a shot before time ran out. Phinisee eventually wound up with the ball in his hands and threw up the decisive 25-footer. Romeo Langford added 13 points and Phinisee had nine points, five rebounds and five assists.
Sean McDermott made a career-high six 3s and finished with 20 points to lead Butler, which lost for the first time since Dec. 1. Kamar Baldwin had 16 for the Bulldogs (7-3).
Indiana spent most of the game playing catch-up.
It finally tied the score at 64 on two free throws by Morgan with 3:54 to go and the Hoosiers took their first lead, 66-64, when Morgan scored on a layup with 3:04 left.
Baldwin tied it once with a layup and a second time when he made a 5-foot runner with 23.6 seconds remaining.
Hoosiers coach Archie Miller then called timeout and set up a play that looked like it was designed to get the ball to Langford, but McDermott nearly stole the ball and Phinisee wound up taking the shot.
Butler: The Bulldogs picked the wrong time for a shooting drought, going just 1 for 9 during a 7½-minute stretch. They scored just seven points over the last 9:31, but their defense was so good it almost forced overtime.
Indiana: The Hoosiers have been playing with grit all season, and this time it saved them. They kept taking punches and when the defensive intensity picked up and Butler’s shooting hands cooled off, Indiana punched its way back.
Butler: Joey Brunk finished with eight points and five rebounds. … Aaron Thompson and Nate Fowler each had seven points. … The Bulldogs have allowed only two teams to top the 70-point mark this season — Mississippi and Indiana. … Butler is now 5-3 in the Classic and 11-5 all-time in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana: Morgan was 12 of 14 from the field, 4 of 6 on 3s and 7 of 7 from the free-throw line. … The Hoosiers were 9 of 21 on 3s in the game but 7 of 13 in the second half. … Langford also had seven rebounds and four assists.
Butler: Hosts Presbyterian on Tuesday.
Indiana: Returns home to face Central Arkansas on Wednesday.