Kel’el Ware scored 16 of his team-high 20 points in the second half as Indiana used a late surge to secure a 72-64 nonconference victory over Army on Sunday night in Bloomington, Ind.
Army forged a 58-58 tie on Indiana native Blake Barker’s driving layup with 3:46 to go, but Ware’s free throw triggered a 14-3 run that enabled the heavily-favored Hoosiers to prevail in the first meeting between Hall of Famer Bob Knight’s primary coaching posts.
Guard Xavier Johnson contributed 19 points and five assists and forward Malik Reneau added 14 points for the Hoosiers (2-0), who overcame 18 turnovers.
Freshman guard Ryan Curry paced Army (0-3) with a career-high 20 points and Barker added 14. The Black Knights made more 3-pointers (13) than Indiana attempted (11), but the Hoosiers sank 18 of 22 free throws while Army hit just 3 of 9.
Indiana started impressively with Johnson’s alley-oop pass to Ware for a resounding slam on the game’s first possession, but the Hoosiers came up empty on their next six as Army claimed a 5-2 lead. The Black Knights controlled the first half with their patient offensive sets that usually ended with an open look from well beyond the 3-point line.
Indiana didn’t regain the lead until Johnson swished an open 3-pointer from the corner with 1:07 left in the first half to give the Hoosiers a 30-29 edge. Reneau flipped in a lefty jump hook shortly before the halftime horn to give the hosts a 32-31 halftime lead.
Barker and Curry nailed back-to-back 3-pointers — Barker beating the shot clock while falling out of bounds in the corner — to give Army a 39-36 lead with 17:05 left in the game, encouraging Indiana coach Mike Woodson to call a timeout. That’s when Woodson reminded his team that Army didn’t have a defender to deal with the 7-foot Ware.
Ware scored five buckets over a span of 3:17 — a drop step for a layup, a tough turnaround jumper on the baseline, an alley-oop dunk from Trey Galloway, a 6-footer in the lane for a three-point play and an 8-foot fadeaway — to take Indiana from a 39-36 deficit to a 47-42 lead with 13:24 to go.
–Field Level Media
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