Maurice Creek was the first IU freshman to score 31 points against Kentucky. But even that sensational performance wasn’t enough as the Hoosiers fell 90 to 73 on Saturday at Assembly Hall.
The border battle was tight for the first 20 minutes. Both teams shot over 56 percent from the field and committed only four turnovers each. The difference by game’s end however was rebounding. Kentucky grabbed 49 boards. Indiana only mustered 24.
“I just want to tell the people of Indiana, we’re not better than that,” said Kentucky coach John Calipari. “That’s like a February effort. We only turned it over 13 times. You have to understand we’re turning it over . . . and I had one guy go for six, but he played so well I told him after the game, if you play that well, I’ll take your six turnovers.”
Indiana was just down 1 after halftime. But minutes after the opening possession in the second half, Kentucky went on a colossal 18 to nothing run. Indiana consequently, did not score a bucket for over 5 minutes.
“When you’re playing against a team that big, that much size . . . when you’re doing that good we’ve got to do a much better job of keeping them off the glass,” said IU coach Tom Crean. “And your guards have to come in to get rebounds and we did not do a very good job of that.”
Moving forward, Crean says he evaluates his teams progress on two scales. He looks at how much the squad has improved from a year ago and week to week.
“There’s no question it’s a much different mentality all the way across the board from a year ago. There’s no question, our improvement continues to show with us. But at the same time there’s absolutely no question that we have a long, long way to go to be as competitive on a daily, nightly basis as we need to be.”