The Indiana University men’s basketball team (5-1) defeated University of North Carolina (7-1) Wednesday with a final score of 76-67.
The No. 10 Hoosiers upset No. 3 Tar Heels with a strong and strategic defense.
“We knew that we had our work cut out for us at the beginning,” center Thomas Bryant says. “So we wanted to establish that mindset and get out there and get after them.”
Junior guard James Blackmon Jr. confidently returned to the court, scoring eight points in the first half after a knee injury kept him out of Sunday’s game against Mississippi Valley State.
Sophomore OG Anunoby scored 16 points for the Hoosiers, his last two from a slam dunk that resulted in an injury.
Anunoby rolled his ankle landing from the dunk, and though he was still being evaluated during the post-game press conference, Coach Tom Crean said he anticipates a diagnosis of a high ankle sprain for the forward.
Crean is left with an exhausted team after Wednesday’s game, but he says the players’ high energy was crucial to their success.
“They’re in a great frame of mind, but they are absolutely spent,” Crean says. “This was one of those games where they just left every little bit of it out there. That’s why I was so proud of them.”
And the game featured several familiar faces. The Hoosiers presented IU Alum and Chicago Cub Kyle Schwarber as an honorary team captain, and famed Blackhawks singer Jim Cornelison sang the National Anthem.
During halftime, a ceremony honored the 1981 Hoosiers basketball team that defeated UNC in the NCAA Championship. Among those honored was star point guard of the 1981 championship team Isaiah Thomas.
Although the loudness in Assembly Hall made team communication challenging, Blackmon says the fans’ excitement helped them bring home a win.
“They’re so great when they bring that energy. At the same time, we always have to know where the energy starts. We want it started with us. If we don’t bring it, it can be hard to get that energy,” Blackmon says.
The game marks the team’s fifth consecutive home win against a top three opponent. The Hoosiers will face the SIU Edwardsville Cougars 6 p.m. Friday.