There is a certain way native Hoosiers believe the game should be played. It involves a motion offense, man-to-man defense along with a team concept with the sum being greater than the individual parts. It's a philosophy handed down by longtime Indiana coach Bob Knight and can be seen in many high school gyms across the state as a diversion to the chilly air that engulfs the Midwest this time of year.
Prior to this game the new Corridor of Champions was dedicated at the newly opened Ford Center. The old building, Roberts Stadium was a shrine to the game that we Hoosiers hold so dear. With the new building came a new perspective, a highlight video to accompany the mementos to the state champions and All-Americans. Along with those team accomplishments, it also serves as a shrine to southwestern Indiana's most famous basketball standouts. The four honorees include longtime Evansville coach and Naismith Hall of Famer Arad McCutchan, all time UE leading scorer Larry Humes, longtime Utah Jazz coach and former Purple Ace Jerry Sloan, as well as IU standout and all time Big Ten leading scorer, Evansville native Calbert Cheaney.
It is also in this spirit that Indiana comes to visit Evansville. The two programs share quite an integrated history that goes back to the mid-80s when Jim Crews was hired as the head coach. Crews played for a national title team under Knight at IU before joining him on the bench as an assistant. Crews brought the motion offense and man-to-man to Evansville and along the way, also brought in a transfer, current UE head coach Marty Simmons. Coach Simmons uses that same style today, even borrowing the candystripe design for the UE warmup pants, only in purple and white instead of cream and crimson.
The Ford Center had quite a mix of Indiana fans along with the UE supporters; after all Indiana is the flagship program in the state. Many UE fans are also IU fans and likewise many IU fans have kept tabs on the Aces after all these years, almost as if UE was the little brother who is very much alike on a smaller level. As the tip approached it was quite obvious that the crowd had some significant patches of crimson mixed in with the tradition purple and orange.
Once the game tipped it was apparent Indiana came to play. A quick 7-0 start eventually led to a double digit advantage and it seemed as if the Hoosiers were just bigger, faster, and stronger....a change from the past years where a RLU was always in play with a team that was the definition of rebuilding mode after a former coach's transgressions. A barrage of 3s gave IU a 51-27 advantage at the half and it didn't seem that close at times. Perhaps the biggest Evansville highlight was a chip shot into a barrel sitting at the foul line from just inside half court during one of the contests, earning a free round of golf.
The second half was more of the same. A balanced Hoosier attack saw all 5 starters with between 8-11 points only 3 minutes into the 2nd half. The lead ballooned to 30 at one point, much to the dismay to the supporters of the Purple Aces who led this same IU squad last season by 6 at the half before fading in defeat. The jubilation of an overtime win over Butler was quickly replaced with the disappointment of the 94-73 defeat leaving players speaking of how they need to get back to Evansville basketball, an idea rooted much in line with the visitors, beginning many years ago.
INDIANA 94, at EVANSVILLE 73 11/16/2011
INDIANA 3-0 (0-0) -- J. Hulls 5-7 2-2 14; C. Zeller 6-7 2-3 14; V. Jones III 5-8 3-5 17; C. Watford 5-7 3-3 15; V. Oladipo 3-8 2-4 8; W. Sheehey 3-8 3-5 10; D. Elston 4-6 0-0 9; D. Moore 0-2 0-0 0; R. Abell 1-3 2-3 4; T. Pritchard 0-0 0-0 0; M. Roth 1-2 0-0 3; A. Etherington 0-0 0-0 0; R. Smith 0-1 0-0 0; K. Barnett 0-0 0-0 0; J. Howard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-59 17-25 94. EVANSVILLE 1-1 (0-0) -- C. Ryan 4-10 6-9 17; D. Holmes 5-8 1-2 13; T. Taylor 1-4 2-2 4; K. Harris 5-10 6-7 17; N. Cox 2-9 0-0 4; L. Jones 2-4 1-3 5; R. Cesnulevicius 1-2 2-4 4; J. Jahr 2-5 0-0 4; M. Peeler 0-1 0-0 0; J. Nelson 2-3 0-0 5; J. Moore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-56 18-27 73.
Three-point goals: IND 11-21 (V. Jones III 4-4; M. Roth 1-2; D. Elston 1-2; J. Hulls 2-3; C. Watford 2-3; V. Oladipo 0-2; W. Sheehey 1-4; R. Abell 0-1), EVAN 7-16 (D. Holmes 2-4; L. Jones 0-2; C. Ryan 3-4; N. Cox 0-2; J. Jahr 0-1; K. Harris 1-1; J. Nelson 1-2); Rebounds: IND 35 (C. Zeller 9), EVAN 26 (C. Ryan 5); Assists: IND 24 (V. Jones III 7), EVAN 12 (T. Taylor 5); Total Fouls -- IND 22, EVAN 25; Fouled Out: IND-None; EVAN-T. Taylor.