It was a magical night in Bloomington that culminated in Indiana’s lone senior proposing to his girlfriend on Senior Night.
But before Collin Hartman got down on one knee and became engaged to his girlfriend, his Indiana Hoosiers finally had their own happy ending as they ended their five-game losing streak by barely (and I mean barely) getting past Northwestern 63-62.
The magic started with 5:30 left in the first half. After a quick 30-second timeout in response to a 11-0 Northwestern run to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 22-14, the Hoosiers showed a passion not seen during the first 14:30 as IU finished the half on an incredible 22-0 run that ended with Devonte Green sinking a buzzer-beating three-pointer from the opposite three-point line.
Despite ending the half on such a momentum-shifting run, the Hoosiers 36-26 halftime lead didn’t last long as the Wildcats only needed 6 minutes to retake the lead and held it until the final seconds.
With 3:11 left and the Wildcats up 61-53, it looked like the clock was about to strike midnight on the Hoosiers last remaining hope of playing in the postseason. Yet the tide turned yet again as the Hoosiers finished the game on a 11-1 run that included the following:
- Three offensive rebounds for IU in one possession
- 87.5% free throw shooter Bryant McIntosh missing one of his free throws
- Robert Johnson scoring just his second bucket of the game and his first since the 10:12 mark of the first half
- James Blackmon Jr hitting a big three-pointer with 38 seconds left
- Not fouling Northwestern and perfectly defending the Wildcats for the full shot clock
- Not calling a timeout after grabbing the rebound with nine seconds left and having Blackmon drive to the basket only to throw an amazing pass to an open Thomas Bryant underneath the basket.
- Bryant getting fouled but still being able to make the game-tying basket with 2.6 seconds left
- The most dramatic go-ahead free throw make of all-time
(No seriously, the way the ball bounced up in the air before going through the hoop is something out of the end of a Disney sports movie)
What made it even more suspenseful was that McIntosh’s half court heave almost went at the buzzer but luckily for the Hoosiers it hit off the back of the rim.
The result was a win for one of Indiana’s best winners in Collin Hartman. As stated by Indiana Coach Tom Crean during the celebration, Hartman was an integral part of last year’s Big Ten championship team. He did all the little things and even stepped up in the scoring department when the Hoosiers needed him most. But perhaps the biggest lasting image of Hartman was the fact that he wanted the Hoosiers to beat Kentucky so badly that he played in the game despite having a broken wrist.
For the ultimate winner, it was only fitting that the Hoosiers made what was likely his last game in Assembly Hall a win.