INDIANAPOLIS — Darius Adams scored 36 points with six assists and four rebounds on his Senior Night to lead Indianapolis to an 81-76 come-from-behind victory against No. 21 Northern Kentucky at Nicoson Hall on Thursday night.
Adams scored 24 of his points in the second half as the Greyhounds (19-7, 12-6 GLVC) came back from a 13-point deficit after trailing 61-48 with 10:39 to play.
Adrian Moss added 13 points, nine assists, four rebounds and three steals and Leland Brown tied his career high with 14 points off the bench.
UIndy ended the game shooting 48.2 percent (27 of 56) after making 16 of 24 shots in the second half. The Hounds also converted 19 of 24 free throws (.792), including 14 of 16 in the second frame. The Norse (19-6, 12-5 GLVC) finished the game at 47.3 percent (26 of 55) and made 21 of 31 free throws (.677). UIndy forced just 11 turnovers, but nine came in the second half.
“We started being more physical late in the second half and picked up our defense,” head coach Stan Gouard said. “I was able to get rest for Darius and DeWann (Squires) and the bench provided a lot of energy on defense, which was much-needed.
“Then we just found a way to get it done. We rode Darius’ coattails and Moss continues to do a great job of knowing when to score and getting people involved. As I looked at the box score, everybody who played did something tonight. We’re good when everyone is making contributions, not just one or two guys.”
Northern Kentucky was led by Erik Stenger with a career-high 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, while Malcolm Eleby and Josh Tabb each scored 12 points.
Not only did the Hounds beat a nationally-ranked team for the second time this season (also at No. 4 Southern Indiana on Feb. 22), but the win gives them another win against a regionally-ranked foe. The Hounds were eighth and NKU fourth in the latest NCAA Midwest Region rankings that decide who goes to the NCAA Tournament. The top eight teams in the region make the 64-team field.
The Greyhounds were still down 10 at 66-56 with 8:31 to go in the game when the comeback went into full affect. Adams scored seven consecutive points to pull UIndy within three. The Hounds then turned NKU over and Adams found Squires wide open in the right corner for a triple. Squires nailed the trifecta and was fouled. He hit the ensuing free throw to complete the 11-0 run and give UIndy its first lead — 67-66 — since it was 12-10 with 5:31 remaining.
The lead changed three more times before Brown scored inside on a dish from Adams to put UIndy in front 71-70 with 3:51 to go. The Hounds then forced turnovers on five consecutive Norse possessions with three steals by Moss and one by Brown. During that two-minute stretch, UIndy increased the lead to five at 75-70 with 2:29 left after Wilbur O’Neal scored four points in a row.
Northern Kentucky finally scored with 1:10 to play, but UIndy had an answer. The Hounds ran the shot clock down and then Moss stepped past a defender and lofted a jumper from the free throw line. The ball bounced high off the back of the rim and fell straight through the net to put UIndy back up five. Adams then made all four free throw attempts in the last 18 seconds to clinch the win.
The first half had four ties and four lead changes in the first 5:38. The Hounds led on a lay-up by Moss at 12-10 with 14:41 to go, but NKU came back with a 10-0 run to take control. The Norse eventually grew its lead to 10 points at 31-21 with 4:35 left in the half and maintained a nine-point edge at 40-31 heading into intermission.
The Norse stayed in control and played with a double-digit lead over the Hounds for the first 11-plus minutes of the second half before UIndy started to turn things around.