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Indiana holds off Temple 58-52 to reach Sweet 16
Monday - 3/25/2013, 2:44am EDT
AP Sports Writer
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) -- Indiana's season, the one that's supposed to finish with confetti falling and nets coming down, was minutes from ending in shock and disappointment.
The Hoosiers were on the brink.
As the clock ticked down, coach Tom Crean wouldn't allow himself to thing about defeat, so his mind wandered elsewhere.
"That's when you just pray," he said.
Victor Oladipo hit a 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining and the top-seeded Hoosiers, unable to stop Temple star Khalif Wyatt for most of the game, shut him down in the final three minutes for a 58-52 win on Sunday in the East Regional.
Trailing by four with 2:56 left, the Hoosiers (29-6) closed with a 10-0 run and advanced to the round of 16 for the second straight year. After stopping to tell Temple's players they're as good as any Big Ten team, Crean, his red tie askew and his hair messed, was overcome by emotion.
"That," he said, "was relief."
Indiana, with its sights set on a sixth national championship, will play No. 4 seed Syracuse in the regional semifinals on Thursday in Washington, a rematch of the classic 1987 title game won by the Hoosiers.
Wyatt scored 31 points to lead the Owls (24-10), who for 37 minutes gave top-seeded Indiana all it could handle before collapsing when it mattered most.
"We competed really hard," Wyatt said. "We battled. A couple plays here and there, we win. It was just a tough battled game, and they came out on top."
Oladipo, who drew the assignment of chasing Wyatt around the floor and needed plenty of help from his teammates, scored 16 and Cody Zeller added 15 for the Hoosiers, the regular-season Big Ten champs.
"If they were in our league, they'd be fighting for a championship too," Crean said. "I don't think there's any doubt about that. They're that good."
After Oladipo's long 3 put the Hoosiers up 56-52, Indiana had to buckle down on Wyatt, the Atlantic 10's Player of the Year. Wyatt was way off with a 3-pointer from the right wing with six seconds left and Indiana's Christian Watford grabbed the rebound and was fouled.
With his hands on his hips, Wyatt walked dejectedly up the floor as Dayton Arena rocked and the senior pounded his chest. The Hoosiers
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