The Indiana Hoosiers came from behind Monday evening to beat the Louisville Cardinals 74-66 in the third-place game of the Empire Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Hoosiers were down 64-61 with 4:23 left in the second half and outscored the Cardinals 13-2 to improve to 4-1 on the season and will face Harvard on Sunday afternoon at 4:30 pm in Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The Hoosiers have won 2 in a row against Louisville after a 68-67 win over Cardinals on December 8, 2018, in Bloomington and lead the all-time series 12-9. This was the sixth time the teams have met a netural site and the second time in New York and first since December 9, 2014, when Louisville beat Indiana 94-74 the teams are tied 3-3 all-time in neutral site matchups. Louisville leaves New York City 0-2 and drops to 2-3 on the season.
The Hoosiers were lead in scoring by Xavier Johnson with 14 points, Malik Reneau and Kel’el Ware added 12 points each. Anthony Walker added 11 points and Peyton Sparks chipped in 9 points both off the bench for the Hoosiers. IU finished 24-53 from the field for 45%, a dismal 1-11 from three-point range for 9% and 25-34 from the free throw line for 73%. Indiana pulled down 32 rebounds, dished out 18 assists, 8 steals, 7 blocks and committed 11 turnovers.
Louisville was led by Skyy Clark with 19 points and 10 points from Tre White. The Cardinals were 20-56 from the field for 35%, 5-19 from three-point range for 26% and 21-29 from the free throw line for 72%. Louisville pulled down 35 rebounds, dished out 9 assists, 6 steals, 2 blocks and committed 11 turnovers.
Kel’el Ware scored 47 seconds in with a layup with the assist to Mackenize Mgbako. The Freshman from Gladstone, New Jersey which is 45 miles west of New York City had a rough homecoming after scoring just 2 points against UConn Sunday he picked up 2 quick fouls in the first 1:48 of the game and had to go to the bench as he finished with 4 points, 3 assists, a steal and a rebound in just 9 minutes of action. Louisville took the lead 3-2 on a three pointer by Skyy Clark with 19:12 left in the first half. The game would go back and forth with Louisville leading 9-8 at the 14:45 mark. The Cardinals lead 13-12 with 11:51. Indiana would lead 17-15 when Payton Sparks missed the second free throw and the Hoosiers got the offensive rebound with the Ball State transfer scoring inside to put the Hoosiers on top with 17-15 with 10:28 left in the first half. Indiana would go into the locker room up 34-29 with a spark off the bench lead by Anthony Walker with 9 points.
In the second half IU outscored the Cardinals 10-6 to lead 44-35 with 15:21 left in the game. Louisville would go on 13-3 run with 11:32 left in the game to lead 52-49. The Cardinals would lead 64-61 after J.J. Traynor threw It down with 4:23 left in the game. The Hoosiers took over with Malik Reneau and Xavier Johnson scoring all 13 Hoosier points in the final 4:23 to get out of Madison Square Garden with a split. Reneau hit 4 three throws and had a field goal. Johnson hit 5 three throws and a layup to lead the Hoosiers in the victory. Indiana had 30 points off its bench to 23 for Louisville. The Hoosiers struggled to hit the outside shots but once they were not falling, they started to go inside to draw fouls and get to the line to knock down their free throws that made the difference in the game.