HONOLULU (AP) — This one certainly didn’t feel like a season-opener to Tom Crean.
James Blackmon, Jr. scored 22 of his 26 points after halftime to lift No. 11 Indiana to a season-opening 103-99 overtime victory over No. 3 Kansas on Friday night in the Armed Forces Classic.
“I told someone before the game that this feels like March in here and that’s how it played out,” Crean said.
It was a thrilling finish to a back-and-forth contest. Kansas tied at 87 on Frank Mason III’s layup with 39 seconds left. Blackmon reclaimed a brief lead for Indiana with two free throws with 13 seconds remaining. However, Mason answered with two more free throws with 2 seconds to play in regulation.
Indiana had a chance win to win it at the buzzer, but Tyler Self’s desperation shot from three-quarters court length was no good and sent the teams into overtime.
The Hoosiers never trailed in overtime. Blackmon scored seven points in the period, including a step-back 3-pointer from the right wing that gave Indiana a 97-93 lead. He scored his team’s final four points, including a thunderous dunk in the closing seconds.
Crean, Indiana’s ninth-year coach had high praise for Blackmon, a junior guard who had knee surgery in January to cut short his sophomore season.
“I’m just proud of him beyond belief; I couldn’t be any prouder of him,” Crean said. “To come back and play the way he did on both ends of the court after overcoming everything that he has is great for him.”
The Hoosiers had five players score in double figures with Thomas Bryant notching a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Curtis Jones had 15 points, OG Anunoby had 13 and Robert Johnson added 10.
Indiana trailed by as many as nine points, but shot 50 percent (14 of 28) in the second half.
Blackmon was 4 of 8 from behind the 3-point line and the Hoosiers were 15 of 31 from beyond the arc. Juwan Morgan had 10 rebounds for the Hoosiers.
Mason led the Jayhawks with 30 points and nine assists.
Devonte Graham scored 16 points, while Carlton Bragg, Jr. and Svi Mykhailiuk chipped in 12 apiece and Landen Lucas added 11 for Kansas.
“We didn’t play well, but give (Indiana) credit,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Their guards really got in the lane when they wanted to and then we had to play out of foul trouble and then we had to play small too often. We competed hard down the stretch, but physically they just beat us on the glass and that was the difference in the game — and they made shots. They made hard shots at the end of the clock.”
Seven players fouled out of the game, four of them Jayhawks.
“We played like it was our first game,” Self said. “We put ourselves in a situation to have the game come down to the end and we made some plays to get it to overtime and in overtime we lost all our guys and certainly it was hard to overcome that.”
The teams combined to make 56 of 74 free throws. Kansas was 30 of 38 from the line, while Indiana made 26 of 36.
There were 16 ties and 17 lead changes in the game.
Kansas opened the season away from Allen Fieldhouse for the first time since 2001, when it lost to Ball State 93-91 in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.
It was the 14th meeting between the teams and first since 1995, when Kansas beat Indiana 91-83.
The Hoosiers lead the all-time series 8-6.
Kansas: One statistical category it held the edge in was turnovers, where it committed just 11 to Indiana’s 18. The Jayhawks also excelled in points off turnovers, 18-11.
Indiana: Bryant, a third-team All-Big Ten center as a freshman last season, fouled out with 52 seconds left in regulation. The Hoosiers were able to persevere, a good sign for a relatively young squad.
Kansas will likely fall at least a few spots in the Top 25, but will have a chance to rebound with a showdown against top-ranked Duke Tuesday. The win should boost Indiana into the top 10 nationally.
SALUTE THE TROOPS
This is the fifth consecutive year of the Armed Forces Classic, which has been held at different venues around the world with a heavy presence of American military personnel. The inaugural event was held at Ramstein Air Base in Germany in 2012. A different branch of the military serves as the host each year. This year’s event was hosted by the Navy and coincides with the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor next month. Indiana’s jerseys were inscribed with “Courage,” while the Kansas jerseys read “Honor.” Kansas coaches wore military-style boots for the game.
Kansas: Will travel cross country to take on No. 1 Duke in the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Tuesday.
Indiana: Will host UMass-Lowell Wednesday as part of the Indiana Classic.