|Date of game: 3/17/2012
Recap: Indiana vs. VA Commonwealth
Portland, OR (Sports Network) - Will Sheehey hit a jumper with 12.7 seconds to play and Indiana punched its ticket to the Sweet 16 with a 63-61 win over VCU in the South Region of the NCAA Tournament.
Cody Zeller had 16 points and 13 rebounds while Christian Watford also had 16 points and added five boards for the fourth-seeded Hoosiers (27-8), who are looking for their first NCAA championship since 1987.
"This game was everything that we anticipated and even more," said Indiana head coach Tom Crean. "We knew VCU was really good on film, but they were even better in person. Their aggressiveness, their athleticism, the toughness that they played with, we knew we were going to have to match that and then some, and our guys did."
Indiana will next play Kentucky, which thumped Iowa State on Saturday, in the fourth round on Friday in Atlanta.
Bradford Burgess had 15 points and seven boards while Rob Brandenberg added 13 points for the 12th-seeded Rams (29-7), who had knocked off Wichita State in the second round on Thursday.
"Proud of our guys. Really battled, played hard," said VCU head coach Shaka Smart. "I thought we did a much better job defensively in the second half. But then again, so did Indiana. You've got to give Indiana a ton of credit for the way they battled."
The Hoosiers were trailing by five points when Zeller put in two free throws with 1:31 to go.
Burgess was then fouled with 59.3 left, but he missed both of his free throws and Victor Oladipo was fouled on a layup that went in and sank the freebie to tie the game with 46.5 to play.
VCU set up for a three at the other end but Troy Daniels missed with Oladipo grabbing the rebound and heading the other way.
He had the ball knocked out by Darius Theus, but it went to the left where Sheehey grabbed the loose ball and drained the jumper with 12.7 seconds left.
The Rams had their chance following the timeout, but Brandenberg's three- pointer bounced off the rim right before time expired and the Hoosiers celebrated.
Indiana held a 13-8 lead early when Jordan Hulls hit a three-pointer four minutes in, but VCU answered with a 13-2 run capped on three free throws from Burgess for a 21-15 lead.
The Hoosiers countered with the next seven points to take the lead back and the game stayed close over the next several minutes, but the Rams scored 11 straight points to hold a 42-33 lead with under two minutes to play in the half.
They didn't score another point in the half, though, as Watford hit consecutive three-pointers and followed that with two free throws to get Indiana within a point at the break.
After Watford hit a three-pointer for Indiana four minutes into the second half to tie the game at 48, VCU scored the next nine points.
Rob Brandenberg hit a free throw and a Derek Elston turnover was turned into a three-pointer from Treveon Graham. Elston again coughed up the ball and Brandenberg followed with a three.
Following misses at either end, Brandenberg missed a layup, but Juvonte Reddic came down with the offensive board and put the ball in for a 57-48 lead with 12 1/2 minutes to play.
The offenses went dormant over the next several minutes as Indiana got a free throw from Zeller and layups from Tom Pritchard and Remy Abell to make it a four-point game with 10 1/2 minutes left. The next points didn't come until four minutes later when Brandenburg put in a layup for a six-point cushion.
Two minutes after Zeller hit a free throw and followed that with a jumper with under three minutes to play, but Theus immediately answered with a jumper with 2 1/2 minutes left.Game Notes
Indiana won the only previous encounter between these programs...Indiana shot 52.2 percent in the game, including 6-of-13 from long range...VCU made just 40.4 percent of its shots...Sheehey's winning bucket was his only basket of the second half as he finished the game with eight points...Indiana dominated the glass, 36-23.