Headed into the afternoon on Saturday, Feb. 15, in Nicoson Hall, the University of Indianapolis men’s basketball team appeared, on paper, to be the favorite for an easy win over the Quincy University Hawks. The Greyhounds, however, struggled to pull away from the Hawks during the game, and at some points even trailed. The Greyhounds did not panic, though, and recovered to claim the victory 84-74.
Headed into halftime, the Greyhounds found themselves in an uncharacteristic position, trailing 41-37. UIndy bounced back in the second half, however, and that is something Head Men’s Basketball Coach Stan Gouard said comes from the team’s ability to respond to such situations.
“It was a brutal halftime for those guys. I challenged those guys in so many ways. I didn’t think we were being very tough,” Gouard said. “They [Quincy] shot 61 percent in the first half. And that’s not UIndy basketball. They were out-rebounding us by three at halftime. And that doesn’t fly well with me either.
“In the second half, we made the adjustments. We ended up with 13 fast break points, out-rebounding them by nine, and they [Quincy] shot 40 percent. So that’s a testament to our guys of responding to adversity at halftime.”
The Hounds were led in their victory by senior guard Tyrae Robinson, who posted 20 points in the win. Robinson credited his performance to his teammates and their ability to play well with one another.
“We just got to stay together as brothers and family,” Robinson said. “We knew the situation and everything. No game in this conference is going to be easy from here on out. So we understand that and we just had to make adjustments.”
The Greyhounds began their four-game stretch at home last Thursday, Feb. 13, with a dramatic 75-73 victory over the Truman State University Bulldogs.
After losing a commanding lead nearly midway through the second half, the Hounds allowed Truman to pull as far away as seven points with 6:46 remaining. UIndy, however, remained poised and was able to bring the deficit down to one point nearly a minute later thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by senior guard Reece Cheatham. Soon after, a layup by redshirt junior guard/forward Brennan McElroy gave the Hounds back the lead, 68-67.
Cheatham said that during the moment, he felt he needed to be aggressive from deep in order to get the team out of the slump they were in. Even though he had missed some shots earlier, he said he still felt comfortable with taking those shots.
After UIndy took back the lead, both teams exchanged the lead a few more times until Cheatham tied the game at 72 with 1:38 remaining. The Bulldogs took the lead, 73-72, after splitting a pair of free throws with 1:16 remaining. The Greyhounds pulled even at 73, with 27 seconds remaining, with a split pair of free throws by senior guard Jared Grady. After inbounding the ball, the Bulldogs took a timeout with 20 seconds remaining to set up what would be the last shot in regulation. As the play clock resumed, they held the ball until four seconds remained and attempted to drive the ball inside.
Robinson, however, stole the ball and was fouled with nearly three seconds left on the clock. Following a timeout by UIndy, the ball was inbounded by the Greyhounds and then handed off to Robinson, who drove the ball into the lane in traffic and sank a game-winning layup as time expired.
Gouard said that the play could have developed in more than one way.
“What I told Tyrae was just, ‘Get it, and try to turn the corner for a drive and kick for Reece,’” he said. “But the [Truman State] defense had to make a decision whether they were going to guard Reece or guard Tyrae. Tyrae did a good job of making the read, and he got the layup for the win at the buzzer.”
The victory was also a historic one for Gouard, who claimed his 100th victory during his tenure at UIndy as head coach. Gouard said that the milestone could not have been accomplished without the “great players” that have come through the program since he has been at the helm.
“I feel old,” Gouard said, joking. “It’s a great accolade as a coach, but you know our job is not yet done. I had some great players come through. I’m just proud of all the guys that helped me get to this point.”
Following the close victory, Cheatham said that battle-tested wins, such as the one over Truman, are beneficial to the team.
“They [battle-tested victories] are good, especially when we come out with the win,” he said. “We were tested as far as the game and our character. We had nobody panicking and nobody doing things out of character. That’s the good thing about our team. We all stuck together, and nobody was being negative about the situation at the end, and we ended up pulling it [the victory] out.”
The Hounds will play the second half of their home stand on Thursday, Feb. 20, against the University of Southern Indiana and on Saturday, Feb. 22, against Bellarmine University for “Pack the House Night.” Both games against the GLVC East rivals are set to begin at 7:45 p.m.
“We have to come out hungry, and [we] can’t take them for no joke,” Robinson said about this week’s games. “Like I said, every team in this conference is good. So we’re going to go out there and compete.”