INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Marco Killingsworth was making free throws in Conseco Fieldhouse like he was Reggie Miller.
Killingsworth, a senior forward at Indiana, entered Friday night’s game shooting 54 percent from the line. But in the building where Miller cemented his reputation as a clutch player for the Indiana Pacers, Killingsworth went 8-for-8 from the line in the second half to help the 18th-ranked Hoosiers beat Butler 73-55.
Killingsworth, who scored 16 of his 27 points in the second half, went 9-for-13 from the field and 9-for-10 from the free throw line overall.
“Dang,” Indiana coach Mike Davis said. “I guess we can’t call him Shaq anymore.”
Robert Vaden of the Hoosiers was 4-of-4 from 3-point range and had 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists. He said Killingsworth’s presence left him open.
“It’s because he demands double-teams,” Vaden said. “If he demands double-teams, he can kick it out for open shots.”
Killingsworth’s three-point play with 4:22 left capped a 7-0 run and gave the Hoosiers (7-2) a 56-46 lead.
Brandon Polk, who led Butler with 23 points, scored with 7:22 left, but the Bulldogs (6-5) didn’t make another field goal for more than 5 minutes.
Indiana’s size advantage was too much for the Bulldogs. Butler’s tallest player is 6-foot-7 and its heaviest player is 245 pounds, not nearly enough to handle the 6-8, 268-pound Killingsworth.
“It felt good when stuff started going in,” Killingsworth said. “You know, you get your little roll going, ain’t no feeling like it.”
Indiana shot 58 percent from the field and outrebounded the Bulldogs 32-11.
There were six lead changes and three ties in the first half. Vaden hit a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer to give the Hoosiers a 26-24 lead.
Indiana, which entered the game averaging 83 points, didn’t get into its running game until the closing minutes. The Hoosiers allowed Butler to stay in the game by committing 17 turnovers.
Davis didn’t mind slowing the pace a bit because it allowed the Hoosiers to run their offense through Killingsworth.
“We can push it, but I don’t want to do it every time until we can make better decisions with the basketball,” he said.
Killingsworth said it was good for the Hoosiers to prove they can win a halfcourt game.
“That’s how basketball is, you’ve got to just adjust to it,” Killingsworth said. “Coach does a good job of going through game preparation, and right before the game, telling us what type of ballclub it is.”
Butler coach Todd Lickliter said his team was in a good position at halftime.
“I thought we had set a pretty good tone, not that we were down two, but that we had established that we were going to play and make them play halfcourt basketball,” he said.
The Hoosiers looked like they might lose to an in-state mid-major for the second time this month. Indiana State upset Indiana 72-67 on Dec. 6, but the Hoosiers shot 67 percent (14-for-21) from the field in the second half against the Bulldogs.
Butler has had two near-misses against Big Ten teams this season. The Bulldogs lost to Ohio State 79-69 in overtime on Nov. 22, and 78-74 to Michigan on Nov. 26. Those scores caught Indiana’s attention.
“Butler’s a pretty good team,” Vaden said. “They’ve got guys they all can play, but I felt we played a pretty good game in the second half.”