Indiana had been through it before.
A big deficit. Not a lot of time on the clock.
The Hoosiers staged a furious rally to defeat Virginia Commonwealth 63-61 in an NCAA tournament third round contest Saturday at Portland, Ore. Will Sheehey made a jumper with 12.7 seconds left to put IU ahead.
"We've been there before, almost the same situation in numerous games early in the season," Sheehey said. "And Christian (Watford) told Jordan (Hulls) event though he was struggling for a little bit, just to keep playing.
"And I think that really just was our motto for the whole time was just to come out and keep playing. Even though we got down a little stretch, we were just going to make a run and we did that tonight."
IU trailed 57-48 with 12:28 to go. The Hoosiers closed the game on a 15-4 run, sparked by a strong defense and timely baskets.
"You can reference a game like NC State, where it was 7 with 7-and-a-half minutes to go. Those things register with those guys," IU coach Tom Crean said.
The Hoosiers rallied to defeat North Carolina State 86-75 on Nov. 30.
IU had to work just to get back into the game late in the first half.
The Hoosiers trailed 42-33 with 1:47 to go. Watford then got hot.
Watford made two three-pointers and then hit two free throws for the final eight points of the first half. The stretch helped the Hoosiers go into halftime trailing 42-41.
"I knew we needed a bucket and I stepped up and concentrated and made the shot," Watford said. "The very next three, we got in transition and Victor (Oladipo) did a great job of finding me and I just knocked it down. I got two free throws after that, so at that point I was going."
IU will face Kentucky in the Sweet 16. It is a rematch of what many consider the college basketball's game of the regular season. The Hoosiers knocked off the Wildcats 73-72 Dec. 10 when Watford made a game-winning three-pointer.
ESPN features the shot in an ad.
"It goes in every time. Every time," Crean said. "And you know what? He (Kentucky coach John Calipari) tweeted, I tweeted something back. The value that brings our university, brings our fan base to have that out there, it's fantastic.
"It goes in every time. And there's still a hand up in front of him. There's still a great pass from Verdell (Jones III), there's still a great screen from Cody Zeller. Every time it goes in."