Indiana-Syracuse meeting brings back memories of ’87
March 28, 2013 7:50PM
FILE - In this file photo taken March 30, 1987, Indiana's Keith Smart (23) fires a shot past Syracuse's Howard Triche for a basket, putting Indiana ahead by one point in the final seconds of the NCAA Championship game in New Orleans. Known by Hoosiers fans to this day as ``The Shot,'' and known in much less complimentary terms by Syracuse faithful, that 16-foot jumper from the left side with 5 seconds to play is a film clip staple throughout March. (AP Photo/Bill Haber, File)
Updated: May 1, 2013 3:02PM
WASHINGTON — Cody Zeller couldn’t come up with an exact figure for the number of times he’s seen Keith Smart’s game-winning shot from the 1987 title game against Syracuse on television.
The Indiana sophomore forward estimated he’s viewed it a “fairly decent amount.”
“It’s obviously a part of Indiana’s history,” Zeller said Wednesday.
The fifth-ever meeting between the storied programs took place in Thursday’s late East Regional semifinal at Verizon Center.
The Hoosiers and the Orange have played in New Orleans, New York City, twice in Maui and now Washington, D.C.
Syracuse won three of the previous four games in the series.
Indiana’s only victory came the first time the teams played. It also happened to be for the national title.
The Hoosiers won 74-73 with Smart produced one of the more memorable moments in the tournament’s history, making the go-ahead jumper from the left side with five seconds remaining.
“It’s always difficult when you lose in the championship game, the last game of the year and the last shot; that’s always a difficult thing,” Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said.
Boeheim coached Syracuse to a 31-7 record that season.
“You never get over games like that,” he said. “I thought we played as well as we could play in that game. Indiana was a big, big favorite in that game. I thought we played as well as we could play and we certainly had a lot of opportunities to win the game. At the end of games you can be ahead, you can be a little bit better, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to win.”
Smart’s impact went beyond the final points of the game.
“Keith Smart made 10 of their last 12 or 13 points,” Boeheim said. “He played great the whole last part of the game after being taken out of the game, and he was one of the guys that I was worried about in that game. He came back in and he was the guy that beat us.”
Syracuse senior guard Brandon Triche’s uncle, Howard, played for Boeheim on the 1987 team.
“I’ve seen him play but I haven’t seen the actual whole game,” Brandon Triche said. “I think watching it was like a missed assignment. I haven’t directly talked to him about it.”
For Boeheim, winning the 2003 national title against Kansas eased the pain from the 1987 game.
“We played very well in the game,” Boeheim said. “When you lose a game like that, you really almost never get over it. I got over it in 2003.
“I probably thought about it for those (16) years most of the time. I never think about it anymore. “
Boeheim remembered the advice former Indiana coach Bob Knight gave him after the contest.
“Coach Knight was good after the game,” Boeheim said. “He told me we would get back and win it, he just didn’t tell me it would take (16) years.
“He’s smart, just not that smart.”