FISHERS, Ind. -- The game lived up to the hype with two of the top players and top teams in the state.
Hamilton Southeastern senior Zak Irvin and Tech junior Trey Lyles went head to head in a possible preview of the Class 4A state title game come March.
Irvin scored 26 second-half points to lead the No. 3 Royals to a 64-59 victory over the No. 1 Titans on Saturday night.
But was it a big enough statement for Irvin's bid for IndyStar Mr. Basketball?
"I try not to think about that," Irvin said. "I just try to come out here and just play my game and help my team win. It was definitely a big second half for me."
Irvin's second-half show was certainly more in character than how he played in the first half, when he scored just four points.
"I think with the atmosphere and how big the game was, I think I forced it a little bit," Irvin said. "But my teammates and my coaches always told me I was going to make the next one, and I kind of settled down in the second half."
When he did, the Michigan signee ran away with the game.
He hit three 3-pointers in the second half, including one to put the Royals ahead 53-52 with 2:11 to play.
Later, in the final 20 seconds, Irvin made three trips to the line and scored six points to close out the game.
"He's a very tough player," Titans coach Jason Delaney said. "He's the real deal. You want two big-time players, hopefully Mr. Basketball for this year and next year going against each other."
Lyles was no cakewalk for the Royals, either. He had 12 points and 10 rebounds by halftime and finished with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
"He's a beast, there's no doubt about it," Royals coach Brian Satterfield said. "He's got his (top-10) ranking nationally for a reason. What he can do with his versatility makes him awfully tough to defend."
Lyles scored on the first possession of the game to give Tech a 2-0 lead, and the Royals didn't score until 4:42 remained in the first quarter when Irvin made a free throw and later hit a 3-pointer with 3:11 left in the second quarter to give the Hamilton SE a 19-15 lead. Then the Titans went on a 6-0 run to take a 21-19 lead at halftime.
"We just didn't play under control at the start of the game," Satterfield said. "Our shot selection wasn't very good and we just weren't making very good decisions. We talked about some things at halftime and I thought, offensively, things were a lot better in the second half."