Sunday, March 17, 2002

IU holds on to take down Wilmington

South Region

The Associated Press

        SACRAMENTO, Calif. — North Carolina Wilmington scared another big-time school. It wasn't quite enough, though, against an Indiana team headed back to the final 16.

        Jared Jeffries scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half, and the Hoosiers held off the 13th-seeded Seahawks 76-67 Saturday, advancing to the third round for the first time since 1994.

        “Everybody was trying to pick us as underdogs the last two games,” Jeffries said. “This team has come together at the right time.”

        Second-year coach Mike Davis will lead fifth-seeded Indiana (22-11) against defending national champion Duke (31-3) Thursday in the South Regional semifinals in Lexington.

        “This is a major step for our program, for us to be able to play a team like Duke in this type of situation,” senior guard Dane Fife said. “This is Indiana-Duke, and you can bet everybody's going to be watching this. This is going to be a big-time game.”

        Two days after UNCW pulled off the biggest first-round upset by beating fourth-seeded USC in overtime, the Seahawks couldn't find the same magic and never led against the Hoosiers.

        “We fought hard, but there's no category for almost wins,” said Brett Blizzard, who scored 29 points, including making 9 of 10 free throws. “A lot of schools like Indiana already had tradition coming in here. This is just the start for us.”

        Anthony Terrell added 13 points and 13 rebounds, helping the Seahawks control the boards, 35-27.

        Indiana's A.J. Moye and Kyle Hornsby added 12 points each, and Jeff Newton had 11 as the Hoosiers shot 56 percent from the field.

        After UNCW trailed by 17 in the second half, Blizzard keyed a 26-12 run that drew it to 66-63 with 2:45 remaining. He had 13 points, including three 3-pointers, and Ed Williams added nine.

        But Indiana held the lead. Jeffries scored inside as the Hoosiers ended the game on a 10-4 run.

        The Hoosiers were regulars in the final 16 throughout the 1980s under former coach Bob Knight. They made six regional appearances and won the national title most recently in 1987.

        Since then, Indiana has endured hard times on and off the court. Although the Hoosiers have played in 17 consecutive NCAA tournaments, they were knocked out in the first or second round for the last seven seasons. years.

        Then Knight was fired in 2000 after grabbing a student who asked him, “Hey Knight, what's up?”

        A year ago, Davis coached Indiana to another first-round loss.

        The Hoosiers earned a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and beat Utah 75-65 in the opening round Thursday.

        After the final buzzer, Indiana fans clapped rhythmically and shouted, “Davis, Davis.”

        Knight's Texas Tech team didn't survive the first round, losing to Southern Illinois.

        Indiana led by 14 points in the first half, when UNCW shot 32 percent.

        Wilmington made a run at the start of the second half and drew within six, but Indiana answered with a 14-3 scoring burst.

        Indiana's Donald Perry scored inside, Newton and Jeffries had consecutive three-point plays, then Tom Coverdale scored six points in a row as the Hoosiers led 49-32 with 12:40 remaining.

        Coverdale finished with seven points playing on a sore left ankle he injured against Utah. He didn't start the second half.
       Consecutive 3-pointers by Moye and Dane Fife — two of Indiana's six in the half — helped the Hoosiers build their largest lead: 14 points with 5:05 remaining.

        The Seahawks closed the first half with an 11-3 run to trail 31-25 at the break. Blizzard scored half of UNCW's points, including a 3-pointer that ended the half. The Seahawks hit all 10 of their free throws.

        N.C.-WILMINGTON (23-10) — Williams 4-10 3-3 11, Terrell 5-9 2-4 13, Callahan 2-9 1-2 6, Blizzard 8-16 9-10 29, Burnette 3-8 0-0 6, Coombs 0-0 2-2 2, Justus 0-0 0-0 0, Chapman 0-0 0-0 0, Clifford 0-0 0-0 0, Hare 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-54 17-21 67.

        INDIANA (22-11) — Jeffries 8-15 6-10 22, Odle 2-3 0-0 4, Coverdale 1-4 4-6 7, Fife 1-2 0-0 3, Hornsby 4-9 2-5 12, Moye 3-4 4-4 12, Perry 2-3 0-0 5, Newton 4-5 3-5 11. Totals 25-45 19-30 76.

        Halftime—Indiana 31, N.C.-Wilmington 25. 3-Point Goals—N.C.-Wilmington 6-17 (Blizzard 4-9, Callahan 1-2, Terrell 1-2, Hare 0-1, Williams 0-1, Burnette 0-2), Indiana 7-17 (Moye 2-2, Hornsby 2-5, Perry 1-1, Fife 1-2, Coverdale 1-4, Jeffries 0-3). Fouled out—Fife. Rebounds—N.C.-Wilmington 35 (Terrell 13), Indiana 28 (Jeffries 7). Assists—N.C.-Wilmington 8 (Chapman, Terrell 3), Indiana 17 (Coverdale 5). Total fouls—N.C.-Wilmington 25, Indiana 20. A—16,144


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