Thursday, February 20, 2003

Indiana 79, Iowa 63

The Associated Press

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Tom Coverdale gave Indiana exactly what Iowa lacked. Coverdale made five 3-point baskets in scoring 17 points and set the tone with his determination and vocal leadership as Indiana beat Iowa 79-63 Wednesday night for its first Big Ten road victory.

"Coverdale is a great shooter and a fine leader," Iowa coach Steve Alford said. "We didn't have that kind of leadership in the backcourt. That's something we need."

Bracey Wright scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half and Jeff Newton added 16 for the Hoosiers (16-9, 6-6 Big Ten), who shot 56 percent in winning for just the second time in eight games.

Indiana also got 14 points from 6-foot-11 George Leach, who blocked four shots and slipped inside Iowa's soft interior defense for five dunks.

"I think George did a great job of finishing," Coverdale said.

The Hoosiers also made 10-of-21 3-point shots. They had been shooting just 28 percent from behind the arc in Big Ten play and had struggled offensively in a 71-59 loss at Wisconsin last Saturday.

The difference?

"Leadership," Indiana coach Mike Davis said. "When we played at Wisconsin, no one said a word on the floor. Tonight, I looked up and saw Coverdale screaming, `Let's go guys, let's go.' You need guys on the floor to show leadership. The coaching staff can only do so much."

Chauncey Leslie scored 18 points for Iowa (13-9, 5-6), mostly on quick moves to the basket, but Indiana made it tough for his teammates to get good shots. Iowa shot only 37 percent.

Glen Worley had 11 points and 13 rebounds for the Hawkeyes, who were 4-for-20 from 3-point range. Brody Boyd also scored 11.

"We gave no effort. It was an embarrassment," Worley said. "We didn't represent the University of Iowa, we didn't represent Iowa City. I put the onus on me because I'm one of the leaders. This was probably our worst performance all year."

Coverdale rediscovered his shooting stroke after going 3-for-22 on 3-pointers and averaging just 6.3 points in the previous four games. He made four 3s in the first half and finished 5-of-8 from long range.

"I think I was more vocal tonight than I ever have been," Coverdale said. "I think the main difference was us just playing together as a team, having fun and having some enthusiasm about basketball.

"You hadn't seen that from us in a couple of weeks and the way we played tonight, we just had fun playing basketball and that's the way it should be."

Wright played only nine minutes in the first half after getting two early fouls, but made key shots in the second half to help Indiana pull away after Iowa drew to 39-36 on Leslie's three-point play.

The 6-foot-3 freshman scored on a putback and hit a 3-pointer during a 9-2 run that took the lead to 48-38. Iowa would never get closer than nine after that.

Wright's 3 from the right wing made it 58-43 with 11:20 left, and he came through again when Iowa cut the lead to 62-53 on Greg Brunner's two free throws with 7:01 remaining. He first made two free throws, then stole the ball, drew a foul as he made a layup and sank the free throw to complete a three-point play, making it 66-53.

Leach helped Indiana stay in control down the stretch with two dunks, an easy layup and two free throws.

"This is a basketball team you saw tonight that played the first eight games of the season," said Davis, whose team started 8-0.

Indiana broke away from a 10-10 tie by holding Iowa to one field goal over 6 1/2 minutes while going on an 18-4 run. Coverdale hit three 3-pointers during that stretch and Kyle Hornsby came off the bench to make two.

After Iowa scored eight straight points to cut the lead to 32-27, Indiana answered with a 7-0 burst that took only 62 seconds.

Leach dunked on a pass from Newton and Coverdale fed Newton for a layup in transition before hitting his fourth 3-pointer of the half to make it 39-27. Jeff Horner's basket got Iowa to within 10 at halftime.

"I thought that they just did a much better job executing on both ends," Alford said. "I thought we panicked up front and their guards were a lot more solid. When you shoot 55 percent on the road, you're going to win a lot of games."

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