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Hoosiers proving point rankings were too low

11/26/2002

LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) -- Mike Davis was disappointed in what
people were expecting out of his Indiana team coming off the defeat against Maryland in national championship game last season.

''Too low, too low,'' he said of his team's preseason rankings
following the 84-71 victory Monday over Massachusetts in the opening
round of the Maui Invitational.

Judging by the way the Hoosiers (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today; No. 19 Associated Press) looked for most of
their season opener, he might be right.

Tom Coverdale scored 20 points and George Leach added career-highs of 19 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Hoosiers (1-0), who
were playing for the first time since that setback in Atlanta.

Despite the loss of Big Ten player of the year Jared Jeffries,
they looked like they hadn't missed a beat except for some shooting
woes over the final eight minutes.

''I told the team I didn't agree with all the people who do the
polls and I told them the only way to prove them wrong is to win
and win big,'' Davis said.

The 13-point win advanced Indiana to the semifinals Tuesday against Gonzaga (No. 22 ESPN/USA Today; No. 20 Associated Press), which beat Utah 71-52.

The Hoosiers set a school record with 270 3-pointers last season
and they had nine in the first half in taking a 50-40 lead over the
Minutemen (0-1).

Leach, a 6-foot-11 senior, was dominant inside for Indiana as he
missed doubling his previous career-high by just one point. His
second career double-double easily outdid his first, when he had 10
points and 10 rebounds last season against Miami.

''If he plays like that all year we'll be a really good team,''
Coverdale said of Leach, who averaged 2.8 points and 2.5 rebounds
last season. ''If we get half the production from him we did today
we'll be really good.

''I saw that potential in George when he got here. He has to
stay with it and get his confidence up.''

Raheim Lamb had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Massachusetts,
while Marcus Cox, a transfer from Connecticut, had 14 points.

''We're trying to build,'' Massachusetts coach Steve Lappas
said. ''That's a team that is there. We're not.''

Jeff Newton's rebound dunk of a missed shot by Coverdale gave
Indiana a 72-54 lead with 7:57 to play. The Hoosiers then went 5:07
without a field goal, including five missed shots on one
possession, and had just one basket the rest of the game.

The Minutemen weren't able to take advantage of the shooting
slump, never getting closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

''We did a bad job of keeping the lead when it was 18 and we
can't do that because teams will beat us,'' said Coverdale,
5-for-20 from the field, including 4-for-10 from 3-point range. ''I
don't think I've ever taken 20 shots in a game in my career.''

Davis was quick to follow that with: ''And you won't again.''

Coverdale had six assists for Indiana, which finished 12-for-26
from 3-point range and outrebounded Massachusetts 51-36.

''We have four guys who can make 3s,'' Davis said. ''Our point
of emphasis has been rebounding. We go four to the board on offense
and send five on defense.''

Lappas said his team did a good job defending the 3-point shot.

''They made some tough shots. I thought for the most part we
were all over them,'' said Lappas, who won this tournament with
Villanova in 1995. ''In the second half we did a better job of
pressuring the ball.''

Kyle Hornsby had 10 points, five rebounds and four assists for
Indiana.

''There were points in the game when we played good defense, but
we didn't the whole game,'' he said. ''That's not good defense.''

This is Indiana's third appearance in the Maui Invitational. The
Hoosiers lost in the championship game in 1990 and 1998, both times
to Syracuse.