7:00 PM ET, March 23, 2002
Rupp Arena, Lexington, Kentucky
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Indiana is back in the Final Four thanks to nearly unprecedented 3-point shooting.Making their first eight long-range shots and close to 80 percent overall, the Hoosiers rolled past upstart Kent State 81-69 Saturday night in the South Regional to return to the national semifinals for the first time since 1992.
Tell me the three-point shot isn't big in college basketball! Indiana hit 15 of 19 trifectas against a defensive-minded Kent State team. This coming after Indiana hit just two of 10 in the shock city performance against Duke on Thursday!
Overall, Indiana came out on fire, making its first eight trifectas. For the game, Indiana shot 64.2 percent overall; you win a lot of games shooting that well!
Kent State's nation-leading 21-game winning streak ended, as did its attempt to become the first No. 10-seeded team to reach the Final Four.Instead, Indiana -- stunned by Kent State in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament -- gets a chance to add to its five national championships, the last of which came in 1987.
The victory was easily the most significant of Indiana coach Mike Davis' tenure in a state where basketball is a religion. Davis was Bob Knight's assistant for three seasons and took over when Knight was fired in September 2000.In the stands Saturday, a sign read: "Knight-time is over, it's a new Da-vis!" "Going to the Final Four is really, really big for the program," Davis said. "To be here this year after all we've gone through is a blessing." The Hoosiers knocked off top-seeded Duke on Thursday thanks to bruising inside play. Saturday's victory came courtesy of hard-to-believe outside shooting. Six players hit 3-pointers for Indiana, with Fife going 5-for-6. Kyle Hornsby added 16 points for the Hoosiers, who tied for the Big Ten regular-season title. "Give Indiana credit," Kent State coach Stan Heath said. "I haven't seen a shooting display like that in my 13 years of coaching."
Tom Coverdale playing in pain was a common sight last season.
Coverdale, the regional's MVP, had 14 points and seven assists, and Big Ten player of the year Jeffries scored 10."It was frustrating," Heath said. "We tried different things. We tried to stop Jeffries. We tried to tighten up on the shooters. We even tried a zone for a while." When Davis became head coach, he had the unenviable task of following Knight, a coach who led Indiana to three national championships and won more than 600 games there. During the postgame celebration Saturday, Hornsby went over to Myles Brand, the university president who placed Knight under a zero-tolerance policy in 2000 and then dismissed the coach. "We weren't all that fond of (Brand) at the time," Hornsby said. "I looked at him and shook his hand and said, 'We've come a long way.' "And he said to me, 'We sure have."'
|» Mar 23, 2002||@IND 81, KENT 69||Recap|