BOSTON (AP) -- Indiana coach Mike Davis won over his hometown of
Fayette, Ala., and then he went out and beat the Crimson Tide.
Bracey Wright scored all 17 of his points in the second half,
and Tom Coverdale had 23 points, eight assists and the game's final
rebound on Friday to lead Indiana to a 67-62 victory over Alabama,
their coach's old school.
"We could tell that he was a little uptight," Coverdale said.
"We are glad to get this win for him."
Indiana (21-12) will play Pittsburgh on Sunday for a chance to
go to the Midwest Regional semifinals.
Davis grew up in Alabama, played for the Crimson Tide and then
worked there as an assistant coach. His attachment to the school is
still strong enough that his excitement at making the NCAA
Tournament as a No. 7 seed was nearly neutralized when he learned
seconds later he'd be facing his alma mater.
"I haven't slept since Sunday, really. Any time you're playing
your former school, you want to do well," Davis said. "I'm really
happy we won. But when they start playing the (Alabama) fight song,
I feel like I'm playing again."
After Davis said Thursday that no one from back home had called
to wish him luck, he was inundated with calls. One friend told him,
"Everyone from here is wearing Indiana shirts."
"So I know they still love me," Davis said.
Alabama led by 11 at the half but trailed by six until Williams
hit a long 3-pointer at the 1:00 mark to make it 65-62. Wright
missed at the other end, but when Williams had a chance to tie it
in the final seconds his 3-point attempt went wide and off the
Coverdale corralled it for his eighth rebound of the game, and
the Hoosiers threw the ball long to A.J. Moye for an insurance dunk
that accounted for the final score.
The second-half collapse was symbolic of Alabama's season. The
Crimson Tide won its first 10 games and was the top-ranked team in
the country on Dec. 30; that night, it lost to Utah, starting a
string in which it would lose seven of its next 11 games.
That's another thing Alabama had in common with Indiana: The
Hoosiers won their first eight games to climb as high as eighth in
the Dec. 23 poll and were 14-3 on Jan. 25 before they lost five
But while Indiana made the NCAA field comfortably, Alabama was
one of the last teams in.
"I'm very proud of our team," coach Mark Gottfried said.
"They're the only team in the history of the University of Alabama
to be No. 1 in the country. The seniors won 69 games, an SEC
championship and went to the finals of the NIT.
"We've had some great moments and some tough times, but it's
the best attitude of any team I've ever had."
The game was close through most of the first half, and Indiana
led 22-18 with 7½ minutes left. Alabama then scored 17 of the
half's last 19 points, with Dudley picking up seven points and
seven rebounds in the run and Williams hitting a 3-pointer at the
buzzer to make it 35-24.
But Indiana scored nine of the first 11 points in the second to
cut the deficit to four points. It was 39-36 with 14:01 left when
Wright missed the first half of a one-and-one; Indiana got the
rebound and worked the ball back around to Wright, who hit a tying
"I liked where we were at the half," Gottfried said. "But I
knew we were playing a team that played for the national
championship last year, and they weren't going to lay down for
Alabama led 49-45 before Coverdale hit a pair of free throws and
Wright sank a pair of baskets to give Indiana a 51-49 lead.
Coverdale missed a 3-pointer, but Marshall Strickland grabbed the
rebound and Jeff Newton banked one in to make it a four-point game.
It was 55-51 when Wright followed a scramble for the ball with a
3-pointer that gave the Hoosiers a seven-point lead with just over
six minutes left.