(10) Alabama 62

(17-12, 7-9 SEC)

(7) Indiana 67

(21-12, 8-8 Big Ten)

    9:30 PM ET, March 21, 2003

    TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts

    1 2 T
    #10ALA 35 2762
    #7IND 24 4367

    Indiana rallies from 11-point halftime deficit

    BOSTON (AP) -- Indiana coach Mike Davis won over his hometown of Fayette, Ala., and then he went out and beat the Crimson Tide.

    Tom Coverdale

    Tom Coverdale, center, looks to pass as Alabama's Maurice Williams and Kenny Walker defend.

    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."

    Maurice Williams had 26 points, and Erwin Dudley had 18 points and nine boards for Alabama (17-12), a No. 10 seed.

    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.

    Dick Vitale: Tom Coverdale had a brilliant performance, and both Bracey Wright and Jeffrey Newton really came to play in the second half after struggling in the first half. George Leach fouled out, and yet Indiana was able to get past the Tide despite a great perfromance by Maurice Williams. More

    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 backboard.

    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 straight.

    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 3-pointer.

    "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 us."

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press



    » Mar 21, 2003 @IND 67, ALA 62Recap