Second-half rally sends Kent State to upset of No. 4 seed Indiana, 77-73

Huffman's clutch offense fuels Golden Flashes

foul trouble foils Hoosiers

West at San Diego

NCAA Tournament

March 16, 2001|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,SUN STAFF

SAN DIEGO - Just when it looked as if No. 4 seed Indiana would end its string of early disappointments in the NCAA tournament, Trevor Huffman stepped in.

The junior guard scored 19 of his team-high 23 points in the second half, helping No. 13 seed Kent overcome a 12-point deficit in the second half for a 77-73 victory last night in an NCAA West Regional first-round game. Kent State will face Cincinnati tomorrow in the second round.

In the final five minutes, Huffman - whose uncle, Shoes Huffman, played on the 1979 NCAA championship team at Michigan State - made a pair of critical and unlikely shots as the Golden Flashes (24-9) ran past the Hoosiers (21-13).

Afterward, Huffman said Indiana's "guards know how to push you into their big men; from that standpoint, it's a lot different than the MAC," referring to the Mid-American Conference. But "quickness-wise, that belonged to us."

So he drove among Indiana's big men and threw in a shot high off the glass to give his team a 67-66 lead with 3:22 left. Then, with only one second left on the shot clock after his airball, he took the inbounds pass at the right wing and put up an off-balance three-pointer that went in to give Kent State a 70-66 lead with 2:31 left.

"He made some shots that normally never happen," said Indiana's interim coach, Mike Davis. "There were some spectacular plays by him down the stretch."

"Outstanding," said Kirk Haston, who had 29 points and nine rebounds for Indiana. "That sums it up pretty well."

It was too much to recover from for Indiana, a team playing for its interim coach, but also a team that fell victim to foul trouble, turnovers and bad shooting in the second half.

After making 18 of its first 32 shots (62.5 percent) on the way to a 48-36 lead with 17:51 remaining, the Hoosiers went cold, making only eight of their final 23 field-goal attempts.

Starter Tom Coverdale played most of the game with an injured hip and eventually fouled out, and key players Jared Jefferies and Dane Fife spent most of the second half in foul trouble. And Haston, who led both teams with 29 points and nine rebounds, was less of a factor after he left the game to tend to an ankle injury with 14 minutes left.

Nor did the team help itself with 10 second-half turnovers, erasing the good work that led to a 42-34 halftime lead.

After a 12-2 run over three minutes, and four more minutes of subtle chipping, the Golden Flashes had tied the game, and Davis - who replaced Bob Knight before the season - was a little closer to finding out if he would get the Indiana job.

"I don't know," he said when he was asked what his chances were of keeping the job. "They said they were waiting until the season is over. It's over."

St. Joseph's 66, Georgia Tech 62: Georgia Tech forward Jon Babul said it wasn't much, just a few harsh words.

But in a first-round NCAA tournament game, not much turned into a 17-point deficit against a motivated St. Joseph's team that hung on to win.

St. Joseph's (26-6) got a game-high 21 points from its star guard, Marvin O'Connor, and eight assists from another guard, Jameer Nelson, to move into the second round against top-seeded Stanford. The Hawks also answered what the team thought was a pre-game snub.

During the shoot-around, the Yellow Jackets (17-13) invaded more of the Hawks' space than the Hawks wanted. St. Joseph's players complained, and words were exchanged, few of them complimentary toward St. Joseph's, or its conference, the Atlantic 10.

"I heard a lot about the ACC," O'Connor said, referring to Georgia Tech's conference. "We took that personally, because [they] don't think the Atlantic 10 exists. We're human, too."

Babul said "it wasn't a big deal," but the incident induced a 15-0 Hawks run, led by Damien Reid and Bill Phillips, ending with a 26-10 lead at 5:55 of the first half.

After Georgia Tech brought St. Joseph's lead to under 10 points, O'Connor sparked a 10-2 run that sent the Hawks to a 41-24 halftime lead.

"We played the first half and had 16 field goals and 14 assists, and I thought our shot selection was good," said St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli, who also saw his defense keep Georgia Tech's star center, Alvin Jones, from getting a field-goal attempt until the second half and allowed the Yellow Jackets to hit only three of their 18 three-point attempts for the game.

Georgia Tech, which had 12 first-half turnovers, gained ground by taking care of the ball and getting it inside to Jones, who finished with eight points and 12 rebounds.

"For us to win a game and shoot ... 29 percent in the second half is very significant," Martelli said. "It was just about a group of kids that probably weren't ready to have their uniforms collected."

Stanford 89, UNC-Greensboro 60: The perfect game never came for UNC-Greensboro. As the No. 16 seed in the West, the Spartans looked for flawless execution as their savior against Stanford.

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