Indiana plants Duke

Down 17, Hoosiers rally to oust top seed in South semis, 74-73

Boozer can't get off last shot

J. Williams hits three, but misses free throw with 4.2 seconds left

Ncaa Tournament

March 22, 2002|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Indiana turned a potential blowout into the biggest shock of the NCAA tournament last night.

The Hoosiers wiped out a 17-point first-half deficit and out lasted top-seeded Duke, 74-73, in a sometimes ragged, sometimes spectacular South Regional semi-final at raucous Rupp Arena.

Heavy underdogs against the defending national champions, the Hoosiers outscored the Blue Devils, 30-14, over the game's final 11:34. They"ll advance to tomorrow's regional final against the winner of last night's Pittsburgh- Kent State game.

It is Indiana's first appearance in the Elite Eight since 1993, when it lost to Kansas. A pair of free throws by reserve guard A. J. Moye with 11.1 seconds left provided the winning margin.

The victory was as improbable as it was pulsating. The Hoosiers trailed by 29-12 in the first half, and by as much as 15 points in the second.

But Duke contributed to its own undoing with a horrid shoot ing performance by its star player, guard Jason Williams, and an awful night at the foul line. The Blue Devils made just 27 of 67 field goals, a 40.3 shooting percentage, and converted just 10 of 19 free throws.

In what is expected to be his final college game, Williams, a junior, made just six of 19 shots. Worse yet, he missed a potential tying free throw with 4.2 seconds left in the game.

Williams finished with 15 points.

Indiana's 6-foot-10 Jared Jeffries, recruited three years ago by the Blue Devils, scored a game- high 24 points. But midway through the first half, he had just one point and one foul, so effective was the physical defensive play of Duke center Carlos Boozer.

Indiana had planned to take the game inside to Jeffries, and that poor start did not bode well. But the Hoosiers (23-11) gradually picked up their inside game, and out-rebounded Duke by 15 overall.

With 12:04 left in the game, Duke (31-4) held a 59-44 lead. But the Blue Devils got just one field goal in the next 5:30 to let Indiana get back in the game.

With 1:54 left, Indiana finally managed its first tie of the game at 70, on the second of two Tom Coverdale free throws.

Duke's Chris Duhon lost the ball out of bounds at 1:18, and Coverdale gave Indiana its first lead of the night with a short field goal at 72-70.

When freshman Daniel Ewing missed a three-pointer for Duke, the Hoosiers were able to run the clock down to 11.1. In a scramble for a loose ball, Duhon fouled Moye, who hit both free throws to make it 74-70.

Duke nearly staged a dramatic comeback, though. After Ewing missed another three, Williams got the rebound, backed up to the arc and hit his three. The bonus was that he was fouled. And even when Williams missed a chance to tie, Boozer (19 points, nine rebounds) got the rebound, but got tangled up inside and couldn't get off his shot.

Indiana got off to a dreadful start, falling behind 11-3 and 20-7. The Hoosiers failed to score on their first seven possessions and only a three-pointer by Dane Fife kept them from a scoreless opening six minutes.

That dreary start coincided with the unlikely disappearance of Jeffries. Playing against the 6-9 Boozer, Jeffries didn't get his first field goal - a three-point shot - until 7:38 remained in the first half. Up to that point, he had one point and one foul.

If Boozer's physical defense was suffocating, his offense wasn't bad, either. He made six of seven shots and collected 12 points in the first half.

That matchup seemed to spell doom for the Hoosiers, who hoped to take advantage of Duke's lack of depth inside. It never happened.

Indiana had a ragged first half with 16 turnovers, and only converted two three-pointers.

Duke, on the other hand, made five of 10 from the arc - the same numbers the Blue Devils hit from the foul line, in fact.

Failing to cash in at the foul line didn't seem to matter, though. Duke opened their biggest lead of the half, 17 points, at 29-12 with just under nine minutes left on a Duhon three-pointer.

Jeffries finally awakened at that point, and helped the Hoosiers cut their deficit to 31-21. But at 38-27, with a chance to get it under 10, Jeffries missed an open three-pointer. It was an opportunity lost.

Duke quickly pushed the lead back to 15 with a pair of Mike Dunleavy free throws and a baseline drive by Duhon. A pair of free throws by Moye cut it to 42-29 at the break.

Indiana had serious matchup problems all night. At one point in the first half, Dunleavy, a 6-9 forward, was defended by the 6-3 Moye. Dunleavy promptly hit a three-point shot.

Indiana eliminated the turn overs early in the second half and slowly crept back into the game. Jarrad Odle inspired the mini-rally with five field goals in the first four minutes. The last, on a hook, got Indiana within 51-41.

At the other end, though, Casey Sanders dunked on a Dunleavy miss to make it 53-41.

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