Men's Basketball Falls To No. 10 Hoosiers|
Dec. 7, 2002
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Coach Mike Davis wanted Jeff Newton more involved in the Indiana offense Saturday. So he built the game plan around him.
Newton provided the inside force, scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds for his third straight double-double to lead the No. 10 Hoosiers past UIC 91-62.
"I talked to him yesterday and told him we were going to him on the first five possessions," Davis said. "I'm not sure we did that, but it got him going."
Newton was the primary reason Indiana was too strong and powerful for UIC (2-2).
The Hoosiers (6-0) dominated the middle, especially defensively. They finished with eight blocks, four from Newton, and outrebounded the Flames 48-40. The bulk of the blocks came early from Newton and George Leach, intimidating the Flames and taking them out of their game.
Indiana, usually reliant on its 3-point shooting, exploited the inside. UIC, which wanted to go inside, was forced to play a perimeter game that didn't work.
"If we were afraid initially, then when they started blocking shots and being that strong, it didn't help," Flames coach Jimmy Collins said. "We allowed Newton to have his best game."
Davis has said throughout the season that Newton's play is a critical component for the Hoosiers, who lost Big Ten player of the year Jared Jeffries to the NBA last season. On Saturday, Newton demonstrated why.
He was 8-of-16 from the field and 9-of-13 from the free throw line, despite hurting his neck midway through the second half. By going to him early, Davis figured it would get Newton's attention. It did.
"Coach told me he was going to run the first five plays for me, so I wanted to go to the hole and convert," Newton said.
Newton's inside play was helped by the Hoosiers resurgent outside game.
After shooting just 29.9 percent against defending national champion Maryland in a rematch of last year's title game Tuesday, Indiana was better Saturday. The Hoosiers shot 45.3 percent and connected on 7-of-15 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes. Guard Bracey Wright scored 16 points, and guard Tom Coverdale had 14.
The Flames were overmatched by the combination without Cedrick Banks, who missed his fourth straight game after the NCAA declared him academically ineligible. He could return Monday against Samford.
"We got out of our game plan," Bailey said. "We got to running and we weren't focused for the whole 40 minutes."
The Hoosiers didn't have that problem.
They took a 16-4 lead, with UIC managing just two baskets in the game's first five minutes.
Indiana used a 7-0 run late in the first half to take a 42-26 lead at the break, and pulled away with a 14-3 run that made it 62-39 with 12 minutes left in the game.
UIC never threatened again and trailed by as much as 89-59 with 1:58 to go.
It was just what Davis wanted.
"We need Newton to have an inside presence for us," Davis said. "I think he's getting better game-by-game. He's not played this role at Indiana before, so I've got to make a conscious effort to pass it to him."
By MICHAEL MAROT