Clutch Wildcats Beat No. 6 Indiana, 70-64
Dec 21, 2002
By CHRIS DUNCAN
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Indiana coach Mike Davis, enraged by a foul not being called, ran wildly onto the court before Saturday's game with Kentucky was over.
After being ejected and watching the 18th-ranked Wildcats make five throws with 2.6 seconds left for a 70-64 victory to hand his sixth-ranked Hoosiers' their first loss of the season, Davis was subdued and apologetic.
"There's no way I should've acted like that," said Davis, thrown out of a game for the first time. "I can't explain it. I've done something to embarrass my team.
"There have been a lot of games won with 2.6 seconds on the clock," he said. "I cost us the game. I was so emotional. I need to learn and grow from this."
It was Davis' second meltdown playing Kentucky in Freedom Hall.
Two years ago, after an 88-74 loss to the Wildcats, Davis said in his postgame news conference that he wasn't the man to succeed Bob Knight as the Hoosiers' coach.
Davis, who led Indiana to the national championship game last season, was ejected for running on the court to protest a non-call on a possible game-winning layup by freshman Bracey Wright.
The Hoosiers (8-1) trailed only 65-64 when Davis exploded, but Keith Bogans made five of the six ensuing free throws to put the game out of reach.
The Wildcats (6-2) took the lead on a layup by Marquis Estill with 12.8 seconds left, the sixth lead change over the final 2:16.
The Hoosiers didn't call a timeout in the closing seconds and the ball ended up in the hands of Wright, Indiana's leading scorer.
He drove to the basket, but missed a layup off the side of the backboard.
"To tell you the truth, I really didn't see it once I went up," Wright said. "All I saw were a lot of white jerseys and a lot of arms. Then, I saw myself going into a cameraman."
Bogans got the rebound, but Davis exploded off the Indiana bench and ran to confront referee Bert Smith near the free throw line. He slapped his forehead and screamed that Wright was hit in the face by Kentucky center Jules Camara.
"No matter what the officials call, sometimes we're wrong and they're right and we don't know," Davis said. "I do apologize to that official, because there's no reason for me to act that way."
Television replays showed that Indiana's Jeff Newton, not Camara, inadvertently grazed Wright, who scored 18 points.
Camara said he blocked Wright's shot.
"I want to see the replay," Camara said. "I was told it was a clean play. I don't know if I got him with the body or not."
Smith gave Davis plenty of leeway before calling two technical fouls as the furious coach followed him to midcourt.
Once Davis departed, Bogans walked up to Wright.
"I told him I thought he got fouled," Bogans said. "That's what it looked like to me."
Kentucky coach Tubby Smith evaded a question about the decisive play.
"I couldn't see it. I was at the other end of the court," he said.
Newton scored 24 points - one off his career high - for Indiana, which was off to its best start since opening 10-0 in 1989-90.
The Hoosiers went only 5-of-17 from 3-point range (29 percent), continuing a recent trend of poor perimeter shooting. They are 9-of-46 from 3-point range over their last three games.
The 6-foot-9 Estill, fifth in the nation in field goal percentage, scored four straight baskets early in a 23-7 Kentucky run, and Bogans finished it with a layup for a 31-24 lead.
Estill had 12 points at halftime, his season scoring average. The Wildcats hit 13 of 20 shots after missing 14 of their first 16.
They also outrebounded Indiana 25-14 and held the Hoosiers to 3-of-12 shooting from 3-point range.
"They were tricky with their defenses," Newton said. "They played some zone and played some man-to-man and did a good job of mixing things up."
Estill picked up two quick fouls in the first two minutes of the second half, but the Wildcats got seven of the half's first 10 rebounds and pushed the lead to 10.
Estill then fouled A.J. Moye on a drive with 14:52 left and Bogans replaced him, giving Kentucky a lineup with no one taller than 6-8 Erik Daniels.
The Hoosiers started attacking inside and twice cut Kentucky's lead to one with Estill - Kentucky's best shot blocker - on the bench.
Estill returned near the 9-minute mark, but was tentative guarding Newton, who scored 10 points in three minutes. His free throw with 5:30 left tied the game for the first time, at 58-58.
Kentucky beat Indiana for the eighth time in nine meetings and the sixth straight time in Freedom Hall.
"We play big games all the time," Smith said. "We feel, when the right team shows up, we can beat anybody in the country."
Kentucky junior point guard Cliff Hawkins returned after missing Kentucky's first seven games because of academics. Hawkins scored four points and led the Wildcats with five assists.