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Recker's clutch shooting does it again

3/9/2002

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Luke Recker couldn't have asked for anything
more: He beat the clock -- and his former team.

Recker made a 15-foot runner from the right corner as time
expired -- his second straight game-winner -- to give Iowa a 62-60
victory over No. 23 Indiana in the Big Ten semifinals Saturday.

Recker was an Indiana Mr. Basketball who played for the Hoosiers
but transferred from Indiana after his sophomore season.

"I've never hit two like this in my career," said Recker, who
won Friday's quarterfinal against top-seeded Wisconsin with a
13-footer with 1.4 seconds left. "When it went in, I saw my
teammates attack me. It was a great feeling."

While the Hawkeyes celebrated, the game's officials huddled
around a replay monitor to make sure Recker got the shot off in
time. The ball appeared to leave Recker's hands with about 0.2
seconds remaining.

A local TV station later aired videotape that appeared to show
the clock pausing for about half a second with 2.2 left. Indiana
said it didn't plan to protest.

"If there was a problem, the game is over," university
spokesman Jeff Fanter said.

Recker finished with 17 points, including the Hawkeyes' last
five -- a game-tying 3-pointer and the winner -- as Iowa (19-14)
advanced to the Big Ten title game for the second straight season.

Recker was booed throughout the game Saturday, but his reception
wasn't nearly as rude as the one he got in Bloomington last month
when he made his return to Assembly Hall. In that game, the fans
booed him in warmups and chanted at him all game.

"I love this state. I'm very fond of Indiana," said Recker,
who played for Bob Knight for two seasons before leaving for
Arizona, which he eventually left for Iowa. "But there's that 5
percent of fans that, unfortunately, act in a classless manner that
probably made this more enjoyable to win."

After hitting the final shot, Recker hugged Indiana coach Mike
Davis, an assistant when Recker played for the Hoosiers. Recker
then walked toward the Hawkeyes' crowd, pointing several times to
the "Iowa" on his jersey.

"The hate mail I received, the e-mails -- nothing
life-threatening, but just the letter saying how bad you stink -- is
pretty tough," Recker said. "That's where the emotion came in and
the tears came out. I can't describe to you what this feels like."

For the second straight season, Iowa entered the conference
tournament believing it had to win the title to reach the NCAA
tournament. Iowa beat Indiana in the Big Ten championship game last
year.

Until the closing sequence, Recker had a rough Saturday,
managing just three points in the first half. The Hawkeyes trailed
most of the game.

Indeed, Indiana guard A.J. Moye appeared to give the Hoosiers
control midway through the second half. He forced a turnover, then
hit a 3-pointer to break a 42-42 tie. On the Hawkeyes' next
possession, Moye's steal led to Jared Jeffries' layup. Moye
followed that by drawing a charge, which led to another Jeffries
basket and a 49-42 lead. Moye finished with a team-high 14 points.

"A.J. came out and set the tone today," Davis said. "I was
disappointed in some of the guys, but overall they played like we
played yesterday."

The Hawkeyes rallied with a 9-1 run, tying the score at 56 with
2:52 to go. Indiana (20-11) rebuilt a 60-57 lead on a Jeff Newton
layup and Tom Coverdale's two free throws, but Recker's 3-pointer
with 58 seconds left tied the score.

After missing several opportunities to retake the lead, Recker
finally grabbed the loose ball and called timeout as he was falling
out of bounds with 13.2 seconds left.

Then, Recker took the ball near the 3-point line, dribbled past
Jeffries, the Big Ten player of the year, and threw it in as he
drove the baseline.

"We knew they'd get the ball to Recker. He made a heck of a
play," Davis said. "He got it up good. I had to ask to check (the
clock), but I knew it went in."

So did Recker, whose team set a record by winning its seventh
straight game in the Big Ten tournament.

"They got us a couple of times, we got them a couple of
times," said Recker, who is 3-2 against Indiana since joining
Iowa. "I got them the last time, and it feels pretty good."