BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Mike Davis was more concerned with
getting the Indiana Hoosiers back in sync than achieving another
personal milestone Saturday night. He accomplished both.
After pleading with his team to be more careful on offense, the
17th-ranked Hoosiers followed Davis' plan perfectly.
Robert Vaden scored 18 points, freshman Ben Allen added a
career-high 15 and the Hoosiers shot 55.6 percent from the field,
including 9-of-13 on 3-pointers, as they got past Eastern Michigan
79-63 for Davis' 100th career win.
"It really feels good," Davis said. "I wished it had happened
last year, but I'm really proud of this basketball team and
everyone shook my hand."
Davis had to wait until Saturday to became the fourth Indiana
coach, and the second-fastest in school history, to 100 wins after
losing earlier this week to No. 1 Duke. Only Bob Knight made it to
100 wins quicker, achieving the feat in his fifth season. Davis is
in the sixth season of a tenure that has seen him endure the
torment of losing seasons and critics who thought he couldn't
measure up to Knight.
Everett Dean (162) and Branch McCracken (364) are the only other
Indiana coaches to win 100.
But Davis focused more on helping his players cope with
rebounding after an emotional loss to the Blue Devils.
At practice, Vaden said, Davis emphasized taking care of the
basketball and settling down quicker. The result: Indiana (4-1)
didn't come out with the same passion it had against Duke,
especially early although it did play with more precision.
"He wanted us to play calm," Vaden said. "That was something
we did a little better tonight."
The Hoosiers had to contend with other problems Saturday.
Eastern Michigan's big man, John Bowler, controlled the interior
by scoring a career-high 28 points and grabbing nine rebounds. He
had little help, though. Nick Freer, the Eagles' next-highest
scorer, had nine points -- not nearly enough to prevent Eastern
Michigan (1-3) from losing its third straight under new coach
"This is one of the places you want to go because it's kind of
like the Mecca," Bowler said. "I think we handled pressure pretty
and we got over our nerves and jitters right away."
Bowler's presence forced the Hoosiers to adjust.
Instead of relying on Marco Killingsworth, as they have done
frequently this season, Vaden, Allen and Marshall Strickland
balanced the scoring attack. Strickland finished with 15 points.
Killingsworth had 14.
The surprise was the emergence of Allen, a little-used player
this season. He connected on 6-of-8 shots, including two
3-pointers, and gave the Hoosiers a big lift after losing forward
Sean Kline to a knee injury. Kline missed Saturday's game with a
sore knee and is expected to miss Tuesday's game at Indiana State,
But Allen proved he was more than capable by scoring the final
five points in a the Hoosiers' decisive 8-0 run midway through the
second half. That gave Indiana a 60-47 lead and control of the
"He can really shoot the ball, and he's only going to get
better," Ramsey said. "I think the only problem coach Davis may
have is finding playing time for him because they have some
Eastern Michigan did what it could to keep the Hoosiers from
playing their up-tempo style. They slowed the pace by running down
the shot clock and then working inside to Bowler.
For most of the night it worked.
After Indiana broke to an early 16-8 lead, the Eagles charged
back. Danny McElhinny's 3-pointer with 7:03 left in the half cut
the lead to 25-24.
The Hoosiers answered with Allen's three-point play and
back-to-back 3-pointers from Vaden and Allen to rebuild a 34-27
lead, then got a four-point play from Errek Suhr in the final
seconds to make it 40-32 at the half.
When it appeared Indiana might pull away early in the second
half after Roderick Wilmont's back-to-back 3s made it 50-36,
Eastern Michigan again rallied. The Eagles used an 11-2 run to
close to 52-47.
But Allen responded by cutting for a layup and then hitting a 3
to close the 8-0 run that gave Indiana a 13-point lead with 10:49
Eastern Michigan never got closer than nine the rest of the way,
and afterward the Hoosiers' celebrated Davis' achievement.
"Everyone shook my hand, even A.J. (Ratliff) and Earl
(Calloway), so they still love me," Davis said, referring to two
players who sat on the bench for the final 20 minutes. "It does
feel really good, though."