(18) Indiana 71

(6-2, 3-1 away)

Charlotte 54

(5-5, 2-4 home)

    9:00 PM ET, December 19, 2005

    Halton Arena, Charlotte, North Carolina

    1 2 T
    #18IND 40 3171
    CHAR 30 2454

    Top Performers

    Indiana: M. Strickland 12 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast

    Charlotte: C. Withers 8 Pts, 10 Reb, 1 Ast, 6 Stl, 1 Blk

    Hoosiers use 3-pointers to control 49ers

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Coach Mike Davis has a goal each game for Indiana. He wants his players to take no more than a total of three contested shots, and if they follow through, he figures they stand a good chance of making at least as many as they miss.

    The latest evidence came Monday night at the expense of the Charlotte 49ers.

    Marco Killingsworth had 17 points and Robert Vaden and Marshall Strickland each made four of Indiana's 13 3-pointers as the Hoosiers (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) pulled away from Charlotte for a 71-54 victory Monday night.

    "When you shoot contested shots, your percentage goes down," Davis said. "We don't have to take contested shots. We're going to get open shots. All our shots we made from the 3-point line were wide-open shots."

    Vaden finished with 14 points and Strickland added 12 as Indiana (6-2) shot 53 percent and showed little rustiness from a nine-day layoff for exams. D.J. White saw his first action of the season after sitting out the first seven games with a broken left foot. He had eight points and five rebounds.

    "It was good to be out there," White said. "I missed a couple of shots I normally hit, but all in all, I felt like I helped the team out a little bit."

    The Hoosiers lost a heartbreaker in this series last season, when Brendan Plavich made a heave from halfcourt just before the buzzer to give the 49ers a one-point victory. Of course, Indiana thought perhaps the ball left Plavich's hands after the clock had expired, making the rematch a bit more important.

    The 49ers' fans wasted little time reminding their guests of that, with a sign in the student section reading, "All I need 4 X-Mas is 0.7 seconds" -- the amount of time Plavich had to get off his shot.

    "Please don't ask about last year," Davis pleaded. "We've got a new scoreboard to take care of last year. It costs us $5 million to get it, but we've got it."

    Once the Hoosiers started making 3-pointers, it didn't matter anyway.

    They were 13-of-23 for the game after making 10 in the first half, leaving Charlotte (5-5) with few options on defense. Cover the perimeter and leave Killingsworth alone in the paint, or double-team down low and allow open shots from the perimeter?

    In the end, the 49ers -- also playing for the first time in nine days -- had trouble stopping both.

    "You kind of have to pick your poison," said 49ers coach Bobby Lutz, who didn't get to enjoy his 500th career game. "You didn't want to give up 3s, and you didn't want to let him have easy opportunities. They just made a lot of shots."

    The Hoosiers took control with a 24-4 run that began midway through the first half, holding the 49ers to only one basket in a span of more than 9 minutes. Killingsworth started it by putting back a miss by White before Indiana turned its attention outside.

    Following a tip-in by Antwon Coleman that gave Charlotte a three-point lead, Strickland tied it with a 3-pointer, and he and his teammates hardly were done. Roderick Wilmont added one, as did Vaden, and Strickland got another to put the Hoosiers ahead 27-20.

    "It's not like it's a fluke or anything," Charlotte's Mitchell Baldwin said. "They got into a flow where they were moving to open spots and hitting 3s. We just had to get to their shooters."

    When it didn't work out that way, the points came almost easily for Indiana. Wilmont swished a jumper from beyond the arc before Killingsworth made his third 3 of the season to increase the margin to 13. Vaden finally missed from long range, but White was there to follow it up.

    Lewis Monroe finished off the brilliant spurt with a layup, and Indiana had taken a 17-point lead.

    "Coach Davis said, 'Get the ball inside and then play off of him," Killingsworth said. "I was just taking what they gave us."

    Charlotte had one rally left in the second half, and it was helped greatly when Davis was called for a technical foul. Leemire Goldwire converted both free throws to cut the margin to six, and Coleman made both at the line a couple of minutes later to bring the 49ers to 50-44.

    "I'm going to say my prayers," Davis said when asked about the technical. "I wasn't really worried about it, I just didn't want our guys to get in a funk. I told them, 'It's on me. Don't worry about it, just keep playing our game."

    They listened. A.J. Ratliff swished -- what else? -- a 3-pointer and Earl Calloway drove for an easy two points before White also scored from in close, and order was restored.

    De'Angelo Alexander had 11 points for Charlotte, which shot only 27 percent. Leading scorer Curtis Withers was held to eight points, about half his average.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 71 54
    FG Made-Attempted 28-53 (.528) 17-64 (.266)
    3P Made-Attempted 13-23 (.565) 7-19 (.368)
    FT Made-Attempted 2-7 (.286) 13-18 (.722)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 12 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 19 5

    2005-06 Season

    » Dec 19, 2005 IND 71, @CHAR 54Recap