SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Indiana's season, and Mike Davis' IU coaching career, came to a close Saturday in Salt Lake City.
Despite 13 second-half IU 3-pointers, a near triple double for Earl Calloway and a stellar defensive effort on Adam Morrison, Indiana bowed out of the NCAA tourney with a 90-80 second-round loss to Gonzaga at the Huntsman Center.
The loss brought an end to not only Indiana's season at 19-12, but also the coaching career for Davis in Bloomington. Davis announced late last month he would be stepping down at the conclusion of his seventh season at IU.
Davis said afterwards he plans on returning to Bloomington tonight, spending time with his family over the next week, and then seeing what unfolds from there. He said it was difficult to sum up how he was feeling about his last game on the IU sidelines.
"I can't explain it," Davis said. "We've been through a lot together. I'm proud of these guys."
Indiana appeared to have the perfect recipe for success Saturday. The nation's leading scorer Morrison was held to half of his season average, scoring only 14 on 5-of-17 shooting. Indiana bombarded the Zags with 3-pointers, going 16-of-36 for the game and 13-of-25 in the second half. Calloway, meanwhile, nearly put together the first triple double for an IU player in 34 years, finishing with 13 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists and zero turnovers.
But ultimately Gonzaga's dominance on the interior and the absence of Marco Killingsworth for a large portion of the second half was too much for Indiana to overcome.
Gonzaga center J.P. Batista led the Bulldogs with 20 points and nine rebounds, while forward Sean Mallon provided a surprising lift with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Mallon scored nine points and pulled down nine rebounds in the first half alone, helping Gonzaga to a 38-31 halftime lead despite only five points from Morrison.
"It was a good match-up for me," said the 6-9, 218-pound Mallon. "They basically play four guards and some of the guys they have in there are 6-5, 6-6 so I felt like if I could get good position and get the ball down there I'd have the advantage."
The efforts of Mallon and Batista helped Gonzaga (29-3) overcome a sub-par evening for Morrison. Indiana rotated A.J. Ratliff, Marshall Strickland, Rod Wilmont and Lewis Monroe onto the nation's leading scorer and held him in check all evening. His 14-point outing was his second-lowest output of the year, trailing only an 11-point night against San Diego Feb. 25.
"I think they did a good job," Morrison said about IU's defensive effort. "They have four guys about the same size so they switched out on me and made it difficult for me to get the ball and then they did a good job sucking in. I just missed some shots I normally make, but you've got to give them credit. They held me down."
Morrison might have struggled, but the Bulldogs' inside players didn't. Gonzaga owned a 46-20 edge in points in the paint, including a 24-8 edge in the second half.
Gonzaga's advantage inside was magnified dramatically 3 ½ minutes into the second half when Killingsworth picked up a foul and a subsequent technical foul that sent him to the bench for eight minutes with four fouls. With Indiana trailing 40-37, Killingsworth was called for a push in the back while battling for a rebound with Batista. Killingsworth pounded the ball and said something to one of the officials, who immediately called the technical.
That play came just 20 seconds after officials called a double technical on Roderick Wilmont and Morrison after they went chest-to-chest while battling for a rebound.
While the double technical had a minimal impact, Killingsworth's absence was huge. With him on the sidelines, Gonzaga was able to get plenty of opportunities for both Batista and Mallon in the paint and a couple of rebound baskets for Erroll Knight as well.
Indiana, meanwhile, had to rely almost exclusively on the 3-point shot. Robert Vaden knocked down six on his own in the second half while scoring all of his team-high 20 points in the final 20 minutes, while Marshall Strickland added four of his six in the second half was well. A.J. Ratliff added three more from behind the arc and Indiana managed to stay within striking distance until the final minutes thanks to its proficiency from deep.
All but 12 of Indiana's 37 second-half shots were from behind the arc, a fact that helped Gonzaga dominate the game from the free-throw line. Gonzaga was 32-of-41 from the line for the game, including 23-of-30 in the second half. Indiana, meanwhile, attempted just six free throws, making two.
"With Marco out, we really don't have a lot of options," Strickland said about the team's reliance on the 3-point shot. "We are small and we can shoot. We are good shooters so we might as well take those shots."
It nearly worked. With Killingsworth on the sidelines, Indiana cut a 48-40 Gonzaga lead to two with back-to-back 3-pointers from Strickland and Ratliff. After Gonzaga opened its largest lead of the game, 70-55, with 7:14 remaining, Indiana answered with four more 3-pointers during a 14-4 run over the next 3:50 to cut the margin to five, 74-69, with 3:30 left.
"I tip my hat to Indiana," Gonzaga Coach Mark Few said. "There's no quit in them. They kept coming and coming and coming at us. We needed everything we had in our tank to hold those guys off."
But a Morrison lay-in, a Derek Raivio free throw and a Erroll Knight dunk extended the lead back to 10 with 1:49 left, and Indiana's hopes of earning a trip to Oakland, Cal., for next weekend's regional semifinals were dashed.
Ratliff 3-8 0-1 9, Vaden 7-15 0-0 20, Killingsworth 6-13 0-0 12, Strickland 6-9 0-0 18, Calloway 6-12 0-0 13, Wilmont 3-9 0-3 6, Suhr 0-1 2-2 2, Allen 0-1 0-0 0, Kline 0-1 0-0 0, Monroe 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-69 2-6 80.
Morrison 5-17 4-7 14, Mallon 4-7 7-8 15, Batista 10-18 0-0 20, Altidor-Cespedes 0-1 0-0 0, Raivio 2-7 8-10 13, Pargo 2-4 5-6 10, Knight 4-5 3-4 11, Pendergraft 1-1 5-6 7, Heytfelt 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-61 32-41 90. Totals 28-61 32-41 90.
Halftime Score: Gonzaga 38, Indiana 31. 3-Pointers: Indiana 16-36 (Ratliff 3-7, Vaden 6-13, Killingsworth 0-1, Strickland 6-9, Calloway 1-2, Wilmont 0-3, Allen 0-1), Gonzaga 2-11 (Morrison 0-3, Mallon 0-1, Batista 0-1, Altidor-Cespedes 0-1, Raivio 1-4, Pargo 1-1). Rebounds: Indiana 38 (Calloway 9), Gonzaga 41 (Mallon 10). Assists: Indiana 18 (Calloway 10), Gonzaga 13 (Raivio 3). Turnovers: Indiana 13 (Killingsworth 4), Gonzaga 7 (Morrison 2, Raivio 2). Officials: Tom Lopes, Karl Hess, Mike Stuart.
IU's Season, Davis' IU Career Ended By Zags
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