Moye scored 18 points and made each of his six shot attempts. He gave Indiana an inside presence that it desperately needed. The Hoosiers could not buy a 3-pointer, but at the same time they could not establish any consistent scoring in the paint. The Hoosiers were teetering on the brink of being blown out by the Wolverines.
Five minutes into the second half, Michigan led Indiana 37-29. Lavell Blanchard was scoring at will from the outside and the inside, so Mike Davis brought in Moye to shut Blanchard down. Moye not only played better defense on Blanchard but also served as an offensive spark for Indiana. He attacked the rim, using pump fakes to get defenders out of position. Moye scored 12 of Indiana's next 15 points to tie the game at 44.
Moye's performance seemed to remind fellow forward Jeff Newton that Indiana's strategy was to get the ball inside, particularly since the Hoosiers were not making any outside shots. Newton asserted himself down low, and Indiana began to run its offense properly. Moye and Newton combined to shoot 11-for-15 while the rest of the team shot 7-for-34. Clearly the duo carried Indiana to victory.
Tom Coverdale also played a key role in the win. Coverdale made only 4-of-14 shot attempts, but he kept Indiana in the game early with two big 3-pointers. He also played excellent defense throughout the game, focusing on shutting down Michigan's sensational freshman Daniel Horton. Horton, who played with a sprained ankle, could not find any open looks at the basket. Coverdale followed Horton all over the floor, even drawing a couple of charges on Michigan's young guard and limiting him to three points for the game.
Indiana's defense kept it in the game. Michigan maintained a lead for the entire first half, but despite Indiana's struggles on offense, the Wolverines could not build on their lead because of Indiana's intense defense. Indiana's guards did an excellent job of dropping down to provide help defense in the paint. Newton and Moye communicated well all game, and as a team, Indiana rotated well to prevent any open looks for the Wolverines. Several times Indiana forced Michigan to take a tough shot with a few seconds left on the shot clock. The Hoosiers proved to themselves that they can win without shooting well as long as they play tough defense. Indiana shot 38 percent, but it held Michigan to 38 percent shooting as well, giving the Hoosiers a chance to win. Last year's team relied on defense, and this year's team needs to do the same to be successful in the NCAA Tournament.
Although the Hoosiers played excellent defense, once again they were pounded on the glass. Indiana did not consistently block out, resulting in several second-chance opportunities for Michigan in the first half. The Hoosiers are lucky that Michigan did not pull away as a result of all of these offensive rebounds. If the Hoosiers want to beat Illinois and more importantly have success in the tournament, they have to put bodies on their opponents. Indiana's guards grabbed 15 of the team's 25 rebounds against Michigan, and they need to continue helping out Newton, Leach and Moye on the boards for Indiana to be successful.
Perhaps the most satisfying aspect of tonight's game for Mike Davis was Indiana's excellent ball control. The Hoosiers had only four turnovers for the game. Davis must be pleased with his team's focus, especially against an athletic team like Michigan.
Tomorrow, Indiana will face Illinois for the third time this season. Indiana won the first meeting at home, but Illinois pounded the Hoosiers 80-54 in Champaign. Illinois employs a physical style of play. Indiana needs to match Illinois' intensity and keep the Fighting Illini off the offensive glass to win.
Davis needs to find someone who can shut down Illinois small forward Roger Powell, who exploded for 22 points against Indiana in the loss. A.J. Moye matches up well against the 6'6 Powell, who is too big for Indiana's guards to defend. Davis should consider inserting Moye in the lineup early in the game to check Powell. Playing Moye at small forward also will help Indiana rebound.
Moye Carries Indiana To Win
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