LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Indiana University basketball fans came here by the hundreds last week, many of them bemoaning the preseason effort of their beloved Hoosiers and not very hopeful of their team's chances in the Maui Invitational.
fTC Asked about a possible second-round matchup against seventh-ranked Maryland, one ardent supporter said, "Forget Maryland. I don't think we're going to beat Utah the way we played in those two exhibition games."
Talk about knowing one's team. Despite leading by nine points in the second half, the 11th-ranked Hoosiers were inconsistent on offense and uncharacteristically soft on defense. The result was a stunning 77-72 upset by the Utes before a raucous pro-Indiana crowd.
Led by Keith Van Horn, last year's WAC Freshman of the Year, and junior college transfer Brandon Jessie, Utah scored on 18 of its last 20 possessions, including the last 11 in a row. Jessie led Utah with 23 points, and Van Horn overcame a slow start to finish with 15.
"Our guys made some plays," said Utah coach Rick Majerus, who got a handshake from his good buddy, Indiana coach Bob Knight, as well as an apology from the P.A. announcer who had mispronounced his last name during pre-game introductions. "We got the ball into the hands of the right players at the right time and Keith came out of his funk."
After getting called for two quick personals, Van Horn spent most of the first half on the bench and didn't get his first field goal until 11:13 remained in the game. But the Hoosiers, despite taking a four-point lead at halftime and a 46-37 lead with 16:03 remaining, couldn't take advantage of the young Utes.
With a chance to go ahead by double digits, Indiana watched as All-American Alan Henderson blew a wide-open layup. It seemed to give Utah new life, and a revitalized Van Horn fueled his team's comeback. A three-point shot by the 6-foot-10 sophomore tied the game at 55 with 8:17 left and his baseline drive with three minutes left put Utah ahead for good, 65-63.
"I thought we'd have a tough time containing Van Horn and he was really, really good for them the last 10 to 12 minutes," said Knight. "We didn't necessarily think we'd win, nor did we think we wouldn't win. We knew it was going to be a tough game."
So did many Indiana fans, especially one in particular.
INDIANA -- Evans 4-14 8-9 17, Henderson 11-16 4-6 26, Lindeman 2-4 1-4 5, Hart 0-8 0-1 0, Knight 1-2 0-0 2, Patterson 5-7 2-2 12, Hermon 1-2 0-0 2, Miller 3-3 2-4 8, Reed 0-0 0-2 0, Eggers 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 27-56 17-30 72.
UTAH -- Van Horn 4-8 6-6 15, Ma 0-4 0-0 0, Melmeth 5-6 1-2 11, Preston 2-3 1-2 7, Jessie 8-15 5-6 23, Jensen 2-5 2-4 6, Carroll 0-5 0-0 0, Doleac 5-10 3-3 13, Hansen 1-2 0-0 2, Hunt 0-0 0-0 0, Chapman 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 27-59 18-23 77.
Halftime--Indiana, 36-32. 3-point goals--I 1-7 (Evans 1-5, Patterson Hermon 0-1); U 5-15 (Preston 2-2, Jessie 2-4, Van Horn 1-3, Ma 0-1, Hansen 0-1, Carroll 0-4). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--I 32 (Henderson 10); U 32 (Van Horn 7). Assists--I 13 (Evans, Knight 4); U 13 (Carroll 4). Total fouls--I 19, U 26. A--2,500.
Ariz. State 103, Texas A&M; 73
Mario Bennett was 12-for-13 from the field and scored 27 points to lead Arizona State past Texas A&M; in the opening round of the Maui Invitational. Bennett, a 6-9 junior, dominated inside, scoring mainly on dunks and layups.
The Sun Devils will play the winner of last night's Michigan-Tulane game in today's semifinals.
If No. 13 Michigan wins, it would mark the first time Arizona State coach Bill Frieder faced the school he coached from 1981-89, leaving before the 1989 NCAA tournament, which Michigan and Steve Fisher won.