Freshman Eric Anderson scored 24 points as the Indiana Hoosiers crushed Texas El Paso, 92-69, in the second round of the West Regional at Tucson despite having three of their starters on the bench for much of the first half.
Indiana’s Bob Knight, coaching his 700th collegiate game, said Anderson’s first-half shooting was crucial.
“We needed some offense and Eric is the best combination of our inside and outside players,” Knight said. “We took a bit of a chance . . . but the kid really came through for us.”
Guard Joe Hillman, one of three starters in early foul trouble, said the difference was depth.
“We played awfully well today, especially the first 10 minutes,” said Hillman, former Glendale Hoover star. “Then we got some guys in foul trouble but the guys off the bench did a great job. That might have been the key to the game.”
UTEP Coach Don Haskins, a close friend of Knight, said the Hoosiers thoroughly outplayed the Miners.
“Inside they had their way. Outside they had their way,” Haskins said. “We got kicked on the boards. We just got beat in every way. We were never in it. We never did anything to make me believe we were in the game.”
The eighth-ranked Hoosiers (27-7) will play No. 11 Seton Hall in the West Regional semifinals Thursday at Denver.
Jay Edwards, who played only 7 1/2 minutes in the first half, finished with 17. Todd Jadlow added 14 and Hillman 12.
UTEP (26-7) was led by Tim Hardaway with 20 points. Greg Foster scored 18 and reserve Mark McCall 12.
Indiana, which had beaten UTEP by 18 points at Bloomington early in the season, took control of the rematch early by scoring the first seven points.
Edwards got his third foul with 12:28 left in the first half and Indiana leading, 17-8. But Anderson picked up the Indiana offense with 10 first-half points, making five of eight shots.
Edwards, Jadlow and Hillman spent most of the first half on the bench, but Anderson and the Indiana reserves were able to take a 45-31 lead.
The Hoosiers’ defense, meanwhile, slowed Hardaway and the Miners’ fast tempo game to a walk and forced one errant shot after another.
Hardaway, who had scored 31 Friday in the Miners’ first-round victory over LSU, was three for 10 at halftime. Prince Stewart, the other half of the UTEP backcourt that carried the Miners in the final month of the season, finished with three points.
Indiana outscored the Miners, 14-2, to start the second half, ending any hopes of a UTEP comeback. The second of Edwards’ consecutive three-pointers made it 59-33 with 16:27 left.
UTEP shot 42% and was two of 18 from three-point range. Hardaway made two of six three-pointers and Stewart missed all six attempts.
Seton Hall 87, Evansville 73--The Pirates, seeded third in the West Regional, blew all but one point of a 14-point led, then held Evansville scoreless for the final 5:06 to win easily.
Seton Hall (28-6), reaching the round of 16 for the first time, will face Indiana.
Seton Hall Coach P.J. Carlesimo said: “We’re a confident team. Sometimes that’s bad. But they don’t think they’re going to lose.
“We did a good job at the end of the game. The 10 minutes before that almost killed us.”
Seton Hall led, 74-60, before Evansville, led by Reed Crafton, ran off 13 consecutive points to pull within one, 74-73. But a three-pointer by Andrew Gaze and a layup by Gerald Greene turned it around for Seton Hall.
“We got caught in a situation where we went bad,” Carlesimo said. “We had some subs in there. We turned the ball over and we got ourselves in trouble.
“We kept slipping until we got some of the starters back in there.”
The Pirates scored 11 straight after leading, 49-41, at halftime, including Daryll Walker’s three layups and a dunk. The Pirates seemingly had control. But Carlesimo knew better.
“They’re too good of a team to hold down,” he said.
With Evansville trailing, 74-60, the Aces’ Scott Haffner made a layup and Crafton made a three-pointer, then forced a steal to set up a Haffner three-pointer.
Crafton made another three-pointer and stole the ball again, then made two free throws at 5:06 after being intentionally fouled, to pull within one.
Evansville’s Scott Shreffler missed a three-point shot, and Seton Hall adjusted.
“We let them come back too quickly and we got rattled,” Carlesimo said. He said he told his team during a timeout, “It’s a four-minute game now; let’s win it.”
Gaze made his three-pointer as Seton Hall kept possession after John Morton missed two free throws, and Gerald Greene followed with a layup.
“There aren’t too many teams that let a 19-point lead get away and be hanging by your fingernails and come back,” Carlesimo said.