9:00 PM ET, December 3, 2002
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Maryland's Steve Blake thought he had beaten Indiana again.
Indiana coach Mike Davis, right, and Maryland coach Gary Williams, left, discuss Steve Blake's 55-footer after the buzzer with the officials.
What a special environment and incredible game at Conseco Fieldhouse on Tuesday night! It's only early December, but the intensity for the Indiana-Maryland matchup was truly special. In the end, senior guard Tom Coverdale would not allow the Hoosiers to lose to the defending champs.
''I was hoping,'' Coverdale said. ''I didn't think it counted at first, but you never know. I was just relieved we got another chance to play in overtime.''For much of the game, it looked like almost an exact replay of April's title game, right down to Indiana taking a two-point lead midway through the second half. Indiana again relied on its outside shooting and struggled, making only 29.9 percent from the field. Maryland used inside power and got 20 points and 16 rebounds from Ryan Randle. The difference this time, though, was Coverdale. Hobbled by a badly sprained left ankle in April, Coverdale scored just eight points. On Tuesday, he was healthy at his best. Coverdale was 8-of-16 from the field, including 5-of-10 from 3-point range, and he was 9-of-10 at the free throw line. He rallied the Hoosiers from a 14-point first-half deficit, and when the game went to overtime, he helped settle down Indiana. Maryland had its chances. The Terrapins regained the lead 50-48 with 8:18 left when Travis Garrison put in a 7-foot leaner. They led the rest of regulation and were still up 68-67 after Coverdale's 3-pointer with 28 seconds left. But Jeff Newton, who finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds, forced a tieup on the inbounds pass. Maryland got the ball back after Coverdale's driving layup was blocked and went off an Indiana player. Indiana's Marshall Strickland stole the inbounds pass and fed Kline who drew the foul and tied it up. In overtime, Maryland took a 72-69 lead, but Coverdale helped settle down the Hoosiers. Kline made two of four free throws and Newton's putback with 2:31 to go gave Indiana a 73-72 lead. Kline made a layup, Strickland a 3-pointer and Kline two more free throws to seal the win. ''Whenever you sit around all summer and think about you're 11 minutes away from a national championship and that's all you think about, of course, it's going to mean something extra,'' Coverdale said. ''I'm real happy with this win.''