Panthers overwhelm Hoosiers for Sweet 16 berth


BOSTON (AP) -- Pittsburgh has a Steel Curtain defense again,
thanks to coach Ben Howland.

His Panthers completely wore down Indiana in a 74-52 victory
Sunday to reach the round of 16 for the second consecutive year.

Pitt didn't have much basketball tradition before Howland
arrived, so he had to find his inspiration elsewhere in the city's
sporting lore.

"Pittsburgh Steelers basketball," Howland called it after
becoming the school's most successful NCAA Tournament coach with
four wins.

"We're not tall. We're burly. We want kids that are tough.
That's what wins."

Jaron Brown scored 20 points, and Brandin Knight added 17 points
and seven assists for second-seeded Pittsburgh, which will play No.
3 seed Marquette in the Midwest Regional semifinals Thursday in

Knight also had five steals, and Chevon Troutman grabbed nine
rebounds to go with his 10 points as the Panthers (28-4) did most
of their damage on defense.

Drawing on the Steel Curtain defense that brought the city four
Super Bowl titles in the 1970s, Howland used a bulky frontcourt
rotation of Ontario Lett, Donatas Zavackas and Troutman.

Listed at an average of 6-foot-7 and 246 pounds -- but probably
heavier -- they pushed around Indiana's taller but spindly George
Leach (6-foot-11, 240) and Jeff Newton (6-9, 225).

Indiana (21-13) trailed by one before going scoreless for the
last 6:33 of the first half, committing five turnovers during that span while missing five shots -- mostly long, contested 3-point
attempts. At the same time, Brown had a blocked shot and a
3-pointer, and Knight added two steals and a pair of 3s to give
Pitt a 31-21 halftime lead.

Indiana, a seventh seed, had a similar stumble at a similar time
of its opening-round game against Alabama before overcoming an
11-point halftime deficit to beat the Crimson Tide 67-62.

This time, the deficit was more than a temporary setback for the
Hoosiers (21-13), who lost in the championship game to Maryland
last year.

"It's hard to think back right now," senior Tom Coverdale said
when asked to assess his career. "I'm just thinking about what we
could have done."

Bracey Wright, who scored all of his 17 points in the second
half against Alabama, had nine of his 11 in the second against Pitt
-- not enough. Coverdale, who led Indiana with 23 in the first
round, had just six points on seven shots against Julius Page's

"He's probably the best defender I've faced in my whole
career," Coverdale said. "I knew he was a good defender, but I
didn't realize he was that quick and athletic. He sees what's going
to happen before it happens."

Leach scored 15, and Wright added eight rebounds for the
Hoosiers, but they also turned the ball over 16 times for 18 Pitt
points and got outrebounded 28-17.

It was the 11th consecutive victory for Pitt and the sixth time
in seven games that the Big East champions held an opponent under
60 points. The only exception was an 87-61 first-round victory over

"Not one guy over there cares who scores. That's the point
we've got to get back to as a team," said Indiana coach Mike
Davis, who blistered his players for being selfish and listening to
"outside influences ... telling them how good they are."

Indiana trailed just 22-21 when Brown and Knight each hit a
3-pointer to make it a seven-point game. Brown blocked Wright's
shot with 3:08 left in the half, then Knight stole the ball from
Wright and hit another 3 to make it 31-21 heading into the break.

Indiana cut it to four in the second when Wright took a long
pass for a layup and a foul; he missed the free throw, but got the
rebound and scored in the lane to make it 36-32 with 15:17 left.

Indiana was within seven before Brown dunked to make it 52-43
with 6:49 left, then Page stole the ball at the other end. He hit a
3-pointer to give the Panthers a 12-point lead, and it was never
within single digits again.