Indiana's comeback year ends with loss to Kentucky

By Paul Newberry

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 24 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Davis sat for the final 14:05 of the half, the Wildcats not wanting to take any chance on their best player picking up another foul. The 6-foot-10 center had two early blocks, but Indiana altered its offensive philosophy when he went to the bench. The Hoosiers started pounding the ball inside without fear of having it swatted away — especially Watford.

The hero of the first game had 17 points by halftime, including a short jumper with 3½ minutes left that capped a 21-10 stretch pushing the Hoosiers into the lead. Coach John Calipari quickly called a timeout with his team trailing 43-39, and Teague slammed the ball in frustration.

It was just a minor blip.

Miller hit a jumper, Indiana's Tom Prichard botched a left-handed dunk, and the Wildcats raced the other way, tying it up just like that on Jones' tip-in. They led 50-47 at the half and never surrendered their advantage the rest of the way.

Davis wasn't completely out of the loop. He also had three blocks, including an emphatic stuffing of Zeller when the Indiana big man tried to go under the basket and flip it in backhanded. Davis reached out his right hand and squashed the ball out of bounds.

He looks to have an even bigger impact against Baylor.

"This game is over," Davis said. "I have to just block it out and go on to Sunday's game."

Indiana had hoped for some more magic at the Georgia Dome, where they capped a surprising run to the championship game in 2002 before losing to Maryland.

After that, the Hoosiers fell on hard times. Really hard times. The scandalous regime of Kelvin Sampson left a massive rebuilding job for Crean, whose first three years were downright hideous — 28-66 overall, 8-46 in the Big Ten, a stunning fall for a program of Indiana's stature.

Kentucky felt right at home in "Cat-lanta," a frequent site of the Southeastern Conference tournament. The Georgia Dome is hosting the Final Four in 2013, and the Wildcats view it as merely a stopping-off point this year on the way to their ultimate goal.

Calipari arrived in the Bluegrass State three years ago with a one-and-done philosophy — sign a bunch of the best high schools players every season, even if you know most of 'em are bound for the NBA after their freshman year.

It produced a regional final in 2010 and a trip to the Final Four last year.

This time, nothing less than cutting down the nets after the last game will do.

Said Kidd-Gilchrist, "This is a good team."

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

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