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Hoosiers Cruise By Colonials


This was the way Indiana played back when coach Bob Knight ruled the NCAA tournament.

In the highest-scoring game in their storied postseason history, the Hoosiers showed off unselfish offense and tough man-to-man defense to beat George Washington 108-88 Thursday night in the first round of the South Regional.

"We got off to a real good start," Knight said.

Freshman Kirk Haston scored 27 points despite playing with a broken left hand, and A.J. Guyton with help all over the court slowed down 5-foot-4 Shawnta Rogers, the Atlantic 10 player of the year. Rogers scored 28 points, though he shot 10-for-31 to do it.

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  • Luke Recker added 20 points as the sixth-seeded Hoosiers (23-10) moved into the second round to play third-seeded St. John's, a 69-43 winner over Samford.

    The Hoosiers had lost five of their last six tournament games, but this performance brought back memories of better days when Knight led them to three NCAA championships.

    In fact, this was even more than usual for them. Indiana broke the school scoring record in the tournament, set in a 107-90 victory over Auburn on its way to the 1987 title.

    George Washington (20-9) was denied the matchup it wanted against former coach Mike Jarvis, who left the school last year to take over St. John's. Jarvis shook hands with Rogers and several others when they came out for warmups, but the 11th-seeded Colonials needed more than merely encouragement.

    Guyton shot over Rogers for a 3-pointer that gave Indiana an 8-5 lead, starting a 15-0 burst capped by Recker's dunk. The Hoosiers led 48-31 at halftime and were never threatened the rest of the way.

    "If you get up early, the motivation is there to keep doing well," Rogers said. "We got off to a bad start."

    Haston shot 9-for-11 from the field and 9-for-10 from th foul line. He also had a game-high nine rebounds despite his injured hand.

    "It felt pretty good," he said. "I just wanted to show Coach I could play."

    He did that.

    "We debated for three days whether we would start him," Knight said. "He was favoring it in practice more than we liked, so we put him out there to see if he could go, and it worked out pretty well."

    Knight, now 42-20 overall in the tournament, had a relatively quiet night on the bench. His loudest burst came midway through the second half when he shouted to officials as they lined up a George Washington player at the foul line.

    "There's no 1-and-1," he yelled, and he was right. The officials instead gave the ball to the Colonials out of bounds.

    Knight praised Rogers throughout his news conference Wednesday, and the two met early they accidentally bumped into each other after a loose ball. Rogers felt Indiana's presence the whole evening, as Guyton and others followed him everywhere he went.

    Yegor Mescheriakov scored 24 points for the Colonials, who took a whopping 90 shots and made only 34. They were outscored 31-11 at the foul line.

    For George Washington, it was a difficult few days. Bad weather delayed their flight out of the Washington, D.C., area on Tuesday, and they arrived at the Orlando Arena late on Wednesday.

    "It was a weird week," coach Tom Penders said. "We were a step slow."

    Indiana, which had not played George Washington since 1941, won despite losing starting center Larry Richardson to back spasms early in the first half. It was the Hoosiers' highest-scoring game since a 110-79 win over Iowa in the 1994-95 season.

    After the game, Knight visited with an old friend, Tony La Russa. The St. Louis Cardinals manager was in the area after an exhibition game, and stopped in to watch the Hoosiers.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed