March 15, 2007
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Kelvin Sampson's players bought into his no-nonsense system after hearing the first-year Indiana coach tell them again and again it eventually would pay off.
How about a second-round NCAA tournament date with Pac-10 champion UCLA as proof?
Roderick Wilmont scored 22 points and hit six of his team's nine 3-pointers, and the Hoosiers avenged a loss to Gonzaga last March with a 70-57 victory Thursday night in a West Regional matchup pitted as one of the top first-round games in the tournament.
Wilmont shot 8-for-16 and also added seven rebounds, three assists and a steal to extend his senior season for seventh-seeded Indiana (21-10), which was eliminated by the Zags 90-80 in a second-round meeting a year ago.
The scrappy Hoosiers, with their signature candy cane warmup pants and blue-collar swagger, have rarely played pretty basketball in the process to get this far - yet they showed none of that matters now. They're alive for another game, snapping the Zags' streak of four straight years winning their NCAA opener.
Band members chanted "Kelvin Sampson! Kelvin Sampson!" as the clocked ticked away in the final minute.
Indiana leading scorer D.J. White, who missed last year's loss to Gonzaga because of a broken left foot, scored all but two of his 16 points in the second half as the Hoosiers quickly took control and built on their 34-29 lead at the break.
David Pendergraft had 12 points and five rebounds and Sean Mallon 11 points and six boards for 10th-seeded Gonzaga (23-11), which missed too many easy scoring chances and went one-and-out in its ninth straight NCAA appearance.
Gonzaga's Derek Raivio, who came in averaging a team-best 18.2 points, faced tight pressure on the perimeter all game and finished with 12 points on 4-for-10 shooting and four assists in the final college game for the senior guard. He did not show nearly the emotion that do-everything star Adam Morrison did a year ago in the team's heartbreaking 73-71 regional semifinal loss to UCLA - and ultimately his collegiate farewell before bolting to the NBA - when he lay sprawled across midcourt in Oakland.