FOUR ON THE FLOOR PEPPERDINE SHOCKS INDIANA
Buffalo basketball fans saw the biggest upset in the first two days of the NCAA Tournament late Friday night. And it was a stunning blowout.
Pepperdine, the No. 11 seed, bolted to a 45-27 halftime lead and crushed sixth-seeded Indiana, 77-57, in the final East Region first-round game of the day before 19,338 at HSBC Arena.
Sophomore guard Brandon Armstrong poured in 18 of his 22 points in the first half as the Waves (25-8) took control and never looked back.
Pepperdine, a West Coast Conference school from Malibu, Calif., will meet Oklahoma State in the opener of Sunday afternoon's second-round doubleheader at 12:10 p.m.
Pepperdine led by as many as 29 points and the 20-point margin of defeat was the second-largest in an NCAA Tournament for longtime Indiana coach Bob Knight. His team was blown out by St.
John's, 86-61, in the second round of last year's South Regional in Orlando. The crowd serenaded Knight with chants of "Bob-by, Bob-by" in the second half.
Knight was stoic on the Indiana bench through most of the second half. At one point, he put his head down in his hands after one of the Hoosiers' 21 turnovers. After one wild shot hit the backboard, he slapped himself in the forehead.
"We just got beat badly," Knight said. "We just got pounded. They played really well."
Pepperdine has won 17 of its last 20 games. Indiana finished its season 20-9 and losers of its final three games and five of its last seven.
It's the fourth time in the last six years Knight's Hoosiers have been first-round losers in the tournament; Indiana hasn't made the Sweet 16 since 1994 and hasn't been to the Final Four since 1992.
"I think we really shocked them," Armstrong said. "We were out there with intensity and playing our game and they didn't know what to expect. I saw their faces just going down and I knew that was our time to attack."
The game was most notable for the stunning no-show of Indiana senior guard A.J. Guyton, an All-American who was the Big Ten co-player of the year. Guyton scored just three points, 17 under his average, and was 0 for 2 from the field. He didn't even attempt a field goal for the first 18 minutes as he was hounded by the Waves' defense.
In addition, Indiana starting center Kirk Haston suffered a sprained knee in a collision under the Hoosiers' basket two minutes into the game and didn't return. Haston was averaging 15.8 points and 8.6 rebounds but had just two points and no boards.
Reserve Kyle Hornsby led Indiana with 15 points.
"The difference in the way they played and the way we played leads me to believe Haston wouldn't have made any difference," Knight said.
Indiana hit just 20 of 52 from the field (9 of 31 in the first half) and was only 3 of 13 from three-point range. Pepperdine finished 28 of 64, including 9 of 31 in the first half.
Meanwhile, Pepperdine was 17 of 34 overall and 6 of 11 from behind the arc in the opening 20 minutes.
"I think the way we play is a little different than the Big Ten teams because our presses and our halfcourt traps are a little different than what Michigan State does," said Pepperdine coach Jan van Breda Kolff. "So I think our style of play is different than what they see game in and game out."
Pepperdine guard Tezale Archie collected a career-high 11 assists to spark the Waves' offense and did the defensive job on Guyton.
"It seemed like they were a step quicker than us at everything and it seemed like we were a step slow," said Guyton. "Everywhere I went, there were two guys waiting for me and a third guy waiting to help."
The Hoosiers made just 2 of their first 14 shots and were behind, 24-8, through 10 minutes.