CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- In the first 20 minutes at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday night, IU couldn't miss from beyond the three-point arc. \nMeanwhile, North Carolina\'s Kris Lang couldn't miss from inside the paint. \nOh what a difference a halftime break can make. A difference of minimal consequence, that is. \nIU used its three-point barrage (nine threes) to take a 40-30 halftime lead, then reverted to inside scoring in the second half (zero threes) to put away UNC 79-66 in front of 18,358 baby-blue clad fans, extending the Tar Heels' Smith Center losing streak to four games, an unprecedented mark. \nSophomore guard A.J. Moye led IU with 20 points. Junior Tom Coverdale came off the bench to score 17, and sophomore Jared Jeffries, who played only 12 minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, chipped in with 11.\n"It really helped us grow up," IU coach Mike Davis said of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge victory. "I think we're a good basketball team. We're not a great, great team, but we come out and play hard."\nIU needed the aggression early, thanks to Lang, who torched IU's man-to-man defense for 18 points. IU used three players - juniors Jarrad Odle and Jeff Newton and sophomore George Leach - to contain Lang, but couldn't until the second half, when the Hoosiers switched to a 2-3 zone. Lang still scored a game-high 27, but IU forced UNC to shoot from outside, which the Tar Heels haven't done well all season.\n"Kris Lang took the game on his shoulders," UNC coach Matt Doherty said.\nAll the while, Davis was watching. Finally, upon some advice from a friend who coaches in the Alabama high school ranks, Davis made the move to the zone.\n"Kris Lang was unstoppable," Davis said. "I thought I was a smart coach, but that was a dumb move of me to play man-to-man. (Lang) was too strong for George Leach."\nToo strong, but not too quick. \nLeach scored six second-half points and blocked four shots to help IU stretch its lead in the second half. The Hoosiers began the half with six of the first eight points, fought off a Tar Heel rally, then used a patient offense to widen the gap to 17 with just less than six minutes remaining. \nFrom there, IU continued to play tight defense and sank 9 of 12 free throws in the final five minutes to preserve the victory. \nUNC (0-3) had not started a season with back-to-back home losses since the 1920's. Now, it has a three-game skid on its hand, something it never did last season on the way to the ACC championship.\n"I'm proud of this team's effort," Doherty said of UNC. "(IU) hit some really tough shots. Coverdale hit some 25-footers in the first half. He played fantastic and George Leach blocked some big shots."\nDoherty's 2-3 zone in the first half didn't come close to stopping IU, which hit nine of 17 three-pointers. In the same span, IU hit only four two-point field goals. \nMoye, whose established a career high with 14 points in the first half, hit four threes, and Coverdale hit three to spearhead the charge. \nDavis employed the same starting lineup he used against Texas at the Great Alaska Shootout, bringing Coverdale and juniors Kyle Hornsby and Newton off the bench.\nHis solution worked again.\nIU opened the game with three consecutive three-pointers and a runner from senior Dane Fife to grab an 11-2 lead and quiet the baby-blue faithful. After a 7-0 UNC run cut IU's lead to two, the teams exchanged buckets until the seven-minute mark, when a four-point play from Tar Heel guard Jackie Manuel sliced IU's lead to 23-20.\nAbout 30 seconds later, IU went back to work - behind the three-point line. IU finished the half with five straight three-point bombs. From the 6:30-mark until the break, all IU did was shoot - and hit - three pointers.\n"We knew coming in they were going to play a zone, and we had to shoot them out of it," Coverdale said.\nIU did, while forcing 18 turnovers (12 in the first half) and holding Lang's partner in crime, senior Jason Capel, to four of 15 shooting. Capel committed seven turnovers in the first half. \n"My goal was to go 4-2 (in the first six games, all on the road)," Davis said. "Now, we have a chance to go 5-1. We're going to get better." \n \nGame Notes: IU announced Wednesday night that the Dec. 8 match-up with Ball State in Assembly Hall will be televised state-wide on ESPN Regional (WTTV-TV Indianapolis). To accommodate for the TV coverage, tip-off has been bumped up to 2 p.m. The game was not originally scheduled to be televised … UNC hit just 5 of 19 three-pointers, making them 17 of 73 (23 percent) on the season.
Get stories like this in your inboxSubscribe