CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Marco Killingsworth had 17 points and Robert Vaden and Marshall Strickland each made four of Indiana's 13 3-pointers as the 18th-ranked Hoosiers pulled away from Charlotte for a 71-54 victory Monday night.
Vaden finished with 14 points and Strickland added 12 as Indiana (6-2) showed little rustiness from a nine-day layoff for exams. D.J. White saw his first action of the season after sitting out the first seven games with a broken left foot, and he contributed eight points and five rebounds.
The Hoosiers lost a heartbreaker in this series last season, when Brendan Plavich made a heave from halfcourt just before the buzzer to give the 49ers a one-point victory. Of course, Indiana thought perhaps the ball left Plavich's hands after the clock had expired, making the rematch a bit more important.
The 49ers' fans wasted little time reminding their guests of that, with a sign in the student section reading, "All I need 4 X-Mas is 0.7 seconds" — the amount of time Plavich had to get off his shot.
Once the Hoosiers started making 3-pointers, however, none of that mattered.
They were 13-of-23 for the game after making 10 in the first half, leaving Charlotte (5-5) with few options on defense. Cover the perimeter and leave Killingsworth alone in the paint, or double-team down low and allow open shots from the perimeter?
In the end, the 49ers — also playing for the first time in nine days — had trouble stopping both.
The Hoosiers took control with a 24-4 run that began midway through the first half, holding the 49ers to only one basket in a span of more than 9 minutes. Killingsworth started it by putting back a miss by White before Indiana turned its attention outside.
Following a tip-in by Antwon Coleman that gave Charlotte a three-point lead, Strickland tied it with a 3-pointer, and he and his teammates hardly were done. Roderick Wilmont added one, as did Vaden, and Strickland got another to put the Hoosiers ahead 27-20.
With the 49ers struggling on both ends, the points came almost easily for Indiana. Wilmont swished a jumper from beyond the arc before Killingsworth made his third 3 of the season to increase the margin to 13. Vaden finally missed from long range, but White was there to follow it up.
Lewis Monroe finished off the brilliant spurt with a layup, and Indiana had taken a 17-point lead.
Charlotte had one rally left in the second half, and it was helped greatly when Hoosiers coach Mike Davis was called for a technical foul. Leemire Goldwire converted both free throws to cut the margin to six, and Coleman made both at the line a couple of minutes later to bring the 49ers to 50-44.
But A.J. Ratliff swished — what else? — a 3-pointer and Earl Calloway drove for an easy two points before White also scored from in close, and order was restored.
De'Angelo Alexander had 11 points for Charlotte, which shot only 27 percent. Leading scorer Curtis Withers was held to eight points, about half his average.