The Indiana Hoosiers have won three straight basketball games in the Big Ten now, but Ted Kitchel is not looking forward to the rest of the season.
"I hate making these stretch drives every year," said the junior forward.
Kitchel remembers last year, when the Hoosiers stayed in the middle of the standings for most of the season--then made a mad dash to win the league championship and, eventually, the NCAA title.
The Hoosiers seem to be following that slow-start, fast-finish pattern this year. They were 5-4 in the Big Ten not long ago and now are 8-4 on the strength of the last three victories, which included Saturday's 73-58 rout of league leader Iowa (10-2).
Kitchel and freshman Winston Morgan have played major roles in Indiana's resurgence. Kitchel has scored 67 points in Indiana's past two games, including 33 against Iowa. Morgan has started the past three games for the Hoosiers, becoming an immediate inside threat.
"Coach (Bobby Knight) told me he wanted me to get the ball inside because nobody else was getting it consistently in there," said Morgan, who led Indiana with eight rebounds and had 12 points Saturday.
Knight said he felt Iowa was still "in the driver's seat" in the conference race. "Where we are will matter only when the conference is over," said Knight, who has used 10 starting lineups this season.
In another upset Saturday, Houston beat No. 8 Arkansas, 55-53. The result left five Southwest Conference teams with a chance to win the title--Arkansas, Texas A&M, Texas Christian, Baylor and Houston.
In late night games, No. 6 Oregon State routed Oregon, 94-51, to take sole possession of first place in the Pac-10; No. 17 San Francisco needed a double overtime to beat San Diego, 75-69; No. 18 Fresno State routed Cal-Irvine, 71-58, and No. 19 Washington beat Stanford, 53-52.
Early in the day, Craig Robinson converted a rebound into a basket at the final buzzer as top-ranked Virginia (24-1) eased by Clemson. Robinson had spent much of the game on the bench after committing his fourth personal foul and a technical early in the second half. He then redeemed himself by stripping a rebound from Clemson's Fred Gilliam and making the winning shot.
In other Washington-area games, 20th-ranked Georgetown overwhelmed Southern University--which committed nine turnovers in its first 20 possessions--84-48; American University extended its winning streak to 11 games with an 81-73 victory at Towson State; Howard defeated Western Illinois, 77-76, as Bison guard Rodney Wright made two foul shots with 14 seconds left; George Washington was held scoreless for six minutes in the second half and lost to Rutgers, 51-45, and Ronnie McAdoo's 18 points led Old Dominion over Navy, 81-55.