ATLANTA (Ticker) -- Home is where the hoops were for Jeff Newton.
An Atlanta native, Newton scored a career-high 19 points as Indiana advanced to the national championship game for the first time since 1987 with a 73-64 victory over Oklahoma.
Indiana (25-11) will face Maryland on Monday night at the Georgia Dome. Newton was the key, making 7-of-10 shots off the bench to pick up the slack for leading scorer Jared Jeffries, who was plagued by foul trouble.
"Newton was big," Indiana coach Mike Davis said. "That's probably the best game I've seen Jeff play." "Part of my plan is to just go out there and play aggressive," Newton added. "Tonight I could do a little bit of scoring." The Hoosiers improved to 12-2 in the Final Four and are 5-0 all-time in title games.
Oklahoma (31-5) scored seven straight points and forged a 60-60 tie with 3:26 remaining on Daryan Selvy's layup. But Selvy missed a 1-and-1 opportunity 27 seconds later that would have given the Sooners the lead.
The Hoosiers went inside to Newton, who scored an easy basket to put Indiana ahead for good. Oklahoma misfired on its next possession and Indiana freshman Donald Perry scored on an uncontested layup for a four-point cushion.
Newton added two free throws with 1:45 remaining and Kyle Hornsby made 1-of-2 for a 67-60 advantage.
"When it got to 60-60, I thought we'd win the game," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. "The big possessions, big plays down the stretch, they made them and we didn't." Aaron McGhee scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds but fouled out with 4:40 remaining for Oklahoma. The Sooners' backcourt of Hollis Price and Quannas White combined for six points on 1-of-16 shooting.
"I just wanted to keep in front of him," Indiana guard Dane Fife said of Price. "I wanted to make him go right. I think he missed a few open shots." Indiana again was on target from beyond the arc. It made 15-of-19 3-pointers in a victory over Kent State in the South Region final and canned 8-of-13 against the Sooners, including all six tries in the second half.
Oklahoma was a woeful 2-of-18 from beyond the arc as Price and Ebi Ere combined for 10 misses.
"We went 2-for-18 from the three tonight. That's a little disappointing," Sampson said. "The 15-for-19 was no fluke. They're an excellent 3-point shooting team." Jeffries scored 11 points and Tom Coverdale -- playing with a severely sprained ankle -- was limited to three. The Hoosiers' bench picked up the slack, led by Newton's huge effort.
A.J. Moye, another Atlanta native, scored nine points before leaving late in the game with a hamstring injury. Donald Perry, who was criticized earlier this season for his poor ballhandling, responded with huge minutes in place of Coverdale. He scored 10 of the Indiana bench's 41 points.
"He's (Newton) been outstanding the whole tournament," Fife said. "Our three guys off the bench, Newton, A.J. Moye and Donald Perry, they are probably the reason why we are where we are." McGhee dominated early with six points as Oklahoma took a 13-7 lead. Ere's pull-up jumper gave the Sooners their largest advantage at 17-9 with 9:56 remaining in the first half.
A dunk by George Leach gave Indiana a 26-24 lead before Oklahoma responded with a 10-1 run. The Sooners went ahead 34-27 on a basket by Ere, but Jarrad Odle drilled a 3-pointer just before halftime to give the Hoosiers some momentum.
While Indiana heated up in the second half, Oklahoma never found the range. Price made just 1-of-11 shots and made his way to the free-throw line for four attempts.
"Fife did a great job," Price said. "He was so physical. Tonight I didn't overcome it." Ere was the only other Sooner in double figures with 15 points. Oklahoma had a 14-0 advantage in second-chance points, thanks to 16 offensive rebounds. But the Sooners' bench, thought to be an advantage, made just 4-of-18 shots for 12 points.
The win continued Davis' rise in the national spotlight away from the formidable shadow of former coach Bob Knight. Knight also went to the Final Four in his second season at Indiana but lost in the semifinals.
"Indiana's a great program, a great school," Davis said. "It's bigger than anyone. I had to get myself to realize that no matter what people say, it's no problem." .