No. 13 Indiana Overpowers Western Carolina, 100-52
Dec. 15, 2007
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Eric Gordon went right back to being himself Saturday.
Twelve days after bruising his tailbone on a hard fall and missing a game, Gordon returned to the Indiana lineup and looked like he had never taken a day off.
He made his first five 3-pointers, finished with 26 points and fell four points short of breaking yet another Hoosiers freshman record while leading No. 13 Indiana to a 100-52 rout of Western Carolina.
"I don't think he practiced from that Monday he got hurt until the following Tuesday," coach Kelvin Sampson said. "The thing I've noticed is that Eric practices hard. He's a hard worker. He got a little winded out there, which is a good thing. I like kids that get tired, if you know what I mean."
At times, Gordon did appear fatigued. He needed a respite midway through the first half and wound up playing just 29 minutes.
But when paired with forward D.J. White, Indiana (9-1) had a one-two scoring punch that simply overwhelmed the Catamounts (3-6).
White finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes, his sixth straight double-double. And with White manning the inside and Gordon taking care of the perimeter, Indiana looked every bit as dominant as the scoreboard indicated. Freshman Jordan Crawford also had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.
Gordon, the Big Ten's leading scorer, topped 20 points for the eighth time this season and came within two baskets of breaking Mike Woodson's freshman mark for most 30-point games in a season (three).
"I felt fine," Gordon said. "My back feels about 95 percent, maybe 100, and I don't feel no pain at all."
The same could not be said of Western Carolina, which struggled in almost every facet.
It shot 34.5 percent from the field, committed 24 fouls and 21 turnovers and was outrebounded 50-24.
More troubling was the lack of a supporting cast. Michael Porrini scored 20 points and Arnold Gore 16, but no other Western Carolina player had more than six. In fact, until Jake Robinson completed a three-point play with 3:49 left in the first half, no other Catamount had scored.
"It certainly wasn't a lot of fun to sit through," Western Carolina coach Larry Hunter said. "Physically, at times, we were overmatched, and at times I didn't think we competed the way we had to compete."
How lopsided was it?
Western Carolina needed nearly 12 minutes just to match Gordon's 15-point flurry in the first nine minutes, had backup forward Richie Gordon foul out with 12:15 left and spent most of the final 10 minutes defending against Indiana's least-used players.
Plus, Indiana still wasn't at full strength, as freshman forward Eli Holman sat out with an injured left wrist.
Next week, the Hoosiers expect senior swingman A.J. Ratliff to rejoin the rotation.
It hardly mattered Saturday.
Gordon had no trouble with his shooting touch, finishing 8-of-13 and 6-of-11 from 3-point range, and the Hoosiers had no problem getting back in sync with their dazzling freshman.
"I don't have to work as hard with guards like Eric and Jordan (Crawford) out there," White said.
White opened the game with back-to-back three-point plays, an ominous sign of what was to come for the Catamounts.
By halftime, Indiana had already strung together runs of 8-0, 8-0, 11-0 and 7-0, then used a 15-0 spurt early in the second half to close out their 24th consecutive home victory. That's the fourth longest streak in the country, and Sampson is now 22-0 at Assembly Hall since taking over as coach last season.
Western Carolina never seriously challenged. Indiana led by as much as 51 in the second half, matched its highest point total in the Sampson era and let Gordon work his magic again.
"I thought we did a lot of good things tonight, and we got a lot of good minutes," Sampson said. "D.J. has really set a high standard for himself being consistent, and Eric played with great energy. The silver lining in losing Eric was that he got a chance to rest because he was playing almost 40 minutes a game before he got hurt."
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