#13/14 Indiana Visits Illinois
Feb. 5, 2008
#13/14 Indiana (18-3, 7-1 Big Ten) at Illinois (10-13, 2-8 Big Ten)
The Opening Tip
The Indiana men's basketball team is ranked 13th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 14th by AP and will look to remain among the Big Ten leaders when it visits Illinois. Indiana is coming of a 75-63 win at home over Northwestern, while Illinois dropped an 83-75 contest at home to Purdue. The Hoosiers' 7-1 conference mark is the best for an IU squad since 2001-02, when Indiana also opened league play 7-1. IU joins Wisconsin, and Purdue as the only one-loss teams in the Big Ten.The Hoosiers will be looking to post its first win at Illinois since 1999, which also was the last time Indiana captured both regular season meetings. Earlier this year, Indiana rallied for a 62-58 win at home against the Illini on January 13. The Hoosiers boast the top two scorers in the conference in freshman Eric Gordon (21.8) and senior D.J. White (17.5). White also leads the league in and is ninth in the nation in rebounds, averaging 10.7. He shares Big Ten Player of the week honors with Purdue's E'Twaun Moore. It is the fourth time this season that White has earned the honor from the conference. Both White and Gordon are among the top 30 midseason candidates for the Wooden and Naismith Awards. Illinois enters the game with a 10-13 overall record and a 2-8 conference ledger.
Two-time National Coach of the Year Kelvin Sampson was named the 26th head coach in Indiana University history on March 29, 2006 and is in his second year with the Hoosiers and 25th as a collegiate head coach. He has notched 16 20-plus win seasons and is 494-271 (.646), which ranks 20th in victories among active NCAA Division I coaches. He is 39-14 (.736) in two seasons and won his first 27 games at Assembly Hall, surpassing Branch McCracken who previously held the record for most consecutive wins at home to start a career with 25 from 1938-41. Both of Sampson's Hoosier teams have been nationally ranked. This year, the Hoosiers were ranked as high as seventh in the country (AP), while last year, they climbed to #19. He is 2-2 all-time against the Illini and each of the last three meetings have been decided by four points. Coach Bruce Weber is in his fifth year with Illinois and is 122-41.
Coach Sampson On Bob Knight
"He's a giant," Sampson says. "Directly or indirectly, he's probably influenced more coaches (than anyone else), especially guys my age. There are Hall of Famers, and there are Hall of Famers and I'm not so sure there are many on the same shelf as he is."
Last Time Against Illinois
Indiana went on a 15-4 run midway through the second half and Armon Bassett sank a pair of free throws with two seconds left as the 10th-ranked Hoosiers escaped with a 62-58 win over Illinois at Assembly Hall.
With Illinois trailing 60-58 with 33 seconds to play, Demetri McCamey pulled down the rebound off Bassett's missed jumper. After the Illini called a timeout with 25 seconds on the clock, McCamey's layup attempt was swatted away by A.J. Ratliff, but Illinois came up with the rebound and a chance to take the lead.
Brian Randle was off the mark with his three-point attempt at eight seconds, but Randle corralled his own rebound before Ratliff came up with a steal at three ticks on the clock. He dished off to Bassett who was immediately fouled and was perfect on his only trip to the charity stripe.
D.J. White recorded his fourth-straight double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Eric Gordon led all scorers with 17 points, spurred by an 8-for-10 performance at the free throw line. Indiana shot just 38 percent (19-49) for the game, just the second time it has dipped below 40 percent for the season.
After missing the Michigan and most of the Iowa game due to injury, Bassett contributed 11 points in 18 minutes of action. He was 3 of 4 from the three-point, including a trey with 1:40 left in the game that gave the Hoosiers a 60-55 lead. All 11 of Bassett's points came in the second half.
The Illini opened up a 37-30 lead at the outset of the second half before Gordon drove in the lane at the 17:39 mark for just his second basket of the afternoon.
A three from A.J. Ratliff put IU back within one at 31-30 with just over a minute to go, but the Illini responded with their own three from McCamey for a 34-30 halftime advantage.
Indiana improved to 106-43 against the Wildcats, including wins in four consecutive contests. The Hoosiers have not lost to Northwestern at home since Jan. 13, 1968.
Indiana is now 18-3 on the season and 7-1 in the Big Ten. The 18-3 start is the best since the 1992-93 Big Ten Championship team opened 24-3, while the 7-1 mark is the best since the 2001-02 squad opened with an identical 7-1 conference record.
Indiana jumped out to an early 5-0 lead and never trailed in the contest. It is the seventh time this season that the Hoosiers have led wire to wire and the first time in Big Ten play.
The Hoosiers dominated the boards in the game, particularly holding an edge in the offensive end. Indiana held a 17-6 edge in rebounds at halftime, including 10 on the offensive glass. IU ended the game with a 39-17 edge in rebounds, as the Hoosiers had 18 boards on offense. Northwestern's 17 rebounds in the game were a season-low for a Hoosier opponent.
Indiana's performance on the offensive glass led to a large disparity in second-chance points in IU's favor. Indiana outscored the Wildcats 18-3 in that department.
Ahead 52-50 with 11:44 to play, the Hoosiers put together a 14-2 run to pull away from the Wildcats and mount a 66-52 lead with 4:10 remaining.
Indiana is now 30-1 when scoring 70 points in Kelvin Sampson's tenure and improved to 27-5 when outrebounding its opposition. IU is 29-3 when holding a halftime lead over the last two seasons.
D.J. White had his 14th double-double in 17 contests for the Hoosiers, scoring 26 points and adding 13 rebounds. His 26 points were a career best in Big Ten play. White went 9-for-11 from the field and 8-for-11 from the free-throw line. He added a pair of blocks in 38 minutes of action.
Eric Gordon started red hot for the Hoosiers, hitting his first three 3-pointers of the game. He finished the game 8-for-14, 6-for-10 from the outside, for 29 points. He added four rebounds, four assists and two steals for IU.
Jamarcus Ellis, one of the conference leaders in defensive rebounds, had one of his finest games on the offensive glass, grabbing six boards on the offensive end. He finished with seven rebounds, four assists and four points for Indiana.
Armon Bassett had seven points, six assists and three rebounds for Indiana. The assist total was the highest for Bassett in a conference game since last year's contest at Northwestern, when he finished with nine.
Kyle Taber made his first career start for the Hoosiers and played a career-high 24 minutes, grabbing one rebound. Taber had previously played just one minute in conference action this season.
Brandon McGee played the final minute and knocked down his only shot, a 3-pointer.
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