A deep D.J. White 3-pointer- yes, D.J. White- makes it 31-27 Indiana. It was D.J.’s first career 3-pointer on three attempts, and it was about the only exciting play from a sluggish first period.
Indiana isn’t playing particularly well. Eric Gordon has three turnovers. Jordan Crawford, who hit a deep 3-point bomb early, missed his next four. Lance Stemler missed both attempts from long range. The Hoosiers aren’t really playing with much enthusiasm tonight, and its seemingly affecting the crowd as well. The loudest cheer until White’s buzzer-beater was when D.J. was announced before the game for Senior Night.
They didn’t have much success against Minnesota’s zone. As they have several times throughout this season, they were forced to settle for one-on-one plays or long 3-pointers from Gordon. And Gordon just isn’t the same long-range threat as he was earlier in the season, perhaps due to his wrist injury.
We’ll see if the second half will be any different.
INDIANA 31, MINNESOTA 27 (HALF)
Come out of a time out and with 20 seconds left on the shot clock, Indiana can do no better than a desperation 3 by Armon Bassett. The Hoosiers need to get that fixed. They’ve been lousy in those situations too often this year.
And Minnesota gets a late foul call to go its way and Westbrook sinks two free throws to make it a one point game.
And then, D.J. White provides a senior night memory. He takes a deep inbounds and hits a 3-pointer from six feet beyond the arc with a hand in his face. That is, I think, his first career 3-pointer. He’s now 1-for-3 this year.
INDIANA 22, MINNESOTA 18 (3:41)
Both offenses have grinded through this stretch, and there’s been a month’s worth of ugly shots between ‘em.
Gordon will go to the foul line after this break.
INDIANA 20, MINNESOTA 16 (7:48)
Gordon returns and makes a hustle play, fighting for a rebound and getting the put back. But Minnesota plays like a Tubby Smith team and stays under control. Reserves Damian Johnson and Jonathan Williams contributed baskets and the guards have been, as expected, pesky at both ends of the floor.
INDIANA 15, MINNESoTA 6 (11:51)
Interesting development. One that will please some people who comment on this blog. Eric Gordon is the first player to come off the floor for the Hoosiers, and the team responds by going on an 11-0 run.
White is into the game now. He finishes a fast break with a lay-in to put the score where it is now. He’s got eight points.
Crawford, who replaced Gordon, hit a 3-pointer after finding no other options. He seems to like making that play.
MINNEOSTA 5, INDIANA 4 (15:45)
The Hoosiers have come out tight as can be and are shooting 2-for-6. The offense is running through sludge right now and the guys playing their final games here — I include Eric Gordon in that category — are trying to force things a little bit.
By the way, Calbert Cheaney is here. He’s sitting at the scorer’s table down front and was just introduced to the crowd here. Apparently, he’s a popular guy.
The usual starters for Indiana: Armon Bassett, Eric Gordon, Jamarcus Ellis, Lance Stemler, D.J. White.
Things to watch early:
- Can Minnesota hit their 3-pointers? The Gophers are first in the league in 3-point shooting but were just 3-for-17 against the Hoosiers in their loss at The Barn earlier this year?
- Will Spencer Tollackson be able to rebound against D.J. White? He couldn’t the first game, and the Hoosiers had a 42-26 rebounding advantage as a result.
- Have the Hoosiers finally started seeing Dan Dakich as the head coach? Senior Lance Stemler said yesterday that it did take the players some time to start relating to Dakich as the man in charge instead of an assistant whose role it was to support and guide them. But if the team finally does see Dakich as the coach they must play for, they’ll also start the process of understanding how Dakich motivates his teams and pushes them through games like this one.
First up, Adam Ahlfeld. He and his father, Steve, become the first father-son combo ever to play four years for the Hoosiers and graduate from IU.
Now Mike White. He’s escorted by Wendy McCallum, assistant coach Ray McCallum’s wife.
Lance Stemler’s turn. He’s smiling.
D.J. White up next. Assembly Hall’s still half empty, but the crowd gives its loudest cheer.
As you probably know, Wednesday night is Senior Night.
The players who will be honored are D.J. White, Adam Ahlfeld, Lance Stemler and Mike White.
And — better just face it — the game against Minnesota will also be the last time Eric Gordon plays at Assembly Hall.
So, we’re wondering, what are some of your fondest memories of those guys?
A reader in Maine sent us this story about a basketball player with an amazing name — Indiana Faithfull.
That’s almost the same moniker as that of a short-lived Indiana mascot of some years back, you may recall.
To get the whole story on Indiana Faithfull, who plays high school basketball in Portland, Maine, click here.
Mike is wondering if the crew thinks Indiana will step up and dedicate something in the name of Bob Knight.
Fischer says he has nothing to do with it. And he reminds Mike that Knight didn’t build Indiana basketball, saying the coaches who came before had a role as did the rest of the university.
Dakich says, only, “That’s why he’s a pro,” referring to Fischer.
Now Fischer turns to the players. They both think senior night will be emotional.
Dakich is hopeful that his team will bounce back. He knows Minnesota will be playing hard to get a win against a top 20 team. And he thinks lots of wacky things tend to happen in the final week.
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Perhaps there is some good news on this gloomy Monday for Indiana basketball fans, a day after the Hoosiers were clobbered 103-74 in East Lansing, likely ending any hope for at least a share of the Big Ten title.
Matt Roth, a 2008 signee, scored a season-high 34 points Friday night as his Washington Panthers won their fourth consecutive regional title. He hit nine three-pointers, and according to the Peoria Star-Journal’s Wes Huett, he was nailing them from everywhere on the court.
“The wing. The corner. The key,” Huett wrote. “Even with one foot on the volleyball attack line… seemingly anywhere and everywhere beyond the arc.”
His Panthers are now 23-3 and play Tuesday night in the sectional semifinals.