for this game

Freshman Gordon dazzles as Indiana cruises in opener

Nov 13, 2007 - 5:06 AM BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- Freshman phenom Eric Gordon lived up to the hype.

Gordon poured in 33 points to rally No. 8 Indiana to a 99-79 victory over pesky Chattanooga in its season opener.

The Hoosiers had to erase a four-point halftime deficit to secure its 10 straight season-opening win and 23rd consecutive home opener.

"The story of this game was the second half, holding them to 29 points and 33 percent shooting," Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. "Our ball pressure was a lot better, it was more active and more aggressive. You can't get that against a team that you come out and jump by 40 points.

"We needed a game like this, that first half was good for us. It was great to see us respond like we did in the second half."

Gordon, one of the nation' most acclaimed freshmen and a former Mr. Basketball in the state of Indiana, led the charge for the Hoosiers.

The 6-4 guard scored 18 of his points after halftime, including four straight 3-pointers, to help Indiana build an 81-67 cushion with 8:41 to play.

"I was feeling it early, but that's what I expect to do," Gordon said. "I expect myself to score points and bring it on defense like Coach tells me."

Gordon, who many observers expect to play at the next level next year, showed his shooting-touch is NBA-ready, nailing many of his jumpers from well beyond the arc. He was 7-of-11 from 3-point range, helping the Hoosiers connect on 14-of-25.

"He picked us up when we gave up the lead and put us on his back," Indiana's Armon Bassett said of Gordon. "It wasn't just his offense, he picked us up with his defense too."

Bassett scored 20 points and D.J. White added 17 for Indiana, which also extended its home winning streak to 18 games.

The Hoosiers got a scare when White crashed hard to the floor attempting to block a shot with 6:09 to play. But he eventually walked off the court holding a towel to his bloody head and motioned thumbs-up.

"He just got stitches," Sampson said. "I think he just banged his head off the floor."

Chattanooga also provided a scare for Indiana. Trailing by as many as 11 points in the first 20 minutes, the Mocs used a 12-0 run late in the first half to take a 50-46 lead into the break.

Kevin Bridgewaters scored 14 points in the half on 6-of-6 shooting from the floor, but he was held scoreless in the second half. Much of that was due to the defense of Gordon.

"He scored 33, but I thought he was the difference in the game defensively," Chattanooga coach Jon Shulman said. "They came out in the second half and put Gordon on our point guard and he did a great job. Talk about size on the point. He was very physical and did a great job defensively."

Kevin Goffney added 13 points for the Mocs (1-1), who finished 31-of-67 from the floor after shooting a blistering 57 percent (21-of-37) in the first half.