for this game

Gordon powers Indiana over Western Carolina

Dec 16, 2007 - 4:47 AM BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- Indiana need not worry about the condition of freshman Eric Gordon's back.

Gordon poured in 26 points in his return from a back injury to power the 14th-ranked Hoosiers to a 100-52 romp over Western Carolina on Saturday.

D.J. White added 21 points and 11 rebounds as Indiana (9-1) won its 24th consecutive game at Assembly Hall - the fourth-longest home winning streak in the nation.

After suffering a bruised back in a fall against Tennessee State on December 3, Gordon sat out the Hoosiers' 70-51 victory over Kentucky on December 8.

The freshman phenom, who entered the contest ranked eighth nationally in scoring at 24.3 points per game, showed no signs of rust. The 6-4 guard hit his first five 3-point attempts in just over nine minutes to spark Indiana to a 26-12 lead.

"My back feels fine, 95, 100 percent," Gordon said. "I don't feel any pain at all."

Western Carolina coach Larry Hunter wished he could have said the same.

"It certainly wasn't a lot of fun to sit through that," Hunter said. "Eric Gordon, I think he is a terrific basketball player, and was really a tough matchup for us. He had a great first half and got them off to a good start and they have a lot of weapons."

While Gordon was putting on a show from outside, White was doing the heavy lifting inside. He scored 10 early points and combined with Gordon to score 25 of Indiana's first 26 points.

It was the sixth consecutive double-double for White, helping the Hoosiers reach 100 points for the second time this season.

"I set a goal for myself at the beginning of the year that is what I wanted to do (average a double-double)," White said. "I just keep trying to help my team rebound, defensively and offensively. I want to help our team on fastbreak opportunities on the defensive end and with offensive rebounds."

Arnold Gore put together a personal 6-0 run to get Western Carolina (3-6) within 28-18, but the Hoosiers responded with 11 unanswered points en route to taking a commanding 52-24 lead at the break.

Indiana continued to run it up in the second half, ripping off 15 straight points to build the lead to 69-30 on a monster follow dunk by White.

Gordon added an early exclamation point when he buried his sixth 3-pointer for a 72-30 cushion with just under 14 1/2 minutes remaining.

Freshman Jordan Crawford, in his second game back following a three-game suspension, had 19 points for the Hoosiers, who shot 55 percent (36-of-65) from the floor.

"I thought our defense was really active, 12 steals and turned them over 21 times," Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. "Jordan just continues to get better, five assists, no turnovers, a steal. D.J. has really set a high standard for himself, being consistent. He has been really consistent coming out every night.

"E.J. (Gordon) had great energy. Silver lining with him being out is that he got completely healthy, but he also got a lot of rest."

Mike Porrini scored 20 points and Gore added 16 for the Catamounts, who have lost four of their last five contests.

"The real bright spot for us was Mike Porrini," Hunter said. "He showed a lot of competitive fire and his athleticism allowed him to get some things done. He was the one person that was able to take the ball and break down the defense a little bit and get in the paint and make others better or make a play for himself."

    --- --- -----
    WESTRN CAROLINA 24 28 52
    INDIANA (14) 52 48 100 FINAL

    Dec 15 10:05 PM


    Dec 15 8:55 PM