for this game

Bassett strong again as Indiana holds off Ohio State

Feb 27, 2008 - 5:17 AM BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- Even though Indiana is not winning in quite the convincing fashion it was before the resignation of Kelvin Sampson, interim coach Dan Dakich has to be happy with the results after two games.

Armon Bassett scored 23 points and D.J White added 16 and eight rebounds for the No. 12 Hoosiers en route to a 72-69 victory over Ohio State in Big Ten action on Tuesday.

It was the first home victory for Dakich and Indiana (24-4, 13-2 Big Ten) since the resignation of Sampson, who agreed to a buyout from the school Friday after the university released an NCAA report accusing Sampson of five major rules violations on February 13.

The Hoosiers had registered a pair of impressive victories prior to Sampson's exit, including an 80-61 rout of Michigan State on February 16, before struggling to defeat Northwestern, which is winless in conference play, Saturday.

"I think our team showed what it is about," Dakich said. "It is a resilient team. D.J. (White was) back on IVs; he's had the flu. He is hurting, down a little bit of weight. Armon (Bassett was) cramping, then to play the way he played. We got up early, played really well, and you kind of figured it wasn't going to be that way the whole game.

"Big Ten games are tough, they are close; they are hard-fought. I am really proud of our guys. This is about our guys and I am really proud of how they played, how they competed and how they went about winning a basketball game."

Dakich's first home win at his alma mater - and the school he served as an assistant from 1985-97 - gave Indiana its 16th victory at Assembly Hall this season - a record in the facility.

While Indiana standout freshman guard Eric Gordon struggled early, going just 2-for-10, Bassett flourished. He scored the team's final 10 points over the last 11:38 of the first half, finishing with 13 points after the first 20 minutes to help the Hoosiers to a 30-21 advantage at the break.

"I've just been trying to attack," Bassett said. "I thought for a minute there maybe I was sacrificing too much and letting my aggressiveness go away. That is what I have been trying to do, play aggressive and still stay in the team mode."

Ohio State's own stellar freshman, center Kosta Koufos, rallied the Buckeyes (17-11, 8-7) early in the second half, scoring 15 of the team's first 20 points after intermission to help Ohio State move within 42-41 with 10:59 remaining.

Bassett answered with a 3-pointer during an 8-2 stretch that pushed the lead to 49-43, but Ohio State's Evan Turner went on a personal 6-2 run to narrow the deficit to 51-49 with 5:10 left in the contest.

Once again, Bassett nailed another shot from the arc - his fourth - as Indiana scored seven straight points to establish a 58-49 advantage at the 3:42 mark. Ohio State scored five consecutive points to trim the deficit to 58-54 but could get no closer than three points until the final horn.

Bassett, White and Gordon - who finished with 17 points - combined to post 13 of the final 14 points for the Hoosiers. Bassett scored over 20 points for the second straight game after hitting that mark just three times through two season with Indiana.

"The only thing I have said to him (Bassett) is that we are really good when you are aggressive because I think he is a really good player," Dakich said. "It is a time of year when guys step up (or) fall back and he is in the gym a lot. ... I think he's put himself as a leader on both ends, both offensively and defensively."

After spending 10 seasons as the coach of Bowling Green University, Dakich could not hide his feelings regarding the difference between the two schools' passion for basketball.

"You know, for 10 years I looked out a window in my office hoping that cars were pulling into the parking lot so there would be a crowd at Bowling Green games," Dakich said. "I would count them. So it was different to walk out there and there were 17,000 people."

Koufos scored 21 points for the Buckeyes, who tied a season high with their third straight loss.