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Hoosiers hold off late charge by Redbirds

Friday, November 23, 2007

By RICK GANO

AP Sports Writer

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Freshman star Eric Gordon scored 31 points, the third time in four games he's hit for at least 30, and No. 8 Indiana held off a second-half charge to beat Illinois State 70-57 on Friday night in the Chicago Invitational Challenge.

The Hoosiers (4-0) have won their first four games for the first time since the 2002-03 team went 8-0. They will play Xavier in the final on Saturday night. The Musketeers (3-1) defeated Kent State 78-65 on Friday.

Gordon showed off the dazzling skills that allowed him to average 28 points in the first three games of his freshman career.

He scored 20 in the first half on 8-of-11 shooting. He had 11 straight Indiana points during one stretch to help the Hoosiers build a 38-28 halftime lead.

Illinois State (3-1), seeking its first victory over a Top 10 opponent since the 1983-84 season, gave Indiana its first real test in its first road game.

Gordon made his first basket of the second half an emphatic one, driving down the lane for a thunderous dunk with 13:05 left, bringing a large contingent of Hoosiers fans at the Sears Center to their feet as Indiana went up by 11.

But Levi Dyer, who had 18 points, hit a pair of 3-pointers as the scrappy Redbirds ran off nine straight points to cut the lead to 50-48 with just over 10 minutes remaining.

But another freshman, Jordan Crawford, scored six points to spark a late 10-2 run for Indiana that put the Hoosiers up by 11 with about three minutes to go.



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