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Gordon helps IU seniors got out winners on senior night

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

By MICHAEL MAROT

AP Sports Writer

BLOOMINGTON -- Eric Gordon scored nine of his 20 points during a decisive late run Wednesday night, leading No. 18 Indiana past Minnesota 69-55 in D.J. White's final home game.

It also may have marked the final home appearances for interim head coach Dan Dakich and Gordon, the freshmen star who is expected to leave for the NBA after this season.

Dakich improved to 3-1 since replacing Kelvin Sampson last month and the Hoosiers (25-5, 14-3) stayed in contention for the Big Ten regular-season title with their school-record 17th home victory.

White, a senior forward, had 17 points and five rebounds before departing to a loud ovation with about a minute left.

Indiana, which has won 25 regular-season games for the first time since 1992-93, is tied for second in the conference with Purdue, one-half game behind Wisconsin (14-2).

Lawrence McKenzie had 22 points for Minnesota (18-11, 8-9), which was looking for a signature win to help make its case for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

The Gophers challenged the Hoosiers hard for the first 35 minutes, but Indiana scored 12 straight points to take a 64-50 lead with 2:09 left and Minnesota never recovered.

Both teams struggled offensively and neither shot better than 41 percent from the field. The result was a game uncharacteristically lacking energy even on a night emotions were high in Bloomington. About a dozen students wore Sampson's trademark outfit -- blue oxford shirt and red tie -- to the game.

But after Indiana used an 11-0 run to build a 15-7 lead, Minnesota answered with six straight points to close to 20-18 midway through the first half and got as close as 28-27 with 1.6 seconds to go.

That's when White finally injected some excitement by catching Lance Stemler's baseball pass about 30 feet from the basket. He turned, fired and beat the buzzer with the first 3-pointer of his career to make it 31-27. The play held up under replay review.

It still wasn't enough to give the Hoosiers a spark, though. After Indiana opened a 40-33 lead with 14:04 left, the Gophers scored five straight points and eventually took their only lead of the game, 47-46, with 8:25 left when Dan Coleman grabbed the ball out of a scramble and scored.

That's when Gordon started Indiana's final surge by making three of four free throws to give the Hoosiers the lead, found Armon Bassett for an open 3-pointer and then drove for a layup to make it 54-50. Indiana scored the next 10 points to pull away.



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