Hoosiers hang on at home against Ohio State, 72-69

armon-bassett_1.jpgIt certainly wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing 40 minutes of basketball, but the Hoosiers held off a surging Ohio State in the second half and won in Dan Dakich’s home debut, 72-69.

Though Indiana had a poor shooting first half from three-point land — they finished a woeful 5-of-25 for the game — it lead by as much as 13 thanks to defense that limited Ohio State in the early going and Armon Bassett who tallied 13 points by the break. He finished with a game high 23.

But in the second half, IU got sloppy — I’m looking at you Eric Gordon — and freshman Evan Turner and Kosta Koufos took over for the Bucks. Koufos more than held his own against D.J. White — even tallying a few blocks and showing off his three-point range. He finished with 21 points and six boards. Turner has 13 points on the night.

Steve Lavin and Brett Musberger talked all night about the NBA scouts in attendance at Assembly Hall and you wonder if that affected Gordon at all. It’s clear at this point his ball handling needs work. It’s getting increasingly frustrating watching EJ drive to the rim, only to have it flutter away or an opponent draw a charge. He has seven turnovers in IU’s win. EJ shot 25 percent from the floor and finished with 17 points. Without his ability to draw fouls, Gordon might be finding himself with a much lower scoring average on the year.

With the win, IU stays in the hunt for at least a share of the Big Ten title. The Hoosiers are 24-4 on the year and 13-2 in the Big Ten. They return to action Sunday afternoon at Michigan State to take on the Spartans.

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  • JamesHardy

    Is this in regards to my reply to Ryan? If so, I apologize…I know i replied to him, but I don't see it posted which leads me to believe it was mine.

  • JamesHardy

    didn't see this…so I apologize to everyone if I offended anyone. I will refer to their actions from now on as “immature.” The word “thug” was in reference to Ellis wanting to fight…Crawford getting up and a going straight at a guy who gave a hard fould, but a legal foul at that. If there are implications of “race” being an issue, I SINCERELY APOLOGIZE because there was no intent there.

  • JamesHardy

    I got to disagree here Ryan. If he takes a T in the wake of a bad call, that just sends a message to the Thugs (Crawford, Ellis, and to an extent EJ) that its okay to bitch about the officiating instead of going back and play some defense for the first time this year. I agree with an earlier post that said he should have taken a 30 sec. TO and lit into Crawford and EJ for guarding the officials instead of the guys from OSU. If they were as tight on the Buckeye players as they were on the guys in striped shirts, i think OSU may have shot about 35% tonight.

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com Matt J.

    You mean the one where Turner stopped playing so that he could hand the ball to the ref, and then everyone else on the floor stopped, too, but the ref was busy thinking about Erin Andrews or something? And then when OSU finally realized that they weren't going to call the travel, they got the easy bucket?

    Dakich needs to work that offensive set into the scheme.

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com Matt J.

    And developing a solid third option (and a fourth if Crawford can be consistent) is what helps advance you far in the trournament.

    Hopefully they all can set their negative emotions aside and focus on the positives and the excitement of winning a Big Ten title, or better, do something no Hoosier team has ever done, and that's win the Big Ten Tournament.

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com Matt J.

    Yeah, but they beat a bad high school team.

  • dabig

    I believe Gordon's problem is simply that teams by now know how to defend when he drives. He needs to understand that he can't drive into a double team in college, like he could in high school or even earlier in the season, before everybody had 47 miles of game film on him.
    Maybe missing the 3s early had something to do with it, or maybe bad officiating (it's hard to tell from TV).
    He needs to add a stop and pop and a little bit more dishing out. Sampson was getting him to do that right before he went away . . .

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com Matt J.

    Someone down here (NC) was actually on the radio bitching about that yesterday. Apparently it's not fair that there's only two teams in North Carolina who are worth a crap (okay, well, maybe one and the other is completely overrated and full of themselves). It's sad when you have to hang your hat on “Davidson just outside the top 25″.

    How about the year when we sent seven teams to the Tourney? Followed up a couple years later by no teams…but hey. No one else has come close to 7 in.

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com Matt J.

    At times, it looks like he's still trying to shake off the after effects of that concussion.

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com Matt J.

    He would also probably be well served to grasp the ball with two hands while going into traffic rather than cradling it on his hip.

  • ALH_00

    I can't believe all of this negative talk about EJ. What do we expect from this kid? Take him for what he is and enjoy the fact that he suits up for our team, and not Illinois. Yes he turns the ball over too much. But, he is our team's best player…one of the best in all of college basketball. Everything we are able to do offensively is dictated by EJ and DJ and how teams try to stop them, including the open looks that Armon, Ellis, and Stemler get constantly.

    EJ has some developing to do, but his skill set as a freshman is better than 99.9% of college basketball players. You could put together snippets of him doing well at every single aspect of the game from various points this season (including mid-range). He is the complete package, and is as ready as he needs to be for the NBA. Has anyone seen the Bulls?…EJ has to be better than Duhon, Hinrich, or Ben Gordon…certainly after a couple years to improve. Give EJ a break for one off night.

  • DD

    Eric Gordon needs to slow down and stop forcing the offense. I noticed even when he does not have the ball his tendency to remain stationery and wait for the ball. That also seems to be the same with the remaining IU players. D. Thomas is not providing IU with quality minutes. I'm so disappointed with his play and he needs to step up. I was hoping with the change to Dan Dakich that Mike White would get more minutes. I don't think he seen the floor at all last evening. Why not give Brandon McGee a chance? At the end of game last evening D.J. was having problems getting up and down the floor. Thank god for Gordon's offensive rebound at the end of the game. When you look at OSU – two victories we not bad when they took Tenn to the wire and pounded Florida. A win is a win. I can't believe this coaching staff has gone all year without a T. At the end of IU games all year calls have seemed to go against IU. Remember the no call travel against Wisconsin? It also appeared last night the OSU player traveled without a call being made. Rick Hartzell who was the official at Northwestern made several questionable calls. Remember him at Wisconsin with the Bracey Wright no call? Hartzell also called the T on Ellis for the rough foul on Jordan Crawford. Kids need to stop complaining and DD needs to get on the officials. Need to play better Sunday at MSU or we will get beat. Go MSU beat Wisconsin.

  • http://cubshaikus.blogspot.com SocksShortsSwish

    Here, here.

    Think about it…how many pieces of this team were playing together last year?
    DJ-Bassett-Stemler, really, and that's it.
    We're a vastly different team this year. We've been spoiled on how well this team has gelled. Good teams win on off nights. We did so.

  • kelin

    I think we have been ez on Ej most of the year but last night …call it what it is….he SUCKED and that is a flaw in his game. It taken a few weeks and some scouting reports for teams to figure him out but they have controlled him moe lately…..

  • ALH_00

    It truly is a completely different team. DJ is a vastly different player, Stemler is playing out of position, and aside from Bassett, everyone else is new (or never played). But, at this point in the season, they should be used to one another, which makes last night's performance frustrating (at times). But like you said, they pulled out the win.

    I will also agree that we are spoiled this year. The Hoosiers being this good is a long-overdue treat. I've seen a handful of teams that I know are better than IU (Tenn., Memphis, UCLA, Kansas for sure…maybe a couple others), but it isn't that many. I also think IU has a good shot of beating any of those teams on a neutral floor on any given night. I'm loving this season despite the turmoil, and really looking forward to the Big 10 and NCAA tournaments. It's been a while since I could say that with confidence.

  • Sean

    The thugs? You are an idiot and a racist.

  • http://cubshaikus.blogspot.com Anonymous

    You don’t think EJ’s ability to get to the rack AND shoot opens up opportunites for Armon?

    EJ and DJ have to be the focal point. Bassett, as we’re seeing, thrives as the 3rd option.

  • kelin

    That Thug comment was uneccessary….they weren’t thugs when the beat PU or MSU…now they are thugs…wow, never heard that tone on this blog before…..

  • kelin

    The Detroit Pistons of the 80′s with mahorn, Lambier, Rodman etc….were thugs on the court….There is nothing about EJ, Jordan, or Jamarucs that suggest they are that…

  • ALH_00

    It was a struggle for EJ sure, but SUCKED? He had a poor shooting night, made some bad decisions, and they really played solid defense on him (sometimes with three players). But he played 40 min., scored 17 points, got to the line (and exectued 8-9), highlight real put back, 6 boards, 3 assists, and 3 steals (to go with 7 turnovers). In what world does that = SUCKED? And what flaw are you talking about exactly…suckyness? tOSU made some nice plays on some ill-advised drives. But, I don’t hear anyone complaining when he sinks 10-15 free throws in other games where he gets fouled on moves like that.

    As to your last point…I agree that teams are picking their poison with EJ and forcing him to put the ball on the floor and then attacking with help-side defenders. That is giving the rest of IU’s team WIDE OPEN LOOKS…No other player on our team demands such attention…and he doesn’t demand it by SUCKING.

  • kelin

    ALH-
    Ej’s flaws are his decision making that has NOT gotten better 25 games in
    His lack of midrange game continues to hinder him
    His HIGH amount of turnovers for a NON POINT GUARD
    His shot has become inconsistant….
    His Whining is a PROBLEM

    If you put this game EJ played in the NCAA tourney IU losses.
    7 turnovers erases every assist and steal he has made…..

  • dabig

    His stats were good, but it’s disheartening when you see him drive into a defender who simply takes the ball away from him. Maybe part of the reason DJ looked tired was that he WAS tired of hustling down on offense only to watch Gordon drive and get blocked.
    White and Gordon are gonna get double teamed any time they touch the ball within 20 feet of the basket. DJ can recognize that and pass it. Gordon still struggles with the concept of what to do when there are multiple defenders.
    DJ’s play has been pretty consistent all season long. It’s Gordon’s play that will make the difference between this being a Sweet 16 team and being able to go further into the tourney.

  • ALH_00

    How can you say decision making has not improved after 25 games? EJ has gotten better. It’s an evolution, because teams are doing things differently against him than they were at the beginningof the season. He is prone to a few bad decisions, but every player is.
    His mid-range game was pretty good in the PU win. He needs to use it more, but I know it’s there.
    I can’t argue with the high turnovers. But he more than makes up for it by drawing contact, hitting foul shoots, and opening things up for the team.. If he could dish out a few more assists…
    Absolutely disagree that his shot has become inconsistent. 45% from the floor and 38% from distance on the season. Not too shabby.

    I will agree with the whining. He always gives the “why wasn’t the foul called, look”. It’s tired and should stop. Let the coach deal with the referees.

  • Dirk

    Sure EJ causes defenses to collapse on him, but here's what happens next: turnover, ill-advised shot, no-look pass thrown away. Even if other guys are open, the ball doesn't make it their way.

    Point guards win close games and EJ isn't a point guard. With 10 seconds left, put the ball in Armon's hands and let him do the creating with DJ or EJ as secondary scoring options, and IU will win.

  • http://www.xl950.com CoveyDale

    that's the one!

  • http://www.xl950.com CoveyDale

    how many games has he been 20% or worse?

  • http://www.xl950.com CoveyDale

    i looked it up myself – 14 games at 25% or worse.

  • http://www.xl950.com CoveyDale

    i looked it up myself – 14 games at 25% or worse.

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