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IU's Gordon stays seriously hot

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For more on college sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio

Hoosiers roll over Oakland

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 10:50 pm

BLOOMINGTON – What's gotten into Evan Gordon?

Seriously.

The Indiana senior guard has reached a level of offense rarely seen. Everything he shoots that isn't blocked goes in.

For eight games he was the Quiet Gordon, offensively irrelevant, statistically limited.

Now he's so hot, older brother Eric, the former IU All-America now in the NBA tweets his success.

For instance:

“My bro @EvanGordon10 is on FIRE!!!!! Man he got me fired up right now.”

Gordon hit his first eight shots Tuesday night against Oakland and finished 10-for-12 for 26 points in Indiana's 81-54 win.

In his last two games, he is 17-for-21 for 41 points.

In his previous eight games, he was 12-for-30 for 45 points.

That is very serious.

“We moved the ball as a team,” Gordon said about his offensive surge. “I stayed aggressive. Yogi (Ferrell) stayed on me to make sure I stayed confident in my shot. The coaches stayed on me. I've been doing extra work. It's all been coming out.

"The team is moving the ball more. I've gotten more open. I stayed more aggressive than I've usually been. It's the ball movement, really.

"When your team has confidence in you, you get confidence."

The Hoosiers noticed.

"He was on fire," center Luke Fischer said, "so we knew we had to keep giving him the ball. It was his night, the ball movement was spectacular and he made shots. Everything worked out for us."

Gordon's success was news to Oakland coach Greg Kampe.

"I didn't even know who that guy was, and he scores like 20,000 points," Kampe said. "We knew Yogi Ferrell could make shots, but we didn't think they had many other players who could make outside shots."

Gordon's defense -- he finished with 13 deflections -- was just as impressive to coach Tom Crean.

"I think (his offense) starts with the defense. He's got big assignments defensively

"Evan is in the gym more.When he came here, one of our big points was we thought there was a lot more that he could get better at. He's doing that. He's starting to see that;"

IU (8-2) also got 13 points from Troy Williams, 11 from Yogi Ferrell and a near double-double from Noah Vonleh (eight points, 10 rebounds).

Oakland (2-8) was led by Mitch Baenziger's 14 points. Three-point sharpshooter Travis Bader was 0-for-10 from three-point range and finished with 11 points. It snapped his streak of 62 straight games with at least one three-pointer.

Oakland scheduled for failure -- and guaranteed-money security -- and got it. The Grizzlies had earlier lost at No. 12 North Carolina, at No. 24 UCLA, at California and at No. 15 Gonzaga. They also had lost at Western Michigan.

IU's defensive attention centered on stopping Bader, and it worked instantly. In the first half he was 1-for-7 from the field, 0-for-5 from three-point range. Still, with 7-for-7 free throw shooting, he managed nine points.

It wasn't nearly enough.

Gordon's 16 off-the-bench points, along with Williams' 11, propelled the Hoosiers to a 50-30 halftime lead.

The typified IU's first-half dominance that included a 28-14 rebound edge, 60 percent shooting and 10 assists against five turnovers.

The dominance continued in the second half, along with Gordon's sharp shooting.

Next up -- Notre Dame Saturday in the Crossroads Classic at Indianapolis' Bankers Life Fieldhouse.