When Tom Crean recruited Evan Gordon to play his final season of college basketball this year at Indiana, he said he told him that he wanted him to play for the Hoosiers because he believed there was still a lot of opportunity for Gordon to improve.
He said he reminded him Saturday night of that conversation when he came back to the bench after coming out for the last time in Indiana's 89-68 victory over North Florida at Assembly Hall.
Gordon scored a season-high 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting in 19 minutes off the bench. He was also 1-of-2 from 3-point range and had four rebounds.
"I said this to him on the bench tonight, when we recruited him – and hopefully he's figuring this out – we saw a lot left in the tank that he could get better at,'' Crean said. "We didn't just see a guy that had played four years of college basketball that was coming in for his fifth year. We just didn't see that.''
Crean said it is obvious that Gordon is working hard at his game and that his game is improving.
"We saw a guy that could make improvements,'' Crean said. "We saw a guy that could hav a bigger role. We saw a guy that could really, really be a stellar defender.
"And I think when he's focused on what he is defensively, all of a sudden you get nights like that offensively and hopefully he can continue it.''
Gordon had two previous double figure scoring games in the first eight games for the Hoosiers. He had 10 against Samford and 12 against Stony Brook. Saturday night, not only did he have 15 points but it was a team-high 15 points.
"Our team shared the ball,'' Gordon said. "I was open. It's not going to be like tonight every night but tonight's mine and I had to make sure I knocked down the shots.''
Gordon said he feels he has been comfortable with the Hoosiers since the start of the season.
"It just happened to be a good night,'' he said, "and I knocked down some shots. I got out in the open court and I scored a little bit.''
Sophomore guard Austin Etherington said he wasn't surprised that Gordon was able to emerge as he did Saturday night.
"He's always comfortable,'' Etherington said. "Happened to be tonight where he got the points that he got, and he works hard like everybody else. And he deserved what he got tonight and everyone's happy for him.''
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch