Bloomington, Ind. – There was no Division II disaster in Bloomington.
Eric Gordon scored all of his game-high 24 points in first half, Indiana knocked down 18-of-30 3-pointers, and Coach Kelvin Sampson's team blitzed his alma mater UNC-Pembroke, 111-62 at Assembly Hall.
While Michigan State and Ohio State both dropped exhibition games to Division II foes recently, ninth-ranked Indiana had no such trouble in its final exhibition tune-up for Monday's season-opener against Chattanooga. The Hoosiers opened a 17-point lead at half and led by as many as 51 late in a game that was never in doubt.
"We're bigger, strong, more talented, more athletic," said IU Coach Kelvin Sampson about the match-up.
UNC-Pembroke tried to combat a huge IU size advantage by playing plenty of zone, but the Hoosiers picked that apart by having six different players connect on at least one 3-pointer while shooting 60 percent from behind the arc as a team.
Sampson has said he doesn't expect this year's team to rely on the 3-pointer as much as last year's squad did, but with Pembroke giving the Hoosiers quality looks, half of IU's attempts came from deep.
"I don't mind the 3s, so long as they go in," said Sampson. "If you shoot 30 3s and aren't making any, that's probably not a good idea. But if you're shooting 30 and making 18, I'd say they're pretty good shots. "
Leading the Hoosiers' perimeter attack was Gordon, who equaled the 24 points he scored in the team's first exhibition game against North Alabama. Gordon was a perfect 6-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half and finished the game 8-of-13 from floor.
Sampson said the Hoosier freshman had been in the gym 2 ½ hours before the team's regularly scheduled walk-through to work on his shot, and he was glad to see that work pay off Saturday night.
"It's nice to see the kids that work the hardest get rewarded the most," Sampson said. "He works harder than any of our guards. That's why he has the success he has. When the others learn if they work hard, they can have some success to."
While UNC-Pembroke didn't pose much of a threat, Indiana did get a scare late in the first half when sophomore Armon Bassett went down with an ankle injury. Bassett – who had scored 15 points and four assists to that point - didn't return as a precaution.
"He probably could have played in the second half, but we play Monday," said Sampson. "I didn't want to risk playing him anymore. I think he'll be okay, but I'm not for sure."
While Bassett sat out the second half and Gordon missed his only three shots in the final 20 minutes, others stepped to the forefront. Among those players was freshman Brandon McGee, who scored all 18 of his points in the second half after not playing in the opening half.
McGee was 7-of-9 from the floor, 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc, and added a team-high seven rebounds of 17 minutes of second-half action. Sampson said McGee's absence in the first half was a result of some sub-par effort at practice.
"Brandon, he's getting better, but none of these are going to be as good as they think they want to be until they learn how to practice the right way," Sampson said. "Until he learns to practice the right way he's not going to play in the first half. So his challenge is learn to practice…the fact he scored 18 points tonight, we'll start at zero tomorrow."
McGee said it was a message that he heard loud and clear.
"If I want to play I have to practice hard and have intensity in practice," McGee said. "I was just mad at myself for putting myself in that position. It will never happen again."
D. White 2-3 6-9 10, Stemler 1-3 3-4 6, Bassett 5-8 2-2 15, Ellis 6-8 0-0 15, Gordon 8-13 2-2 24, Thomas 0-2 2-2 2, Finkelmeier 0-0 0-0 0, Crawford 4-9 2-4 11, McGee 7-9 0-0 18, Holman 3-4 2-3 8, Ahlfeld 0-1 0-0 0, Taber 0-0 2-2 2. Totals 36-60 21-28 111.
UNC PEMBROKE 62
Keimig 2-3 0-0 5, Walters 0-2 0-0 0, Garner 0-1 0-0 0, Brown 2-12 0-0 5, Hunter 8-13 4-4 23, Helmick 0-1 0-0 0, Lyday 1-2 2-2 4, Hart 7-9 3-4 17, Honeycutt 2-4 2-2 6, Robinson 0-0 0-0 0, House 0-2 0-0 0, Thomas 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 23-50 11-12 62.
3-Pointers: Indiana 18-30 (Gordon 6-8, McGee 4-6, Bassett 3-5, Ellis 3-5, Stemler 1-2, Crawford 1-4), Pembroke 5-14 (Hunter 3-3, Keimig 1-2, Brown 1-3, Walters 0-1, Garner 0-1, Hart 0-2, Honeycutt 0-1, House 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 31 (McGee 7), Pembroke 22 (Hunter 8). Assists: Indiana 22 (Ellis 8), Pembroke 11 (House 3, Keimig 3). Turnovers: Indiana 8, Pembroke 19. Blocks: Indiana 7 (White 3), Pembroke 1 (Hart). Steals: Indiana 9, Pembroke 2. Halftime Score: Indiana 52, Pembroke 35. Officials: Jim Burr, Steve Welmer, Curtis Shaw. Attendance: 17,122
Gordon, 3-Pointers Enough To Bury Pembroke
Peegs.com Top Stories
"We need to do everything that winners do"Indiana players talk about what they need to do to get the 2016 season turned around after three straight losses.
Coach TV: Wilson after loss at NorthwesternWatch Kevin Wilson's postgame press conference following Indiana's 24-14 loss at Northwestern.
Quick Recap: Northwestern 24, Indiana 14Indiana fell behind 24-3 at halftime and a second-half rally fell short despite a career day from receiver Nick Westbrook against the surging Wildcats.
It's Game DayIndiana takes the field today at noon in Evanston looking to get back on a winning track. Get up to speed on Northwestern and find the broadcast details.
IU 12th in preseason coaches pollThe Indiana basketball team is ranked 12th in the USA Today Preseason Coaches Poll. Indiana is one of five Big Ten teams ranked and faces two top-six teams early in the non…
Peegs.comYesterday at 9:09 PM