Bloomington, Ind. – While Bloomington's first wintry mix of the season caused plenty of cancellations Saturday night, Western Carolina wasn't so lucky.
Eric Gordon dumped five 3-pointers on the Catamounts in the game's first 10 minutes on his way to a game-high 26, D.J. White dropped another 14 first-half points on the visitors and finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and the Hoosiers stormed to a 100-52 win in front of an announced Assembly Hall crowd of 13,143.
Indiana won its fifth straight and improved to 9-1, while Western Carolina slipped to 3-6.
IU Coach Kelvin Sampson was certainly pleased with his team's 48-point win, but he might have been most appreciative of the contingent of fans who made their way to the game despite a lesser foe and hazardous driving conditions.
Sampson let that be known soon after the game ended, using the arena announcer's microphone to salute the on-lookers.
"This is why we have the greatest fans," Sampson told the crowd.
After getting a couple of inches of snow Saturday morning, Bloomington was expecting a combination of rain, sleet and eventually snow Saturday night that figures to make driving conditions treacherous. Many other areas around the state were expecting even worse conditions, which prompted area high schools to cancel evening sporting events.
But the large majority of IU fans still managed to make it to Assembly Hall, and Sampson admitted using those fans as motivation for his team earlier in the day.
"We talked about that before the game – we have a lot of people coming to watch us play," Sampson said. "They aren't coming to watch the other team – they're coming to watch us. And we're going to bust our tail for these fans tonight.
"That was important that we played hard. You want to play hard anyway, but on a night like tonight with that weather and these fans sacrificing to come see us play, we wanted to make sure we gave them an A effort, because they certainly gave us an A effort."
The Hoosiers did just that, and they were led by Gordon, who showed no rust from his one-game absence from the lineup. After White scored the Hoosiers' first six points on a pair of conventional 3-point plays, Gordon followed with a quintet of 3-pointers in the next 5:37 to turn a 6-4 lead into a 26-12 rout. The Hoosiers would eventually shoot 60 percent in the first-half on its way to a 52-24 lead at intermission.
Gordon finished 8-of-13 from the field and 6-of-11 from the 3-point arc in 29 minutes and said there were no ill effects afterwards.
"My back feels fine, 95 or 100 percent," Gordon said. "I don't feel any pain at all."
With Gordon, White and Jordan Crawford (19 points, six rebounds, five assists) doing the heavy lifting, Indiana's demolition of its Southern Conference foe was complete – Indiana shot 54.5 percent from the floor , forced the Catamounts into 21 turnovers, and owned a 50-24 edge on the glass.
Mop-up time came early for the Hoosiers, as Kyle Taber entered with 11:40 remaining and Indiana owning a 37-point lead, 75-38. That didn't slow the Hoosiers down, as the lead reached 50 with 6:39 remaining, and Taber capped the Hoosiers' scoring with a free throw at the 1:10 mark that pushed Indiana to the century mark for the first time since its 100-49 win over Longwood.
"It was a good game, we did a lot of good things tonight, we got a lot of guys a lot of minutes, a lot of good things," Sampson said.
D. White 7-9 7-10 21, M. White 1-2 0-0 2, Crawford 8-14 3-5 19, Ellis 4-7 0-0 9, Gordon 8-13 4-6 26, Thomas 4-6 0-0 8, Finkelmeier 0-0 2-2 2, Stemler 2-9 2-3 7, McGee 2-6 1-2 5, Ahlfeld 0-0 0-0 0, Taber 0-0 1-3 1. Totals 36-66 20-31 100.
WESTERN CAROLINA 52
Gore 7-13 1-4 16, Gallagher 1-4 0-0 2, Giles 0-5 0-2 0, Porrini 6-15 6-6 20, Wilson 1-2 0-0 2, Miller 1-4 0-0 3, Waginger 1-6 1-2 3, McKenna 0-2 0-0 0, Magowan 0-0 0-0 0, Robinson 2-4 1-1 6, Gordon 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-55 9-15 52.
3-Pointers: Indiana 8-28 (Gordon 6-11, Stemler 1-7, Ellis 1-2, Crawford 0-4, McGee 0-4), Western Carolina 5-19 (Porrini 2-6, Gore 1-2, Miller 1-4, Robinson 1-2, Waginger 0-2, McKenna 0-1, Giles 0-1, Wilson 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 50 (D. White 11), Western Carolina 24 (Porrini 7). Assists: Indiana 16 (Ellis 6), Western Carolina 11 (Waginger 3). Turnovers: Indiana 10, Western Carolina 21. Blocks: Indiana 4 (D. White, Gordon, Thomas, Taber), Western Carolina 1 (Giles). Steals: Indiana 12, Western Carolina 3. Halftime Score: Indiana 52, Western Carolina 24. Officials: Mike Sanzere, Sid Rodehefer, James Hicks. Attendance: 13,143.
Hoosiers Storm Past Western Carolina, 100-52
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