Bloomington, Ind. – Indiana was the team that played as if it needed a wake-up call Saturday afternoon.
After arriving in Bloomington at 5 a.m. following a 47-point loss at Marquette Friday night, Coppin State gave the 13th-ranked Hoosiers all they wanted for 20 minutes before eventually falling 73-46 at Assembly Hall.
Indiana won its sixth straight to improve to 10-1, while Coppin State lost its seventh in a row and fell to 3-10.
Early on, the Hoosiers looked like a team that left for its three-day holiday break a day prematurely, struggling from the opening tip against a team that lost to Marquette by 47 last night and Xavier by 49 earlier this year. Eric Gordon and Jordan Crawford committed turnovers on the first two possessions, and Gordon missed a 3-pointer on IU's next trip. It was the first of six straight misses for Gordon in the opening half, who scored just two points in the game's first 20 minutes.
But Gordon wasn't the only Hoosier to struggle. Indiana's starting five was a combined 4-of-18 from the field in the opening half, IU shot just 28 percent as a team, and Kelvin Sampson's team led by only two, 28-26.
Indiana's effort left Sampson joking about which team was the one that had the tough weekend travel schedule.
"The first half we were recovering form a six-hour bus ride from Marquette. My bad, that was the other team," quipped Sampson.
Sampson said he could tell early on that his team's focus might not be where it needed to be thanks to the upcoming holiday break. The Hoosiers are off for the next three days before returning Dec. 26 to begin its preparation for next Saturday's game against Chicago State.
"You worry about this the game before the Christmas holidays," Sampson said. "I walk into the locker room this morning…and the conversations were about ‘what time does your flight leave? Who is picking you up?'
"In every game we've played this year, the conversation has been about the game."
But an uninspired first-half effort gave way to a much better performance in the second half. D.J. White scored six of his game-high 21 points during a 20-4 run to open the half to give the Hoosiers a 48-30 lead with 12:40 remaining. IU shot 67 percent from the floor after intermission the Hoosiers cruised to its fifth 20-plus point win of the season.
"In the second half, the defense was good, offense was good, we got to the free-throw line 35 times," Sampson said. "A lot of positives the second half, the first half – a lot of lessons learned."
After attempting only two shots in the opening half, White was a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor in the game's final half. He added eight rebounds, four blocks, and a pair of thunderous fastbreak second half dunks that brought the crowd of 14,366 to its feet.
Gordon, meanwhile, finished just 2-of-13 from the floor but was a perfect on 10 attempts from the free-throw line on his way to 15 points. Gordon knocked down a 28-foot 3-pointer two minutes into the second half for his only 3-pointer on the afternoon, and then added a penetrating lay-up with 9:47 remaining. But the Hoosiers leading scorer finished nine points below his season average while missing 11 of his 13 shots.
Sampson said players will go through tough shooting nights, but he was pleased to see Gordon still attack the basket and getting to the free-throw line.
"There will be nights when he doesn't make it," Sampson said. "Against Western Carolina, he made his first five 3s. Same shots he had tonight, tonight they didn't go in. That's going to happen…one of the things we're always on our guys about is getting to that free-throw line. I'd rather have Eric driving it then standing out there passing it and screening it. That's what he's good at. He can really get to the free-throw line."
Indiana also got a big game from Mike White, who finished with 10 points and five rebounds. All but two of those points came in the first half, when White started in place of Jamarcus Ellis, who was benched for the game's opening 10 minutes after arriving late for the game.
Mike White's effort was big for an IU team that struggled to get much of anything going early.
"Mike's greatest attribute is he's really mature," Sampson said. "he doesn't have any highs and lows. He's just solid. That's why he fits in our lineup. You know what you're going to get from him everyday."
While Ellis failed to start for the first time this season, he did come off the bench to contribute a team-high nine rebounds and six assists to go along with two points.
D. White 8-9 5-8 21, Stemler 3-6 0-0 9, M. White 2-4 6-7 10, Crawford 2-5 5-7 9, Gordon 2-13 10-10 15, Thomas 3-6 1-2 7, Finkelmeier 0-0 0-0 0, Ellis 1-1 0-1 2, McGee 0-2 0-0 0, Ahlfeld 0-0 0-0 0, Taber 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-46 27-35 73.
COPPIN STATE 46
Duncan 2-10 1-2 6, Hayden 3-8 0-0 6, Pressey 0-4 0-0 0, Goldsberry 1-3 0-0 2, McKee 5-15 4-4 16, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Conyers 0-0 2-2 2, Harrison 1-1 4-4 6, Kucinskas 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 16-48 11-12 46.
3-Pointers: Indiana 4-16 (Stemler 3-5, Gordon 1-9, McGee 0-2), Coppin State 3-7 (McKee 2-4, Duncan 1-3). Rebounds: Indiana 36 (Ellis 9), Coppin State 27 (Chesnut 7). Assists: Indiana 12 (Ellis 6), Coppin State 4 (Goldsberry 2). Turnovers: Indiana 14, Coppin State 17. Blocks: Indiana 6, Coppin State 4. Steals: Indiana 9, Coppin State 8. Officials: Tom Huthinson, David Maracich, Bo Boroski. Attendance: 14,366
Tale of Two Halves In Hoosiers' 73-46 Win
Peegs.com Top Stories
Video intro: McRoberts not your usual walk-onAs a former Division I scholarship player and younger brother of a long-time NBA veteran, Zach McRoberts may be ready to help more than your typical walk-on
Video intro: Sophomore walk-on Quentin TaylorIndiana sophomore walk-on Quentin Taylor compares this Indiana team to last year's Big Ten champions and looks ahead to his future after his IU career.
Indiana depth chart vs. MarylandCheck out the Indiana two-deep for this week's game against Maryland.
Hoosier Newsstand, Oct. 26Get the latest articles on Indiana basketball, football and other sports in today's edition of the Hoosier Newsstand.
B1G Teleconference: Wilson, Durkin transcriptRead the full transcript of what Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson and Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin had to say yesterday on the weekly Big Ten Coaches Teleconference.