Stopping White Key to Competing with Hoosiers

Eric Gordon has taken hold of the basketball spotlight in Indiana, but when the Gophers face the Hoosier on Thursday night, Minnesota will need to limit D.J. White's rebounding production, which has been off the charts of late.

D.J. White has been forced to share the spotlight with sensational freshman guard Eric Gordon this season. But the senior forward is still a very key player for Indiana.

White showed that in the 78-64 win at Michigan on Jan. 8 as he scored 21 points and pulled down a career-high 22 rebounds, including a career-best eight off the offensive glass. White's previous best rebounding effort was 15.

"I was just trying to be aggressive and pursue every rebound," White said. "That's something I've really emphasized in my game. I want to dominate out there."

White turned in the first 20-20 performance by an Indiana player since Alan Henderson in 1995. The 22 rebounds were also the most by a Hoosier since Henderson grabbed 28 against Cincinnati in 1992.

White then had 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 62-58 win over Illinois on Jan. 13 for his 10th double-double in the last 11 games as Indiana won its 10th straight and improved to 14-1 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten. However, that ended White's streak of three straight games with at least 15 rebounds as he was the first Indiana player to pull off that feat since Steve Downing in 1972.

"I'm just proud of D.J.," Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. "He's grown up a lot. He's gotten tougher. Big kids who don't rebound either aren't aggressive or don't have a feel for it. I felt at times last year that D.J. wasn't aggressive but he has been every night this year."

NOTES

G Armon Bassett returned to action against Illinois on Jan. 13 and scored 11 points in 18 minutes off the bench after missing the win at Michigan on Jan. 8 because of a chipped bone in his ankle. Coach Kelvin Sampson has not indicated if Bassett will return to the starting lineup for the game at Minnesota on Jan. 17. G Jordan Crawford again started in Bassett's place.

  • Indiana's 10-game winning streak is its longest since the start of the 2002-03 season. The Hoosiers have also won 27 straight home games at Assembly Hall.

  • Indiana, leading the Big Ten in scoring at 82.6 points a game, was held to a season-low in points but still managed a 62-58 win over Illinois on Jan. 13. The Hoosiers' defense also gave up a season-low in points.

  • F Eric Gordon faced Illinois for the first time in his college career and scored a game-high 17 points, six below his season average, in a 62-58 victory Jan. 13. Gordon, Indiana's Mr. Basketball last year at Indianapolis North Central High School, originally made a verbal commitment to Illinois then backed off and signed a letter of intent with the Hoosiers.

  • G A.J. Ratliff had seven points in 24 minutes — both season-bests — in the win over Illinois. It was his third game back since sitting out the first 12 games of the season because of academic problems and a sprained ankle.

  • F Brandon McGee drew the ire of coach Kelvin Sampson for trying to dunk with a 14-point lead in the final seconds of the win at Michigan on Jan. 9. McGee subsequently apologized to Michigan coach John Beilein, who said he was not angry, but McGee did not see action four days later in the win over Illinois.

    IN FOCUS: Indiana has a tough task at much-improved Minnesota as the Golden Gophers' pressure defense could give the Hoosiers' young guards trouble. Indiana has lost two of its last three games with Minnesota.

    PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters — F D.J. White, F Mike White, G Eric Gordon, G Jamarcus Ellis, G Jordan Crawford. Key Subs — G A.J. Ratliff, F Lance Stemler, G Armon Bassett.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We've played against some good teams this year and Indiana is good as anybody. Even when (star freshman guard Eric) Gordon isn't in there, they are still good." — Michigan coach John Beilein.

    GAME REVIEW:

    Indiana 79, Iowa 76

    Indiana 78, Michigan 64

    Indiana 62, Illinois 58

    GAME PREVIEW:

    at Minnesota, Thursday, Jan. 17

    vs. Penn State, Sunday, Jan. 20

    vs. Iowa, Wednesday, Jan. 23

    vs. Connecticut, Saturday, Jan. 26



  • Gopher Illustrated Top Stories