Friday, February 08, 2008
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Gordon Booed at Champaign; Indiana Gets Last Word

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[February 08, 2008]  CHAMPAIGN (AP) -- Indiana's Eric Gordon, who signed with the Hoosiers after orally committing to Illinois knew he would hear it from fans, even if he looked a little shellshocked at times. With boos, taunts and curses, they let him hear it all night. But in the end, Illinois fans went away disappointed.

Gordon hit a clutch 3-pointer late in regulation and Armon Bassett scored 11 of his 16 points in the second overtime to lead No. 14 Indiana to an 83-79 victory against Illinois on Thursday night.

Gordon committed what looked like a costly turnover in the second OT. He also hit a tying 3 with 23 seconds left in the second half and scored all but one of his 19 points after halftime, even with fans cheering every mistake

"People shouldn't be that brutal, but they're trying to root (for) their home team and stuff," Bassett said.

Gordon shrugged it off.

"I wasn't really worried about it," he said. "I was just trying to get a win. This was a big road win for us. We have to move on to the next game."

Calvin Brock had just converted a runner, cutting Indiana's lead to 79-76, when Gordon got called for a 10-second violation with 26 seconds left in the second OT. But the Illini's Demetri McCamey, who scored 31 points, dribbled the ball off his knee and out of bounds.

"We had our chances," McCamey said.

Bassett then hit two free throws, and he converted two more to make it 83-79 with 5 seconds left following a 3-pointer by McCamey.

With that, Indiana (19-3, 8-1 Big Ten) could exhale.

"Our top players have got a lot of confidence and play with a lot of swagger, and this is really a good win for us and a step forward," Bassett said.

In other Top 25 games Thursday night, it was: No. 5 UCLA 67, No. 17 Washington State 59; No. 9 Stanford 72, Oregon 43; No. 13 Xavier 70, Saint Louis 68; and No. 21 Pittsburgh 55, West Virginia 54.

The Hoosiers, who trailed by 12 early in the second half, have won two straight since back-to-back losses against Connecticut and Wisconsin. And they earned their first victory at Illinois (10-14, 2-9) since 1999 even though Gordon was a mess early on.

Orange-clad fans wasted no time letting him and Hoosiers coach Kelvin Sampson hear it. Students along the baseline near the Indiana bench booed and held up cell phones as Sampson approached. The coach ran into trouble with the NCAA for improper calls to recruits while was at Oklahoma.

Chants of "Liar! Liar!" -- and others not quite so friendly -- directed toward Gordon echoed through the arena.

The Illini are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 1999, and many fans blame Gordon for that.

The Indianapolis native gave Illinois an oral commitment as a high school junior but changed his mind after Sampson replaced Mike Davis at Indiana.

On the court, Gordon's transition to college has been seamless -- his struggles in the first half notwithstanding.

His usual explosiveness and touch from the perimeter were missing early on, and the crowd pounced on him, chanting: "In your head! In your head!"

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"Coach just told me I had to settle down," Gordon said. "Usually, when I go too fast, I get a turnover, and it's just about myself. I just needed to handle that on my own."

No. 5 UCLA 67, No. 17 Washington St. 59

At Pullman, Wash., Darren Collison scored all of his 18 points in the decisive second half and freshman Kevin Love had 16 points and nine rebounds for UCLA.

The Bruins (21-2, 9-1) stayed one game ahead of Stanford in the Pac-10.

Kyle Weaver scored 13 points and Aron Baynes added 11 despite foul trouble for the Cougars (17-5, 5-5).

No. 9 Stanford 72, Oregon 43

Robin Lopez had 15 points, six rebounds and two blocks and Stanford jumped to an early lead on the way to winning its sixth straight game.

Lawrence Hill had his second straight productive outing with 13 points, including four 3-pointers, after a slow start this season for the host Cardinal (19-3, 8-2 Pac-10). Brook Lopez, Robin's twin brother, was swarmed each time he touched the ball, but still had 12 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots.

Tajuan Porter scored 12 points for cold-shooting Oregon (13-9, 4-6).

No. 13 Xavier 70, Saint Louis 68

At St. Louis, Derrick Brown made a tip-in with 0.1 seconds to go and Xavier avoided a second-half meltdown.

Josh Duncan led a balanced attack with 15 points for Xavier (19-4, 7-1 Atlantic 10), which squandered all of a 16-point cushion against the persistent Billikens. Drew Lavender added 13 points.

Xavier has won five straight and 11 of 12. Kevin Lisch scored 25 points for Saint Louis.

No. 21 Pittsburgh 55, West Virginia 54

Ronald Ramon barely beat the final horn with a 3-pointer from the left wing and Pittsburgh rallied in the final minute.

The host Panthers (18-5, 6-4 Big East) substantially helped their NCAA tournament hopes and damaged those of West Virginia (16-7, 5-5), which led 53-50 with a minute to play.

Alex Ruoff, an 85 percent free-throw shooter, missed one of two from the line with 9 seconds remaining to prevent West Virginia from taking a three-point lead.

[Associated Press; By ANDREW SELIGMAN]

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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