Gordon's 26 lifts Indiana past Oakland 81-54

CRISS GOFF Associated Press Published:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Evan Gordon knew transferring to Indiana would invite pressure. He recognized that his last name brought extra expectations.

Gordon suddenly looks more than worthy.

He scored a season-high 26 points - 16 in a dominant opening half for Indiana - to lead the Hoosiers to an 81-54 blowout win over Oakland on Tuesday. Gordon has 41 points in his last two games after scoring in double figures just twice in the first eight.

"It's all coming out," Gordon said. "When your team has confidence in you, it gives you confidence. I've gotten open. I've stayed a little more aggressive than I have been. It's ball movement really. We're playing faster and pushing the ball ahead. Everybody's getting pretty good looks."

Indiana (8-2) won its second straight and extended its nonconference home winning streak to 36.

Gordon, a 6-foot senior who transferred from Arizona State in the offseason, was expected to add experience, ballhandling and scoring to Indiana's backcourt. Playing off the bench, Gordon has seen time at both guard spots. Against the Golden Grizzlies, most of his first-half minutes came at point guard with starter Yogi Ferrell limited to nine minutes because of foul trouble.

Gordon thrived, making his first eight shots, one shy of matching a school record, before Oakland center Corey Petros blocked a layup with 8:22 left in the game. Gordon finished 10-of-12 from the field in 26 minutes and had fans at Assembly Hall periodically chanting his name.

He started 7-of-7 in a win over North Florida on Saturday before missing his final two shots to finish with 15 points. That was Gordon's first double-figure outing in five games.

Gordon's brother Eric, now a starting guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, starred at Indiana during the 2007-08 season before departing early for the draft. During the game, Eric tweeted, "My bro is on FIRE!!!!!"

"He was on fire," teammate Luke Fischer said. "It was his night. We knew we had to keep giving him the ball. He's spectacular right now."

Oakland (2-8) never found an answer and lost its 11th straight away from home. The Golden Grizzlies started 0-7 against a difficult schedule that included North Carolina, UCLA, California and Gonzaga. It won't get easier. They next face No. 5 Michigan State on Saturday.

"The way they played tonight, I'd say that's as good a team as has played against us," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "They're very good if they can shoot like that."

Leading scorer Travis Bader saw his streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer come to an end at 62. It was the longest active streak in the nation. Bader missed all 10 attempts. He was held to 11 points, more than 10 beneath his average, and shot 2-of-15 from the field overall.

"It was a game within the game for us tonight," Indiana coach Tom Crean said.

Gordon played a part in what was a team effort on Bader. The coaching staff credited Gordon with 13 deflections during the game.

"He's got big assignments defensively," Crean said. "Evan is in the gym more. That's really important. When Evan came here, one of our big points was there was a lot more he could get better at. You're starting to see that."

Troy Williams scored 13 points, Ferrell had 11 and Noah Vonleh finished with eight points and 10 rebounds as the Hoosiers shot 50 percent (30-of-60) from the field. Oakland finished at 32.2 percent and was led by 14 points from reserve Mitch Benziger.

Indiana, which entered leading the nation in rebounding margin at plus-15, dominated the glass. Oakland, which came in with a rebound margin of minus-8.6, was outrebounded 52-28.

But the story was Gordon, who stretched the floor by making four 3-pointers in five attempts and added five rebounds, three assists and three steals in a dominant all-around performance.

"I don't even know who the guy is who made the 28,000 points or whatever he scored," Kampe said, before reporters reminded him of Gordon's name. "I couldn't even tell you who he was."

Early on, the Golden Grizzlies found out the hard way, as Gordon completed a twisting transition layup to give Indiana a 15-5 lead less than five minutes into the game. Midway through the first half, Gordon reeled off a personal 10-0 run in a span of less than two minutes. He made a layup, hit back-to-back 3-pointers and then converted two free throws to give the Hoosiers a 32-16 advantage.

Gordon shot 6-of-6 before the break as Indiana capitalized on poor transition defense and scored 12 fast-break points to build a 50-30 halftime lead.

The Golden Grizzlies never got closer than 18 the rest of the way. Gordon hit a jumper and then made a 3-pointer to make it 63-40 with 11:23 remaining. His final bucket of the night stretched the lead to 74-45.

With Gordon rolling, the Hoosiers' offense was clicking on all cylinders.

"The bigs are doing a good job throwing it back out," Gordon said. "It's creating two-on-ones and three-on-twos. We're able to just get an edge on the scoring a little bit."