Sizzling freshman sparks Indiana past UNCP
By Brad Crawford
What was supposed to be a friendly exhibition warm-up game between Indiana and head coach Kelvin Sampson’s alma mater UNCP at Indiana’s historic Assembly Hall turned out to be a one man wrecking crew pleading his case for player of the year
|Photo by Scott Ammons
UNCP’s Jonathan Hart attempts a free throw in the first half against Indiana in Bloomington, Ind., Nov. 10. The 6-foot-6 senior scored 17 points for the Black and Gold while Indiana Eric Gordon notched 24 points in the Hoosiers 111-62 victory.
Hoosier freshman sensation Eric Gordon is going to be circled several times on opposing team’s scouting boards all season as Indiana, ranked No. 9 in the Associated Press Top-25 poll, opens up its Big Ten Conference schedule Jan. 2 at Iowa.
In front of 17,000 strong at Assembly Hall and a national television audience, the hot-shooting Gordon, a McDonald’s All-American from North Central High School in Indianapolis, Ind., torched UNCP for 24 points, dropping six 3-pointers on top of the Black and Gold defense, strengthening the Indiana lead with every make.
The 6-foot-4, 220-pound combo guard put his athleticism and shooting prowess on display helping Indiana jump out to a 52-35 halftime lead before routing UNCP 111-62.
“When you play against this type of team, any flaws that you have will be exposed and really magnified,” said UNCP head coach Jason Tinsley.
“We have some flaws we need to work on: better dribble penetration, better job rebounding the basketball, better job getting around in front of the post.
IU shot 60 percent from the floor as a team hitting a mesmerizing 18 3-pointers.
Fellow Indiana freshman Brandon McGee scored all 18 of his points in the second half, including four shots from beyond the arc.
UNCP guard Jarrell Hunter showed why he should be in the running for preseason All-
Peach Belt Conference first team as the 6-foot-4 wingman nearly matched Gordon’s point total tallying 23 in a losing effort to the Hoosiers.
East Carolina transfer Jonathan Hart recorded 17 points for the Braves, his second straight exhibition game against a Division 1A opponent scoring in double figures.
The game against Indiana marked the second time in three years the Braves have faced Pembroke-alum Kelvin Sampson.
UNCP’s first matchup with Sampson came in 2005 when the Black and Gold traveled to Norman, Okla., to face the Oklahoma Sooners.
“I respect him a lot as a basketball coach, as a person for what he has done for this institution and what he’s done for UNCP basketball,” Tinsley said.
The Hoosiers utilized a 34-8 second half run to put the game away and made an unbelievable 13 shots in a row at one point.
Junior Jamarcus Ellis added 15 points and eight assists for Indiana.
IU held a 31-22 rebounding advantage over the Braves with six players listed at 6-foot-7 or taller on the Indiana roster.
In comparison, UNCP’s Matt Helmick, is the only player standing at 6-foot-7.