Illinois apologizes for 'profanity and behavior' aimed at Gordon

Updated: February 8, 2008, 9:12 PM ET
Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois athletic officials apologized Friday after fans greeted Indiana freshman Eric Gordon with obscene chants and curses during the Hoosiers' double overtime win.

[+] EnlargeEric Gordon
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesIllinois apologized for its fans' behavior toward Indiana's Eric Gordon, who had made a verbal commitment to the Illini before changing his mind and going to the Hoosiers.

"The profanity and behavior by a small segment of fans Thursday night is disappointing and intolerable, and for that we apologize to fans of both teams," Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther and coach Bruce Weber said in a statement posted Friday on the men's basketball Web site.

Gordon was making his first appearance at Assembly Hall since reneging on a verbal commitment to play for the Illini. Students chanted "Liar! Liar!" and obscenities, booed every time he touched the ball and cheered every mistake.

He was sloppy early on, but came through late for the Hoosiers, hitting a clutch 3-pointer late in regulation to help send No. 13 Indiana (No. 14 AP) to an 83-79 victory. Gordon finished with 19 points, all but one of them after halftime.

Guenther and Weber said in the statement that they take the reputation of Illini basketball seriously and "the game has been somewhat diminished by inappropriate behavior by a number of fans in attendance."

Gordon and the Hoosiers (19-3, 8-1 Big Ten) are in contention for a Big Ten title. The Illini (10-14, 2-9) are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 1999.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press