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Eric Gordon had a miserable night in Illinois, but IU still walked away with a double-overtime win.
By Pat Forde
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois hit Eric Gordon
(and family) with everything it had Thursday night:
• More than 16,000 vengeful fans, who booed the Indiana freshman's every dribble for a solid 2 1/2 hours.
• A chippy chest bump from Illini guard Chester Frazier
during pregame introductions, rocking Gordon several feet backward.
• Intermittent chants of "Liar! Liar! Liar!"
• Relentless defense from as many as three different Illini players.
• And near the end of this double-overtime thriller, when nothing else was working, a handful of orange-and-blue beads were lobbed onto the heads of a courtside section of Indiana fans that included Gordon's parents. Ice, too. At least one IU fan had to be restrained from going after the orange-clad fans above.
Why the over-the-top antagonism? Let one of the Illinois students who showed up early and stayed late to hate on Gordon try to explain.
"He's the reason we're in this situation," the kid said. "He's the reason we've got a losing record."
You have to be good to make this many people act this petty. And Eric Gordon is very good.
To read more of Forde's column, click here.
By Kyle Whelliston
Special to ESPN.com
CLEVELAND -- Those who don't learn from Horizon League history are doomed to be surprised when it repeats.
You might have already forgotten that Wright State won the conference's autobid last season -- eventual Sweet 16 finisher Butler was an at-large invitee to the Big Dance after losing by five points to WSU in the 2007 title game. And lately, the Raiders have been playing every bit like the defending champions they are.
On Thursday night, Wright State and Cleveland State (the only two teams in the nation to have beaten No. 11 Butler this season) faced off at CSU's Wolstein Center, and the visitors jumped out to a 12-2 lead on the way to a 55-49 victory. It was the Raiders' seventh straight win, avenging an earlier home loss to the Vikings and cementing a second-place standing in the Horizon at 8-4 (16-6 overall), a game and a half behind idle Butler (9-2).
The Raiders' success is all the more surprising on account of the graduation loss of 2007 Horizon POY Dashaun Wood, whose 19.6 points per game last season were more than the team's second- and third-leading scorers combined. But those two former runner-ups, sophomore guards Vaughn Duggins
and Todd Brown
, are stepping up to provide Wright State with a new generation of leadership. The underclassman backcourt duo is contributing 28.5 points per game, and both shoot better than 41 percent from 3. Duggins and Brown each scored 12 points in the Cleveland State win to lead all scorers.
"Those guys were role players last year," said head coach Brad Brownell of his two leading scorers. "As the year's gone on, those kids have become more confident and more comfortable. Without Dashaun, we've had to become a better overall team."
By Jason McCallum
• In its last 89 games, Indiana
has played in only two overtime games. Both were against Illinois, both were decided by four points and each of the schools has won once.
• Wright State
won its seventh straight game with a 65-59 win at Cleveland State on Thursday. It is the 12th conference game of the season for Raiders and only the fourth that was decided by six points or more. The Raiders are 8-4 in Horizon League play, but in those 12 games they've only outscored their opponents by a cumulative score of 725-711.
, a charter member of the ACC, won at Virginia 82-51 on Thursday night. The 31-point margin was the largest in an ACC road game in school history.
• K.C. Rivers
of Clemson scored a career-high 32 points and made a career-high eight 3-pointers in the rout of the Cavaliers. Along the way, he didn't have a single assist. He's the 24th player this season to record at least 32 points without an assist in a Division I game.
• Austin Peay's Todd Babington
scored a career-high 27 points in the Governors' 72-52 win at Eastern Illinois. Austin Peay is 6-1 when Babington scores more than 20 points.
• Kevin Lisch
of Saint Louis scored a season-high 25 points in the Billikens' 70-68 loss to Xavier. The junior guard scored 12 of his season-high in a furious 40-second span late in the game. Down by six points with 52 seconds remaining, Lisch hit three shots from beyond the arc and had a conventional three-point play to tie the game at 68 with 12 seconds remaining. Xavier got a tip-in with 0.1 seconds remaining for the win, but the effort of note was Lisch. He's had seven games this season in which he scored fewer than the 12 he had in that 40-second stretch.
• UMass' Gary Forbes
had 26 points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots in the Minutemen's 78-76 win over Rhode Island. He is only the sixth player in Division I this season to reach those totals in a conference game.
• Lester Hudson
of Tennessee-Martin scored a career-high 38 points in the Skyhawks' 91-80 win over Tennessee State. He also had nine rebounds, six assists and four steals during the contest. Only 10 players have scored 35 points and dished out five assists in the same game in Division I play this season. Hudson and VMI's Reggie Williams
are the only players to do it twice.
made only 11 free throws in its 67-59 win at Washington State. Over the last decade, the Bruins have made 11 or fewer free throws in 33 conference road games -- and they are 13-20 in those games. They are, however, 5-0 at Washington State in such games.
• UNC-Greensboro's Kyle Hines
had 22 points, 12 rebounds and seven blocked shots in the Spartans' 59-56 home loss to Wofford. John Bryant
of Santa Clara and Jason Thompson
of Rider are the only other players in Division I to reach those totals in a single game this season. Both of the other players, however, led their team to victory.