Kentucky-Indiana, updates . . .

Player of the Game: Scott Martin.

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Final: Indiana 104, Kentucky 87
It’s all over but the cryin’. And I reckon there will be none of that because this is just the Indiana-Kentucky All-Star game.

Got a pick for MVP? It won’t be easy, that’s for sure. Gordon seems as likely as anyone to win it because he put up the points (19) and is in his home town. It would be a popular choice.

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4:15, second half: Indiana 96, Kentucky 73

Four minutes left in a meaningless game which his team already leads by 20 and Eric Gordon is running his defender all over the court. Kid just loves to play basketball.

Gordon took a feed off a set play and went baseline to draw a foul. He hit both free throws and now has what I believe to be a game high 17 points.

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5:50, second half: Indiana 89, Kencutky 69

Finally, a Gordon jam. He broke in from the right side of the basket and went up high for a reverse dunk, pleasing the crowd.

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6:00, second half: Indiana 87, Kentucky 69

Full disclosure: I sort of stopped watching, and Kentucky sort of made a little bit of a run.

But Indiana is back in control after a couple of nice gives and goes leading to jams by Howard.

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12:20, second half: Indiana 72, Kentucky 47

Gordon’s got 11 points. Baskets just seem to follow him around. Maybe he’s set such a high wow standard for himself that when he’s just an acceptable scoring guard we’re let down.

Bad news: Kentucky is already in the double-bonus, meaning this game could stretch deep into the night. Kentucky, by the way, is full-court pressing.

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15:51, second half: Indiana 58, Kentucky 38

This is my first experience with Indiana-Kentucky, but I wonder if the talent discrepancy between the two teams has ever been this pronounced. Indiana has two players headed to Indiana, four to Purdue, two to Butler and one each to Wake Forest and DePaul.

Kentucky has one player headed to Louisville and one to Notre Dame, while the rest are headed for mid-majors.

Interestingly, the Indianapolis Star, which sponsors this event, did a story today questioning the viability of this event in its current form. It’s worth check ing out, right here.

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Gordon takes a pass on the opening possession of the half and goes strong to the rim. He’s fouled and hits both free throws. He’s now got eight points.

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Tell you what would make little to no sense: taking this game right now and lending it — as well as Eric Gordon’s current struggles in it — too much credence. But, we’re here and there doesn’t seem to be much else to do. So let’s pretend for now that what happens as this game continues is some sort of window into Eric Gordon’s basketball soul.

He’s got just a few points and at least as many turnovers. He’s pressing every time he has the ball because he desperately wants to wow the home crowd in what will really be his last game of this sort (he’ll play a few games with the other IU recruits this summer, but they are usually smaller in scope.) His shot is off, his burn to get the lane isn’t working like it usually does and he’s playing on a team that has other guys who are not only able to pick up the scoring but more than willing to take his chances if he’s not going to put points on the board.

So, how will young Gordon react? Does he come out and try something a little different? Does he concentrate on defense and pester the other team’s top scorers? Does he look to make more passes? Does he become more vocal with his teammates, trying to lead with words because his deeds aren’t what they usually are?

We’ll see.

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Half: Indiana 47, Kentucky 31

Bathroom break. Be right back.

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2:55, first half: Indiana 37, Kentucky 29

Let me take a moment to give some props to the officials in this game. They’re going after it as if this is game seven of an NBA Finals. They’re after the players following each minor misstep, reminding them to behave.

I take their seriousness to mean they are not bitter in the least about missing out on this perfect summer evening, which could possibly be better spent at, oh, I don’t know, Taste of Bloomington sampling delicious foods and beverages. Kudos to these guys, and anyone else here, who has made this considerable sacrifice.

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5:55, first half: Indiana 32, Kentucky 21

Gordon just hit his first 3-pointer as Indiana — are you prepared to read this about this type of game? — is using defensive pressure to beat up Kentucky and get easy baskets at the other end.

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7:31, first half: Indiana 26, Kentucky 21

The ONE that got away? If you had to pick just ONE?
All four Purdue kids are going to be good players, and in the end the four of those guys playing together and being together multiple years may do more for the Boilermakers than one season of Gordon can do for the Hoosiers.

But if there was a way to pluck one kid from this game and put him in Hoosiers’ colors, Matt Howard would be as good a choice as anybody. He’s a 6-7 center bound for Butler. He plays bigger and quicker than he is. He knows how to rebound and is a superb passer in the lane. He’s creative and aggressive and very conscious on defense. Just a really nice all-around player.

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8:23, first half: Indiana 26, Kentucky 21

About that Gordon kid ya’ll are here to hear about: he’s got two points, both free throws, and a single rebound.

Eshaunte Jones, the other IU-bound player in this game (he’ll get there in 2008), just came in and missed a 3-pointer.

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10:09 left, first half: Indiana 19, Kentucky 19

More on Walls: when we went down to Georgetown to interview Bud Mackey, Walls was out of town dealing with the death of a grandparent (it’s been a long week and I can’t recall which one. Sorry.) Anyway, Hicks was really struggling with figuring out how to use Walls and Mackey together.

He obviously figured it out, and from what I understood it was by moving Mackey to point guard and allowing Walls to freelance a little more at the 2. But Walls has been running the point here and shows every sign of being a really solid MAC-level player for the next four years.

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The Indiana Fever Inferno, a dance team made, it appears, primarily of 14-year-olds just performed for the crowd.

Even if I had the rhythm to try to imitate what they just did out there, I would hurt myself badly.

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12:19 left, first half: Kentucky 17, Indiana 16
Indiana still isn’t really playing, you know, basketball yet. It’s really just finding ways to score each time down the court, while Kentucky seems to have a plan and is able to execute it right now. Indiana is the far more talented and athletic team and will probably get this figured out and minute.

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15:26 left, first half: Kentucky 14, Indiana 12

Johnson with a big dunk and Martin with a rebound and mid-range put back to pull Indiana within two.

Matt Walls, who played with Bud Mackey on the Scott County team that won a Kentucky state title last season, is an interesting player. Cardinals coach Billy Hicks really thought he deserved consideration from the major schools but he’ll play at Marshall next year.

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Kentucky 14, Indiana 8

Indiana is definitely feeling the weight of playing at home early, as they look like a bunch of dudes who just met on the playground seven minutes ago. Martin got the rim for one 3-point play, Hahn hit a 3-pointer and Gordon finally said enough and went to the lane to get fouled. He hit both free throws to help Indiana get back in it.
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Much to the delight of the seemingly endless string of Indiana fans who hate Purdue, Moore has turned the ball over twice.

But Gordon has missed both 3-pointers he’s taken, and Kentucky is out to a 7-0 lead.

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The next time Gordon plays in this arena he could be wearing an NBA jersey. Indiana has played several games here in the past but this year might not line up for that to happen.

The crowd does love him, though. He’s starting with E’Twaun Moore, Zach Hahn, Scott Martin and Matt Howard.

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Team Indiana is getting a full Pacers-style intro. Lights are dimmed and gigantic disco-ball lights are spinning around the arena.

Think Eric Gordon will get the loudest ovation? It’s probably a safe bet.

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Conseco Field House is not exactly brimming here for the finale of the Indiana-Kentucky series. Only the bottom of the seating bowl is open and it’s a little more than half full.

The crowd just observed a moment of silence for Terry Hoeppner. Classy move. More on the Hoeppner ceremony later, by the way.

For now, let’s stick to basketball.

4 comments

  1. I would assume he would probably step on the field house floor for the big ten tourney….. but that must just be wishful thinking

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