Thoughts at halftime

Sampson speaks to Gordon.

OK, let’s start with the obvious. D.J. White is keeping the Hoosiers in this game, with some help from Jordan Crawford, who has played better in big games than Eric Gordon. White, Crawford and Armon Bassett have 22 of IU’s 25 points.

It’s also obvious that the crowd and situation are in Gordon’s head. He got bumped by Chester Frazier before the game even started (bush league move) and has tried to do to much when he has the ball. So far that’s resulted in 0-for-4 shooting with a couple of bad shots, two turnovers and no points. The crowd as a whole really hasn’t been as intense as I expected, but there have been a couple of F&*k Gordon chants from the upper level that don’t reflect well on the Illini fans.

I thought Kyle Taber looked better in filling a role at the 4 spot than Stemler and certainly Thomas in the first half. A zone defense and Taber may be the answers to improving IU’s defense and its play at power forward.

This looks like a game that will go down to the wire. The Illini have lost nine of their last 11 games and three of four at home, but they got the lead tonight with some early good 3-point shooting. They are, however, the league’s worst 3-point shooting team on the season and that started to show as they continued to rely heavily on the 3 as the half wore on. If they’re smart – which is questionable – they’ll work the ball into Shaun Pruitt and try to get D.J. to pick up his third foul early in the second half.

IU shot 45.5 percent in the first half to 37.9 for Illinois, so if the Hoosiers don’t win, I hope we don’t hear the “we missed good shots” excuse after the game.