The last time Indiana lost a home game, its coach was working in the Big 12 and its leading scorer was a junior in high school.
Even though both weren’t involved in the defeat, though, Kelvin Sampson won’t have trouble reminding Eric Gordon and his teammates who the last team to win in Assembly Hall was.
The seventh-ranked Hoosiers (16-1, 5-0 Big Ten) look for their 29th straight home win Wednesday when they face Iowa, the last team to come out of Bloomington with a victory - nearly two years ago.
The Hawkeyes went into Assembly Hall ranked 18th on Feb. 11, 2006 and knocked off then-No. 24 Indiana 70-67. The Hoosiers haven’t lost on their home floor since, winning 28 in a row - the fourth-longest active home-court run in the country - including 12 straight conference games.
Sampson, in his second year at Indiana, has been on the sidelines for 26 of those victories since leaving Oklahoma after the 2006 NCAA tournament.
The Hoosiers have dominated during the streak, outscoring opponents by an average of 18.8 points.
They’ve been nearly as impressive during their current 12-game overall win streak, fourth-longest in the nation, winning by an average of 16.9 points.
Much of Indiana’s success can be attributed to a pair of freshmen guards, Jordan Crawford (12.1 points per game) and Gordon, who leads the Big Ten and is among the nation’s top 15 scorers with 22.4 points a game.
Gordon came through again in the Hoosiers’ 81-65 home win over Penn State on Sunday, scoring 25 points and grabbing six rebounds to help Indiana blow a close game open in the second half.
“Once we got to halftime, the quality of shots, the ball movement, was as good as we’ve played all year in the second half,” Sampson said. “We had maybe two turnovers. That’s just a high level of play. … The second half was outstanding at both ends.”
Gordon was touted as one of the nation’s top incoming freshman, and he hasn’t disappointed. He’s shooting 42.5 percent from 3-point range for a Hoosiers team that’s tops from beyond the arc (38.2 percent) in the Big Ten.
While Gordon has done some of his best work from the outside, senior D.J. White has done his in the paint. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 16.9 points, a conference-best 10.6 rebounds and has 11 double-doubles.
But White, who hasn’t been past the second round of the NCAA tournament, knows not to get too excited about the team’s 12-game win streak, its longest since winning 13 in a row in 1992-93.
“I feel good, but there is always a lot of work to be done,” White said.
Iowa (9-10, 2-4) opened the conference season with three straight defeats, including a 79-76 loss to Indiana on Jan. 2. The Hawkeyes, though, have won two of three since, including a 43-36 home victory over then-No. 6 Michigan State on Jan. 12.
They earned their first conference road win since Feb. 7 on Saturday, beating Michigan 68-60 thanks to a pair of big performances. Junior forward Cyrus Tate, who averages 6.5 points and 4.1 rebounds, had a career-high 21 points and 11 boards, while junior guard Tony Freeman scored a career-high 28.
“Coach (Todd Lickliter) tells us that we should play as a unit,” Tate said. “With all five guys we have to help each other out.”
Freeman, who leads the Hawkeyes with 16.6 points per game, is averaging 22.5 in his last four contests.
Senior guard Justin Johnson has struggled as Freeman has taken a more prominent role in the offense. After averaging 15.5 points in his first 15 games, Johnson is scoring 5.3 per contest and shooting 18.4 percent in his past four games.