CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP)—Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson didn’t like the way the Hoosiers played their first game as a ranked team.
Rich McBride scored 15 points to lead Illinois to a 51-43 victory over No. 23 Indiana on Tuesday night, the Illini’s first win against a ranked opponent in five tries this season.
“I didn’t like our identity tonight,” Sampson said. “I know that we just got ranked … But we’re not the kind of team that if we don’t play with a chip on our shoulder or an edge, we’re just not very good.”
D.J. White scored 12 points for Indiana (14-5, 4-2 Big Ten), which had a five-game winning streak snapped.
Both teams had horrific shooting nights as Indiana was just 17-for-44 (39 percent) and Illinois was 17-for-42 (40 percent).
The Illini (15-7, 3-4) held the Hoosiers without a field goal for almost 9 minutes—from the 12:21 mark in the first half until the 39 seconds remained. After Earl Calloway hit a 3-pointer to give Indiana an 18-11 lead, the Hoosiers went cold from the field missing their next nine shots.
Mike White ended the drought with a jumper to tie the game at 23-all heading into the half.
“Their defense was good,” Sampson said. “I didn’t think our offense was very good either.”
Illinois opened the second half with a 10-2 run highlighted by two 3-pointers by McBride. Indiana rallied back to close to 39-37 on Armon Bassett’s jumper with 6:07 left.
The Illini answered with a 10-0 spurt to put the game away.
Illinois Bruce Weber said the credit belonged to his defense.
“I just like how they fought,” he said.
The game was Sampson’s first trip to Champaign since a fall recruiting controversy over Indianapolis high schooler Eric Gordon. Gordon orally committed to Illinois in late 2005, then reconsidered and eventually committed to Indiana.
The Big Ten has said Sampson broke no rules by recruiting a player who had already orally committed to another school. But Illini fans showered Sampson with boos as he entered and exited the court.
As the game wound down, Illinois’ student section hit Sampson with a chorus of “Cheaters never win.”
Both coaches said too much was made by news media of the recruiting incident.
“That’s not nearly as big a deal as you guys make it out to be,” Sampson said.