Here are the final stats/box score. It goes without saying that this was a tale of two halves. In the first half, IU's defense was as ineffective and lackluster as in any game since Sampson arrived. As Big Ten Wonk often noted, last season, IU's offense was underrated and defense was overrated. Still, however effective the defense was last year, the effort was always there. In the first half last night, the team looked lost and lackadaisical on the defensive end. Much to the credit of the team and the staff, they played very intense and effective defense in the second half.
The main story of the night was Eric Gordon, whose 33 points set a new IU record for points in a freshman debut game. Gordon managed 33 points on only 15 shots. He was 7-11 from three point range, often pulling up well beyond NBA range, played really well defensively (although committed four fouls), and also showed his ability to get to the basket, and fast. When watching a high school game involving a blue chip talent, it's always a bit disorienting. The elite player looks like he is playing a different game as compared to the typical high school players surrounding him. Gordon still looks like that. While the three pointers and the electrifying dunk at the beginning of the half justifiably will earn praise and publicity, the play that stuck out for me was a layup in traffic in the first half. Gordon went up for the basket with his body at a really strange angle, yet was able to stay under control and lay in a shot that most would have bricked off the back iron. Anyone who was worried that the hype might be unfounded can rest easy. He's really, really good.
As for the box: I was hoping the IU site would have a first half box score. While IU's offense was steady throughout, the defense rose up in the second half: Chattanooga shot 56 percent in the first half and 33 percent in the second half. By IU standards, this was a really fast-paced game--78.5 possessions if my math is correct. IU averaged about 64 last year and the national average was around 67. Using Ken Pomeroy's points per possession metric, IU allowed about 1.01 points per possession and scored 1.26 points per possession. Last year's national efficiency average was 1.02 points per possession, so when taken as a whole, IU's defense was about average and the offense was well above average. Of course, this was an overmatched opponent (although I was somewhat impressed and I don't think the Mocs will go 12-18 again), and the first half defense was brutal and cannot be repeated against quality opponents. Still, in such a fast-paced game, holding the Mocs to only 29 second half points was a meaningful possession.
As for the individuals, thanks in no small part to 31 free throw attempts, the offensive numbers are good. As noted above, Gordon managed 33 points on 15 shots. DJ White had 17 points on 7 shots. Armon Bassett had 20 points on 10 shots. Jordan Crawford managed 13 points on 7 shots. Jamarcus Ellis managed 5 points on 4 shots and Deandre Thomas had 11 points on 9 shots. The only guys on the negative side of the ledger were Lance Stemler and Brandon McGee, who each went scoreless on 2 shots.
Other stats: IU's offensive rebounding totals were uncharacteristically low for a Sampson team. IU pulled down only 5 of 25 misses for 20 percent. IU's OR pct. was 35 last season. The Mocs rebounded 33 percent of their misses, and this number is a bit off of IU's pace last year as well. This is something to watch. Defensively, the Mocs turned it over on about 20 percent of their possession, about on par with IU's defensive average last year. IU turned the ball over on 16.5 percent of possession as compared to 19 percent last year.