Gordon Struggles In Perhaps Final Game

Charles Thomas, Patrick Beverley

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Big Ten's leading scorer wasn't much of a factor Friday night.

Eric Gordon had enough trouble just trying to make a basket, make a 3-pointer and do the things that had come easily for him during his sensational freshman season.

In perhaps his final game as a Hoosier, Gordon continued his recent shooting slump, tying his season-low with eight points in Arkansas' 86-72 win in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in the RBC Center.

The Big Ten freshman of the year missed all six of his 3-point attempts, made only 2-of-6 free throws and shot 3-of-15 from the floor.

"I really couldn't hit (any) shots," Gordon said, clearly disappointed afterward. "They were basically clogging the lanes, so I wouldn't be able to drive. Really, you didn't see too many of us (Indiana players) drive."

Gordon entered the NCAA Tournament in a shooting slump, connecting on just 4-of-26 3-pointers and 16-of-48 field goals over his past three games.

He didn't do anything in the first half of Friday night's game to regain his confidence and rediscover his shooting touch.

Gordon started off by missing six of his first seven shots, including all three of his 3-pointers, to go into halftime with just two points.

Arkansas guards Patrick Beverley and Gary Ervin took turns defending Gordon, and the freshman phenom got his shot blocked several times by Arkansas center Steven Hill when he tried to drive to the basket.

"It was a team effort. We did the things necessary to try to limit him," Beverley said of Gordon. "Our defense was the key to our win."

There has been plenty of talk lately that Gordon, who averaged 21.3 points per game during the regular season, will leave Indiana after only one season to enter the NBA Draft.

Gordon wasn't about to make any final decisions about his future late Friday night.

"Indiana is a great university and I don't know," he said when asked if he would return to the Hoosiers for his sophomore season. "... I've just got to see what happens within the next year."

The freshman briefly came to life when he drove to the basket and dunked the ball over Hill, cutting the Razorbacks' lead to 53-49 with 10:02 remaining.

It was an aggressive move that Indiana interim coach Dan Dakich would have liked to have seen more of from Gordon. Instead, Gordon settled too often for shooting long-range 3-pointers that missed their mark.

Gordon appeared out of rhythm for much of the night, and he looked frustrated on several occasions when he felt he was fouled while shooting.

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