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December 3, 2007
After that, he had no choice but to keep shooting.
"My teammates did a good job getting me the ball early," said White, who scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the 15th-ranked Hoosiers' 84-72 victory over Tennessee State on Monday night. "I had to step up. Our leading scorer, our playmaker got hurt, and we all knew we had to step up and play."
The Hoosiers (7-1) led early by as many as 19 points, but Gordon left the game with about 6 minutes left in the first half after he fell hard to the floor, bruising his lower back. He was taken for precautionary X-rays and is expected back for Saturday's game against Kentucky, coach Kelvin Sampson said.
"He'll be fine," Sampson said. "Even if he could have played, I wouldn't have brought him back in. He's been playing a lot of minutes. ... We'll get him back."
With Gordon gone, the Tigers (2-4) rallied within seven points before two straight 3-pointers by Indiana's Lance Stemler. Two free throws by Jamarcus Ellis then gave Indiana a 73-58 lead and Tennessee State came no closer than 12 points the rest of the way.
White, a 6-foot-9 senior whose previous high was 23 points, was perfect in eight shots from the field in the first half and finished 11-of-16 overall. He was 7-of-9 from the free throw line and had four blocked shots.
"It's not about points. It's about winning," White said. "They were giving me open looks. I had a couple shots from the perimeter; I was fouled on one and hit one. You just take what they give you."
Mike White finished with 11 points, Ellis had 10 and Stemler finished with nine for Indiana, which held on for its 22nd straight victory in Assembly Hall.
"D.J.'s gotten better every game," Sampson said. "He's starting to play. Our kids did a good job getting the ball to him. Even the five shots he missed, he got open looks."
Bruce Price, who led Tennessee State's comeback, scored a career-high 34 points, all but six after the 6-4 Gordon left the game.
Tennessee State coach Cy Alexander said the Tigers' pressing defense affected Indiana in the second half.
"We saw some tapes that showed they may have some problems against it, along with the fact that Gordon got hurt," he said of the comeback. "We wanted to try to use it to get a spurt and get some easy baskets.
"It was an uphill battle all the way, and I thought our kids fought," he said.
Gordon, who had played all 40 minutes in the past two games, finished with eight points, the first time in his college career he scored fewer than 20.
Gordon was 1-of-4 from the field and was knocked to the court as he passed off to White, who was fouled and hit both free throws for a 36-17 lead. Gordon remained in the game briefly, but he left limping shortly after that.
The Tigers took advantage of Gordon's absence and cut Indiana's lead to 40-28 with three straight 3-pointers by Price, the man Gordon had been guarding.
Brandon McGee then hit the Hoosiers' first 3-pointer after eight straight misses, and they kept the lead at 16 until a last-second 3-pointer by Price made it 48-35 at halftime.
Price's fifth 3-pointer pulled Tennessee State to 53-42 early in the second half, and a fast-break basket by Gerald Robinson cut Indiana's lead under double digits for the first time since the early minutes of the game.
The two 3-pointers by Stemler and another by Armon Bassett minutes later padded the Hoosiers' lead, and the Tigers never recovered.
Darius Cox added eight points for Tennessee State.
For more coverage of Indiana, visit InsideIndiana.com.