Pete DiPrimio, sports columnist and college beat writer for The News-Sentinel of Fort Wayne, Ind., takes his best shots on the world of Hoosier basketball.

Saturday, December 30

No Choking -- IU Handles Ball State

For a while, the Indiana Hoosiers fell in love with the three-point shot against Ball State, and could you blame them?

The Cardinals went with what was basically a five-guard lineup, then packed the interior to prevent IU from getting the ball inside to D.J. White.

So the Hoosiers started jacking up three-pointers (14 in the first half) until coach Kelvin Sampson tapped into his inner Bob Knight.

He threatened to choke them if they didn’t stop shooting three-pointers (yes, he was joking -- sort of). The biggest culprits were Rod Wilmont, A.J. Ratliff and Armon Bassett, who were a combined 2-for-9 from behind the arc in the first half.

“Rod is a streak shooter,” Sampson said. “A.J. is a streak shooter. They were open. It’s hard to tell kids that, at some point, you have to balance that inside.

“If you give Rod a three, guess what, he’ll probably shoot it. He’ll say, ‘Coach, I’m open.’ It’s hard to argue with him. Basically it’s shoot it as long as you make them. If you miss some, throw it inside to D.J.”

IU (9-3) did that well enough to see White finish with 16 points in its 71-57 victory. Next up is Ohio State in Tuesday’s Big Ten opening debut, and with 7-foot Greg Oden prowling the paint, don’t be surprised if the Hoosiers resort to a lot of three-pointers.

Unless, of course, Sampson carries out his threat.


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