Indiana freshman Eric Gordon has probably already faced the most venomous road crowd of his college career, but that doesn't mean Ohio State fans will be welcoming him with open arms.
Gordon and the 14th-ranked Hoosiers seek a second straight impressive road win on Sunday when they face the Buckeyes, whose only loss in their last 39 home games came against a team that was ranked No. 1 in the country.
The Hoosiers (19-3, 8-1 Big Ten) are coming off an 83-79 double-overtime win on Thursday at Illinois, where Gordon was loudly booed and heckled because he took back a verbal commitment to attend Illinois, instead enrolling at Indiana.
Gordon, an Indianapolis product like recent Ohio State stars Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., had only one point in the first half, shot just 3-of-13 for the game and committed seven turnovers. However, he finished with 19 points and hit a game-tying 3-pointer late in regulation to spark the Hoosiers.
"I wasn't really worried about it," Gordon said. "I was just trying to get a win. This was a big road win for us. We have to move on to the next game."
Illinois issued an apology on Friday for the fans' conduct, but Indiana had the last laugh anyway, as guard Armon Bassett had 11 points in the second overtime. D.J. White had 16 points and nine rebounds, while Jordan Crawford added 18 points off the bench.
"Our top players have got a lot of confidence and play with a lot of swagger, and this is really a good win for us and a step forward," Bassett said.
While Ohio State boasted perhaps the Big Ten's biggest stars in Oden and Conley last season, Indiana may have them in 2007-08 with Gordon and White, the league's top two scorers. Gordon averages 21.6 points and White adds 17.5 per game while averaging a conference-best 10.6 rebounds.
Indiana is one of just two one-loss teams in Big Ten play, while the Buckeyes (16-7, 7-3) sit in fifth place in the league.
But Ohio State enters Sunday's game having won four of five since a three-game losing streak, and nine a row at home since a 66-55 loss to then-No. 1 North Carolina. That Nov. 28 defeat ended the program's 29-game win streak in Columbus.
The Buckeyes beat Michigan 65-55 at home on Tuesday, as Othello Hunter had 15 points and 12 rebounds and freshman Jon Diebler added 14 points off the bench. Five Ohio State players scored in double figures, including freshman Kosta Koufos with 12.
The Buckeyes were clinging to a 52-50 lead with less than eight minutes to play, but finished the game on a 13-5 run to win their 19th straight Big Ten home game.
"I don't think there is a better college basketball environment than what we had in there tonight," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "I hope the fans went home thinking that they helped the Buckeyes win a game."
Matta's team has not lost a conference game at home since a double-overtime defeat to Michigan State on Jan. 15, 2006.
Indiana has lost two straight and four of five in Columbus, but these programs have alternated wins and losses in their last six meetings.