Notebook: Sheehey’s offense returns

012413564For the last three games, many of the stories written about Indiana basketball have focused on the Hoosiers’ lack of bench production. For a team expected to be so deep in the preseason, the Hoosiers have struggled to get much offense out of players other than their starters during the Big Ten season.

And while the bench as a whole still had some problems in No. 7 Indiana’s 72-49 win over Penn State on Wednesday night at Assembly Hall, the bench’s most key member broke out of his mini-offensive slump.

Will Sheehey, who didn’t score in games against Minnesota and Wisconsin and had only six points Sunday against Northwestern, scored 12 points and made two huge 3-pointers in the first half to break Penn State’s spirit. Sheehey made 4-of-6 shots in all, including all three of his 3-pointers in 24 minutes of action.

“It was Sheehey hitting 3s,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said of the game getting away from his team late in the first half. “Usually he is a good mid-range jump shooter. That team has a lot of talent and you can’t take everything away. Sheehey made two 3s and it opened everything up.”

Sheehey’s back-to-back long balls softened the Penn State zone and opened things up for other people. It was 23-14 before he made his first one. Four minutes and 30 seconds later, it was 41-19 and the rout was on.

“That’s who Will is, that’s what Will brings,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean. “He’s one of our best players, he really is.”

The majority of Hoosier Nation is likely talking about Sheehey’s return today. But if you ask Sheehey, he’d say he never went anywhere.

“I never think about that kind of stuff,” Sheehey said of not scoring for two straight games. “If you see me not playing hard on the defensive end, that’s when something’s wrong. It’s never gonna happen.”

Zeller scores career-low

In Tuesday afternoon’s press conferences, assistant coach Kenny Johnson unknowingly foreshadowed what was to come a day later.

“When Cody Zeller doesn’t score 20 points, people wonder what’s wrong with Cody Zeller,” he said. “But when you have five guys averaging in double figures, not everybody can score.”

Well, that was the case against Penn State, and some may be asking what is wrong with Zeller. The sophomore center had a career-low two points on 0-of-4 shooting in 21 minutes. Zeller did have eight rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots, but he also turned the ball over four times.

“Cody did a lot of other things to impact the game,” said junior guard Victor Oladipo. “That’s why he’s such a great player. Just cause he doesn’t score a lot, yeah he might be having a slow night on offense, but he’s doing what it takes to win.”

Added Crean: “They’ve got to guard him, and there are numerous people that are around him. He facilitates for others. He didn’t really look for that many opportunities to score. I’m not concerned about that, he will. He’s got constant team attention. It’s not like they assign one person and leave him alone with Cody. He may be guarded by one person, but everyone knows when he has the ball defensively and they play accordingly.”

Still, a look down the Indiana section of the box score was a little bit surprising. The Hoosiers got outstanding shooting performances from guys they normally don’t — i.e. Sheehey and Yogi Ferrell, who were a combined 6-of-7 from beyond the arc.

It certainly came as a surprise to Chambers.

“You’re playing percentages, you’re trying to take certain things away,” he said. “Your biggest concern is [Christian] Watford. And my biggest concern is Hulls. You know what Cody’s gonna do. You already know that, put it in the book. But Hulls has been a Nittany Lion killer since I took this job.”

Etc.

· Strong second half: The Hoosiers have struggled in the second halves of some of their recent games, but that wasn’t a problem on Wednesday night. Indiana kept the foot on the gas and outscored Penn State 39-30 after halftime.

“It seems like everybody in the country thinks we don’t have good second halves,” Oladipo said. “That’s their opinion, that’s fine, that’s what they see. … We’re not trying to beat Penn State, we’re trying to beat everybody in the country.”

· Play defense, can’t lose?: After the win over the Nittany Lions, Crean and the Indiana players talked extensively about the importance of their effort on the defensive end. The Hoosiers allowed only 49 points, the fewest they’ve allowed in the conference season to this point.

“When you play defense, when you talk, when you just have a complete defensive effort, you’re not gonna lose,” Sheehey said. “And if you do, then you’ve just got to tip your hat and say, ‘next game.’ I don’t think in our two losses that we’ve done that.”

· Crean talks Super Bowl: As you’ve probably heard, Crean’s brother-in-laws Jim (49ers) and John (Ravens) are coaching against each other in next month’s NFL Super Bowl. While Crean admitted it was cool to see both of them in the big game, he knows it won’t be easy to watch it.

“It’ll be hard,” he said. “It was really hard for Joani on Thanksgiving. That’s extremely hard. It’s not, one’s gonna win and one’s gonna lose. No, one is gonna have the most ultimate moment professionally and one is gonna be very down from the result. The thing that makes it a unique family is the one that’s on the top of the mountain that day is going to feel a lot worse for the one that isn’t.”

· Injury update: Guard Maurice Creek played for the first time since Dec. 15 on Wednesday night, but he did not score in 13 minutes. Crean said he still has not made it through a full practice. Forward Derek Elston dressed but did not play as he continues to deal with a lingering knee injury.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I let out a huge sigh of relief when he knocked down his first 3. I started screaming like a maniac when he drained his second. The second was all rope too. Pretty shot.

  • Tyler Howard

    I am glad he produced last night, but his offense returned because he was playing a poor team. We will see what he does during the Michigan St game, he needs to produce when playing a top team

  • Eastwood88_2

    Bad team or not, he had wide open looks the past three games and missed. This was a huge confidence builder. If you don’t see that,then you are missing the point.

  • chiv86

    The thing I noticed the most with Sheehey last night was he kept flashing into the middle of the zone PSU was playing. He got the ball in there 2-3 times and was able to dish it out when they collapsed. I like seeing him attack this way and open up opportunities for others.

  • HoosierPat

    It was good to see Sheehey playing at a high level again. He brings a lot of energy and confidence off the bench. Now they need to get Remy Abell going again.

  • chiswede

    Abell looked worse than ever last night. Now he can’t catch or run.

  • chiswede

    Abell looked worse than ever last night. Now he can’t catch or run.

  • calbert40

    Sure, we need him to produce against tougher competition, but last night was important for him and the team. For whatever reason, Will had been in a real funk, and most of the time, that is mental and self-inflicted. Getting out of that type of funk is important regardless of whether you are playing Penn St or Michigan St.

  • jermhoosierfan

    If Sheehey is truly on track offensively now, I now have confidence as they face the meat of their schedule. There might be only one game left that I don’t have any worries about. Starting Sunday, the intensity should be turned up to 11 the rest of the way. Two weekends in a row will bring in Michigan’s best teams which will be a slug fest in both games. The Feb 2nd against the Wolverines will be a good one which I expect to win with the offenses being about a wash, but Hoosier defense being the key. Defense wins championships. I am glad that they are preaching D.

  • Ben Ancelet

    Good win, glad to see Yogi getting his shot going and Will return to form. This may be a bit nit-picky but something I’d like to see more of is substitutions when the game is clearly out of reach. We were never up by less than 20 points after the under 8 timeout. Why not get Perea, JH, and Remy some solid game situation minutes there? And Oladipo and Watford still in with :20 left. What if they pull a Wes Welker/Gronkowsky and get injured for the year in a blowout that they had no business still being in the game for?

  • marcusgresham

    Even though they’re talented, Michigan doesn’t worry me as much as some other teams because I don’t expect Michigan to try and slow things down.

  • HoosierDD

    Happy to see Sheehey get his shot back, we’re going to need him against MSU on Sunday. I’m pumped for this game! Especially to see Gary Harris come to AH, think there might be a few boos for him? I do think GH is the x-factor for whether or not MSU can be successful on Sunday. When he’s on, hitting the 3, and driving to the rim MSU looks like a Final Four team. Sometimes though, for whatever reason, he doesn’t get nearly as involved offensively, and when this happens MSU is just another really good team.

  • HoosierDD

    Happy to see Sheehey get his shot back, we’re going to need him against MSU on Sunday. I’m pumped for this game! Especially to see Gary Harris come to AH, think there might be a few boos for him? I do think GH is the x-factor for whether or not MSU can be successful on Sunday. When he’s on, hitting the 3, and driving to the rim MSU looks like a Final Four team. Sometimes though, for whatever reason, he doesn’t get nearly as involved offensively, and when this happens MSU is just another really good team.

  • sloan screen #45

    Sheehey had good elevation on his shot again. When he does that and goes up straight he is a good shooter. Not so good when leaning or floating.

  • PB

    I think Zeller needs to do more to look for his shot, but a lot of his problem last night was that when ever Zeller got the ball inside of 15 ft, PSU would collapse on him. I think this is part of the reason why we got so many open looks from 3.

  • achurt

    I’m less concerned with the injuries, and more concerned with the development of Perea and Hollowell. I’ve been thinking the same thing all year in games with large leads. Our bench right now is highly questionable. Those two guys starting to realize their potential would make the bench solid. In Perea’s case – it would give us an added dimension we don’t have… a potential shot blocking and rebounding machine.

  • achurt

    I’m less concerned with the injuries, and more concerned with the development of Perea and Hollowell. I’ve been thinking the same thing all year in games with large leads. Our bench right now is highly questionable. Those two guys starting to realize their potential would make the bench solid. In Perea’s case – it would give us an added dimension we don’t have… a potential shot blocking and rebounding machine.

  • MillaRed

    The FTs were irritating. Cody being quiet not so fun. The officiating was downright embarrassing. But what disturbed me the most is Remy. He is actually getting worse. All in his head. Hopefully he figures it out.

  • MillaRed

    The Hoosier Nation is quick to judge. CTC has figured that out. And if one of those two would have went down with an injury, he would have been dragged to the town square. I don’t get it either.

  • MillaRed

    Northwestern isn’t exactly a juggernaut. He struggled there too. Not sure you are on the right track. Kids go through slumps. He will be fine.

  • MillaRed

    If Will does his thing and Yogi continues to shoot well the sky is the limit for this team. Let’s hope this is the norm for the rest of the season.

  • Sdpolley

    The way the year started i thought remy might end up being a huge asset. I hate speaking ill of our players especially some of the older guys that came here when there was no reason to. That being said and remy being the 2nd guy off our bench the way he has been playing lately has me very concerned. Since big ten play started his play has made me wonder if he would be getting meaningful minutes on any other top 10 team. He would certainly benefit from not having to play point ( he just looks uncomfortable dribbling even without ball pressure) I think coach crean might be seeing this too from when Vic was playing the one spot last night while jordy and yogi were on the bench.

  • sloan screen #45

    Very good comment Hoosier DD. Well thoughtout points you make here. See this how you respond with a respectful reply. I respect your opinion on MSU. If I did not agree with this post I would probably read it, might vote down and then move on. Please, TAKE NOTE.

  • Ben Ancelet

    I was always of the mind that once a game is out of reach you put in the younger and less skilled players to try and build confidence. If we are going to hang #6 this year then Remy, JH, Creek, and possibly Perea will have to step up at some point in the tourney. Games like last night are perfect to get them some experience and develop their skills and get some confidence. It was a missed opportunity in my opinion. And with the upcoming schedule I doubt there will be many opportunities for them to get garbage time minutes.

  • Tom Coverdale for 3!!!

    This isnt important at all but does it bother anyone else when Perea is on the floor and all he does is play with his shorts!? It drives me crazy.

  • PDXHoosier

    I thought the bench got solid minutes last night, and CTC had a whole bunch of different line-up combos we don’t usually see. So I’m not too worried about HMP, JH, and Remy’s PT. But, I agree, clear the bench for the last few minutes.

  • achurt

    Yes. Tie that drawstring.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    I didn’t “get” it in games against cupcakes, but I think last night was about sending a message to his players: we will finish the second half. I felt a little bad for PSU and I wanted Perea and Hollowell to get minutes, but after how we performed in previous second halves, I didn’t mind it (although I cringed a couple of times when Oladipo and Watford went down hard).

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Someone besides Jordy has to hit 3s for our team to truly be great. Victor has been red hot (I have finally gotten to the point where when he takes one, I think that it’s going in), but he doesn’t get as many open looks as Yogi (and possibly Will). If teams can’t back off Yogi, then we’re in business.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    Someone besides Jordy has to hit 3s for our team to truly be great. Victor has been red hot (I have finally gotten to the point where when he takes one, I think that it’s going in), but he doesn’t get as many open looks as Yogi (and possibly Will). If teams can’t back off Yogi, then we’re in business.

  • Remy Willing and Abell

    Yeah my boy Remy looks way outta control ! I’m not sure if Perera is getting any better … He doesn’t seem to be making as many mistakes , but other than that I just don’t know . This ” movement ” really hasn’t done much , Yogi is awesome , Hollowell seems disinterested , Perera looks lost , and Jurkin might as well red shirt his stats aren’t much better than Pattersons . I don’t mean to be a Debbie downer , But we are far from making hockey line shifts out there .

  • CreanFaithful

    Same can be said for Remy, Milla… He hasn’t played well the last few games, but as you said, slumps. His body of work this year speaks to his individual improvements since last year. He will perform again and all these nay Sayers will start talking about what a great bench asset he is… Again.

  • A TRAIN

    it was gr8 to see will hittin again.. for us to contend for big ten we need our veterans to b consistent especially since our bench isnt producing..i think remy has lost all his motor skills or maybe hes concussed…i hope he bounces back soon… id like to c hllowell get some more minutes, i still think he can do some good things for us this year…and finally it was awesome seeing yogi drain some threes if he keeps that up the hoosiers wll b tough to beat…go iu

  • A TRAIN

    it was gr8 to see will hittin again.. for us to contend for big ten we need our veterans to b consistent especially since our bench isnt producing..i think remy has lost all his motor skills or maybe hes concussed…i hope he bounces back soon… id like to c hllowell get some more minutes, i still think he can do some good things for us this year…and finally it was awesome seeing yogi drain some threes if he keeps that up the hoosiers wll b tough to beat…go iu

  • CreanFaithful

    I don’t think his shorts are loose…. It’s more of a nervous tic. He does it constantly. Still trying to get comfortable, which clearly, he is not.

  • Ole Man

    Their coach said almost exactly what you wrote; they chose to collapse, or as he said, “pick your poison”.
    So you are right on!

  • Ole Man

    Their coach said almost exactly what you wrote; they chose to collapse, or as he said, “pick your poison”.
    So you are right on!

  • Beard

    Remy has had a few down games in a row but relax, he would be starting on several other teams and getting more playing time on others. He went the first 3 games without missing a shot at all and he is a huge defensive contributor in the backcourt when he is in. His ballhandling has looked suspect and he had a few turnovers against psu but he will come back just like Hulls after his 0 for 10 performance shooting. Our bench will come together and we will have the depth to compete against anyone if we can stay injury free or at least to a minimum. Let’s put it together Sunday and get a good win at home.

  • Beard

    Remy has had a few down games in a row but relax, he would be starting on several other teams and getting more playing time on others. He went the first 3 games without missing a shot at all and he is a huge defensive contributor in the backcourt when he is in. His ballhandling has looked suspect and he had a few turnovers against psu but he will come back just like Hulls after his 0 for 10 performance shooting. Our bench will come together and we will have the depth to compete against anyone if we can stay injury free or at least to a minimum. Let’s put it together Sunday and get a good win at home.

  • Beard

    100% agree, it was great to see Yogi getting some good outside looks and taking them with confidence. Honestly, I like him as our #1 option driving and then dishing to cody or popping it back out to Hulls or Watford with Oladipo slashing in for the board, as well as Cody inside for a board obviously. Back to the point though, let’s get perea, and hollowell and how about Jurkin some playing time. They will definitely benefit the team much more with more playing experience and Perea is starting to come along I think, just needs to be in better position defensively to help out.

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