Indiana overcomes slow start in 79-39 rout of Hillsdale

  • 11/05/2013 12:39 am in

With Indiana trailing 13-5 at the under-12 timeout in the first half against Hillsdale (Mich.) College on Monday evening, silence took over Assembly Hall.

Fans were witnessing the Hoosiers — the defending Big Ten champions — trail by eight points to a Division II school (Hillsdale led 13-2 at one point). Indiana’s own players were quiet, but they were not disappointed. They were determined to shake off their bad start.

Indiana followed that timeout with 11:37 remaining in the first half by producing a 74-26 run that lasted until the final buzzer, topping the Chargers by 40 points in the Hoosiers’ final exhibition of the preseason.

“We knew what we wanted to do — we had a gameplan — but we just weren’t as active as we needed to be,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said after the game. “So the mind was right but the activity wasn’t great.”

In that huddle, with the team down eight points and already with six turnovers, Crean and his staff emphasized the need to stick together and raise their effort, both offensively and defensively.

After that timeout, Indiana went on to outscore the Chargers 28-11 for the remainder of the half.

“I think we can just learn from that to not get down early,” sophomore Yogi Ferrell said, “Because especially when we get into conference play, once you’re down, you’re down for a while.”

The way Indiana came back from that timeout, though, is what stood out in Crean’s mind. In those final 28 minutes, the Hoosiers forced 14 turnovers and deflected the ball 64 times. Indiana ended the game with 13 steals, three more than in their earlier exhibition against Southern Indiana.

As Crean said on Sunday, his team needed to learn that its defense — not only its offense — truly creates scoring opportunities. Well, it appears his team is slowly starting to understand what he meant.

“It’s going to start on defense for us,” freshman Devin Davis said. “And then we’d like to get out and run and always play together.”

Crean continues to adjust lineups

With an inherent lack of guard depth on Indiana’s roster this season, 6-foot-8 sophomore Jeremy Hollowell continued to play guard on Monday evening, starting for the Hoosiers at the position.

With only three natural guards on scholarship — Ferrell, senior Evan Gordon and freshman Stanford Robinson — Hollowell has been forced to provide depth away from his natural position at times during games.

“He has to play in the backcourt for us this year, and is that natural for him? Probably not, but that’s what we have to do,” Crean said. “We don’t have a lot of what you’d characterize as guards. That’s why recruiting is so important. And that’s why it’s been such a huge focus for us, because we don’t have that.”

But even outside of using Hollowell as a guard, Crean experimented with many lineups on Monday. Take, for example, having Gordon, freshman Troy Williams, Hollowell, freshman Noah Vonleh and freshman Luke Fischer on the court at the same time. Or having Ferrell, Gordon, Robinson, freshman Collin Hartman and sophomore Hanner Mosquera-Perea on the court.

Such combinations occurred Monday night, and with a team that is so athletic and versatile as this one, Crean says he expects that might continue into the Hoosiers’ regular-season opener on Friday night against Chicago State.

“When we were big and when we were in our smaller lineups, we were still switching everything,” Crean said. “So, I think to us, it’s more about the versatility of our lineups. We want to have great versatility.”

Sheehey injured, but Crean is optimistic

With 14:27 remaining in the second half Monday night, senior Will Sheehey collided with Gordon near the north baseline and went down injured.

According to reports, Sheehey said that he hurt his calf, however he quickly got up and did not return to the game. After the Hoosiers’ 40-point victory in which Sheehey scored 12 points, Crean told reporters that although Sheehey is sore, he remains optimistic that Sheehey won’t miss any extended time.

“I think we’re just trying to figure out exactly what happened there,” Crean said. “I think he just kind of got bumped by Evan on that side out-of-bounds play. He’s sore, but he’ll go through the process of the doctors being with him. But I don’t anticipate — I’m hopeful — that there’s not anything that would be dramatic there.”

Other notes:

· With Robinson and Davis seeing their first game action of the season, 11 Hoosiers got on the board Monday evening. Ferrell led all Indiana scorers with 14 points, and Sheehey followed with 12 of his own. Robinson and Williams had nine points each, and Vonleh finished two points and one rebound short of a double-double. Davis scored five points in 12 minutes of action.

· As Crean adjusts his team to the new NCAA hand-checking rules, referees called a combined 47 fouls Monday evening. Hillsdale was called for 28 of those fouls, and Indiana shot 23-of-35 from the free throw line on the night.

“The game is being called so differently,” Crean said. “And who makes the adjustments, who understands it best, who can apply it and then retain it as they go through it, those are the teams that are gonna be successful. There’s going to be some wild, wild games the first month of the season.”

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  • Snookafly

    That final score is a little more comforting than the last exhibition. It sounds like the team is coming together.

  • Bball Papaw

    Trailing a DII school by 8 at any point in the game is not a comforting feeling headed into the best basketball league in the country. I am going to need to see a lot of improvement in this bunch before I expect too much this year. Defensive numbers are a little misleading considering we are playing a team that went 17-10 in DII last year. I will be more excited when we play someone decent and put up some good defensive numbers. Until then good luck and GO HOOSIERS!


    In my opinion, this most exciting thing about this team is the opportunity it is creating for next year. And, although I hope for the best season possible this year, 2015 in Indy looks promising. If you look at what it takes to win in all, there are several givens: 1. You need a talented and experienced point guard (Yogi). 2. You need a fundamentally strong defensive and rebounding team that you can shut down opposing offenses at will (Crean is building this year). 3. You need plenty of interchangeable depth for injuries and foul trouble (we are going to probably be one of the deepest teams in the nation) 4. And, you need scorers (add in Johnson, Blackmon and Hoetzel). We are going to have it all … and with a unique incentive to play at home if we can get to the Final Four!

  • CreamandCrimson

    I can’t comment with too much depth because I only listened to the game (Fisch is the best!). I’ll watch it tonight and look to see how much of this game can be attributed to IU’s defense and how much can be attributed to poor shooting and dead legs from Hillsdale (they just played an OT game on Sunday). Still, holding any opponent to 39 points bodes well for the defensive potential of this team.

  • MillaRed

    Our gaurs need to stay healthy or we are in trouble. Still puzzled we didn’t get a 2nd guard in this class.

    Many speculated we would play Will at the 2. It looks like I was right about that. But never thought Jeremy would be there either.

    Gonna be an interesting year.

  • OhioHoosier

    Really been impressed by Hanner’s performance so far in the preseason. I am hoping he begins to see extended minutes.

  • mk

    I agree. I do not see how you can keep Hanner off the floor, he is a dynamic rebounder (in my opinion). I know we have some interchangeable parts but I would love to see Crean go with 8-9 guys and give them the majority of the minutes so we can start to develop these underclassmen. That kind of squeezes out Etherington and Hartman in my mind, not that they aren’t good players but we need to focus on development. There will be off nights for everyone so those two guys will definitely get their chance in my mind.

  • CreamandCrimson

    We both thought Will wouldn’t be a good option at the 2 and I think keeping him on the wing is a good decision by Coach Crean and staff.

    I’m interested in your comment about getting another guard in this year’s freshman class. Do you mean another point guard to back-up Yogi? Or do you mean another shooting guard (besides Robinson and Gordon)? Or a combo guard who can do both? In an ideal world, I can certainly see the wisdom behind losing one of our wings and adding a combo guard (Coach Crean agrees and is trying to have Jeremy make the switch). I’m not criticizing the comment or anything, just wondering…

  • Big D

    I agree with you. We need to develop the underclassmen. With the new foul rules it will make it even more important. Plus if you want to go long into the season you need lots of guys to be able to step up. I still look back at last years Syarcuse game and think how much trouble Yogi had when a 6’5″ guard took him to the basket. We need some taller guards to take over at that point. Hopefully we will give some of these taller guys some experience to be ready to step up.

  • MillaRed

    I don’t see how getting 3 small forwards in the current class helped our guard depth. I think once Troy and Noah committed we were at the point if no return. Essentially we have 3 guards on this team. Peeps were wondering about getting Gordon but his addition was huge.

    What do we do if Yogi goes down?? Not pretty.

    I won!t mention a name, but I would be surprised if all 3 of the FR SFs stay 4 years.

  • CreamandCrimson

    Got it…I thought you probably meant bringing in a back-up point guard but I wasn’t sure and you know what happens when you assume.

    I try not to think towards 2014-2015 too much but I think Robert Johnson’s primary role next season will be back-up point guard. I would agree that there is a log-jam at SF (which is why I wasn’t too torn up about missing out on Devin Robinson) and our point guard depth is a weakness unless Jeremy Hollowell significantly improves as a point guard (really hope that isn’t necessary). In my opinion, Yogi is this team’s best and most irreplaceable player and I think he’ll be playing 35 minutes a night. With the new “freedom of movement” rules, it will be absolutely crucial that Yogi is smart on defense and stays out of foul trouble. I know people think this team is “incredibly deep” and I would agree in most positions. But you are correct, the point guard position past Yogi is “not pretty”.

  • IU76’s

    Rojo and Lyle

  • MillaRed

    Rojo and Lyle are not on the 2013 roster. Am I missing something?


    you are correct … losing Yogi would be a problem …. it is obvious Crean sees that and is why Hollowell is getting so much PT at the point. Johnson may back up the point next year but I think Crean will try and play a lot of 3 guard offense … with Noah, Troy, Hanner, Hoetzel and Luke rotating thru the front court. In most of that scenario, you end up with 4 or 5 high quality scorers on the floor with speed and versatility and constantly fresh and talented bodies. He would then rotate Davis, Robinson and others through the back court rotation switching back and forth from 2 guard to 3 guard sets. Tough to defend … lots of defensive speed … great scoring rotation. With that depth and length, he could also introduce a full court press!

  • IU76’s

    my bad. Thought you were referring to this year’s recruiting when you stated you were “puzzled we didn’t get a second guard in this class”. Sorry bout that.

  • Andrew

    How about trailing a D2 school by 11? That’s even more scary, right? Relax, we won by 40. Probably a good thing there was a little adversity early. As far as the record, 17-10 isn’t bad. ND and Mike Brey, the master of locating the worst of the worst, managed to find and play a D2 team that was 6-21 last year. Now that’s bad.

  • mk

    the same guy who hates “down arrows” doesnt have to write sarcastic remarks like “am i missing something?” – obviously he thought you were talking about next year…seems a little hypocritical IMO