Indiana impressive in 102-84 win over Washington; Connecticut next

  • 11/22/2013 7:29 am in

NEW YORK — Before Indiana left for its first road trip of the 2013-2014 season on Tuesday evening, coach Tom Crean said his team’s biggest challenge was to ensure that its identity traveled outside Assembly Hall. He wanted his team to rebound, play strong transition defense and limit turnovers while maintaining a fast-paced offense.

Well, after Indiana defeated Washington, 102-84, on Thursday evening at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic semifinals, so far it seems Crean has gotten his wish. In the Hoosiers’ 18-point win, the Huskies did not lead once. Indiana outrebounded Washington on its way to 27 second chance points, turned the ball over a season-low 13 times, eclipsed the 100-point mark for the third time in five games and allowed only eight fast break points.

The win put the Hoosiers in to tonight’s final against No. 18 Connecticut, who escaped an upset to Boston College, 72-70.

“We got off to as good a start as we could have possibly had for a team that is in this environment for the first time,” Crean said following the Hoosiers’ win against Washington. “So many guys are on the road for the first time. And our guys, they continued to take it from there. We got ahead, we stayed ahead.”

Starting with a 9-0 run to open the game, Indiana held the reins from the start and did not give them up.

The Huskies, dominated on the boards, gave up 54 points in the paint, allowing the Hoosiers to dominate early and pull away when necessary.

“I think the main story of the whole game was they got a lot of second shots,” Washington senior C.J. Wilcox said, who finished with 24 points. “They hit us first and we made runs to come back, but every time we started to come back, they’d get an offensive board and a foul and an and-one and they’d bring the score back up. So I think the main thing was us getting beat on our own boards.”

And in the foul battle that has been made so significant due to the NCAA’s rule changes, Washington gave Indiana 36 free throw attempts, of which the Hoosiers converted 31. It allowed Indiana to extend its lead to 22 points with 6:52 left in the game and eventually breeze to its fifth win of the season.

“I think they got great confidence from the start, and I think that was important,” Crean said. “We rebounded the ball, but we got those baskets and we kind of settled in. All of the sudden, we were back on a 94-foot court and it wasn’t about where we were playing and who we were playing. It was about the fact that we could be successful with this.”

Freshmen dominate in Hoosier win

For a first game away from Assembly Hall, Indiana’s six freshmen on scholarship played as if they were veterans on Thursday night. At least that’s what it seemed like to senior Will Sheehey.

“I think guys tonight, I was a little bit surprised at how poised they were with this atmosphere,” he said. “Not only was it our first road game, but it was also in probably one of the most hectic places in the world. So yeah, those guys really brought it today and I’m proud of them.”

There was 6-foot-7 Troy Williams, who had a breakout game in front of an announced 10,064 at the Garden. His 22 points led Indiana, but Williams also had eight rebounds — four of which were offensive — one steal and only one turnover. Williams dominated the offensive paint on Thursday as well, making 8-of-10 2-point field goals that consisted of contested layups and a highlight-worthy reverse throw-down. It was his most impressive outing yet.

“Well when you’re active on defense it translates into offense, and I think that really helped him out,” Sheehey said. “I think he got a lot of baskets from just being around the rim. You know, he’s a similar player when it comes to that like Victor (Oladipo) was last year where he’s just kind of always in the right place in the right time underneath the basket.

“So as long as he’s around the basket on both ends of the floor, he’ll pick up those points where they’re hustle points, really.”

Noah Vonleh also put together another strong outing with 18 points, nine rebounds and two steals.

“He wanted another rebound tonight,” Crean said. “Somewhere, he saw he needed another rebound, but we decided to get him out at the end. But I had a feeling he might be missing that free throw to try to rebound his own miss. He has got a great desire to improve.”

Vonleh’s season averages now sit at 15.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. After IU’s win, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar had nothing but high praise for the freshman.

“I think when it’s all said and done, he has a chance to be right up there,” he said. “He’s really talented. You just look at his rebounds per minute, and that tells the whole story with him, I think. You can just see, he’s just tough. He’s just going to keep getting better.”

Three of Indiana’s other freshmen, Stan Robinson (6), Devin Davis (4) and Luke Fischer (3) also scored on the night, as the five combined for more than half of the Hoosiers’ 102 points.

Other notes

· Hoosiers to take on the (other) Huskies: Following the Boston College-Washington game at 5 p.m. today, Indiana will face No. 18 UConn at approximately 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The Huskies are led by 6-foot-1 senior guard Shabazz Napier, who is averaging 14.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game, and 6-foot-9 junior DeAndre Daniels, who scored 23 points on Thursday. Crean said UConn presents “hard matchups” for his team.

· Ferrell continues to score: Sophomore Yogi Ferrell had his third straight 20-plus-point performance on Thursday, pouring in 20 points against Washington. He is now averaging 23.3 points in his past three outings and will look to continue that streak against UConn, a team that opponents only shoot 35 percent on, tonight.

· Connecticut hot from 3: Despite its worst outing of the season on 3-pointers (2-of-14) on Thursday, UConn came into the 2K Sports Classic as the nation’s No. 1 3-point shooting team with a 52.6 percent clip from beyond the arc. And it has Crean’s attention. He said following his team’s win over Washington that he doesn’t think he’s ever coached against a team that has shot that well from beyond the arc.

(Photo credit: Jim O’Connor, USA Today Sports)

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  • TomJameson

    I’ve said that for quite a while. Like CC said, a lot of contributing factors. But if you aren’t hitting the outside shots against the zone it starts getting even more packed in the paint. Suddenly there are fewer driving lanes, harder to attack the middle because it was more packed in, etc… I truly think that if we were hitting some outside shots it wouldv’e opened up more opportunities as well.

    But that’s ancient history now and this team has been having success against a zone. Go Hoosiers!!

  • BKLock

    Everyone is praising our starters and they played very well last night; I want to heap some praise on the strength of the bench.

    Depth per coach Crean is bench players coming into the game and not having a drop off. Looking at the stats from the non-starters last night: Points 20; TO’s 0; Rebounds 12; assists 3; and Blocks 2. Seven different players came off the bench and scored.

    When the supporting cast can perform to that level every night this team will be difficult to beat. What we witnessed last night was a young IU team with depth.

    Looking forward to tonight’s game against UConn. Go Hoosiers!!!!!

  • Rie

    Gottlieb hasn’t worked for ESPN for over a year, he is with CBS now.

    Also, there is an article today from ESPN about how Indiana is not rebuilding, but reloading. It is high in praise of our recruiting, our players, our system, and our coach. I agree ESPN is pretty much like a soap opera for men, but they give IU credit when we deserve it. Last year we were one of the main story lines week in and week out.

    If we get ranked and continue to win with guys like Yogi and Vonleh staying in the National Player of the Year discussion, expect to see more things along the lines of the aforementioned article.

  • oldiugymnast

    I am sorry – Jordan was not “terrible” during the tournament. He got his shoulder separated on a play that should have been a foul call. And if you ever had that injury, you would know that it was a freaking miracle he got back in the game and a bigger one that he hit a key jumper to get us over the top. I am sure his performance in the Syracuse game was mostly a factor of that injury (as well as his loss in the 3 contest).

    I have watched the ‘cuse game 30x and the biggest factor there was that they were allowed to hold our player on nearly every ball screen without a foul being called and every time Zeller touched the ball he got hit like it was a football game and no whistle. Had the officials not let it turn into a football game, the outcome may have still been an IU loss, but we would have been in the game.

  • Rie

    Jordan was terrible in the tournament. If he knew he was injured beyond netting a positive contribution, he owed it to the team to sit out or have his minutes limited. There is nothing tangible to prove he was anything other than bad in March.

  • Toms Crean

    I never said I was a top evaluator of basketball talent, but I think everybody (other than maybe you) would agree that Peter has been a huge disappointment. Heck, even Crean refuses to play him… so no idea why the smarmy comment was necessary.

  • dwdkc

    I would say Noah is way more at risk to go pro, given how impressive he’s been and the fact that he could very well be lottery or close even this year. But he’s so young, man I really hope he comes back.

  • dwdkc

    The Cuse game was a perfect storm. Yes it was a tough matchup but IU was a better team that would have won a best of 7. It was not our night. I was at the game, pretty close to IU’s basket in the 2nd half, and as I’ve said before, IU made the right adjustment after a terrible first half–the jumpers weren’t falling so they pounded it in. They got fouled–hard–every time down, but the refs swallowed their whistles. It was truly ridiculous. Jordy was in a slump and Yogi was off, both bothered by length, but Will was in the whole 2nd half as it was a better matchup and they went inside, but no dice. Cody should have also taken more 12 footers that they were conceding.

  • BC

    Syracuse zone>everyone else’s zone
    They look better against the zone, but they haven’t played a calibre of team the cuse team was last year. That team was flat out scary.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    Two things: Hulls productions dropped off towards the end of the season…but he did get hurt during the Temple Game as well as several other players due to the Zebra’s not making the foul calls. Not only did Hulls separated his should but Watford and Zeller was beat up during the Temple game.
    The Cuse Zone had plenty to do with our missed 3 shots but not our overall game.
    Vic 16pts, Sheehy 9 pts Wat 13, Zeller 10 Hulls & Yogi 0 pts each. We tried to beat them at their own game and was beat up from the previous game but more importantly we continued to get beat up during that game due to the Zebra’s not calling the fouls and Zeller couldn’t get a shot.
    I think this year will be much different.

  • InTheMtns

    I get what you’re saying, but I don’t know that we can accurately say that Crean misjudged on Peter.

    First off, there weren’t a lot of choices when CTC recruited Peter. Our cupboard was bare and so was the cupboard of remaining bigs available. Second, Peter has had a nagging and unhealed injury since high school. I’m not sure such a limitation could have been accurately predicted when Peter was recruited.

    Third, the injury and the probation caused him to miss one-third of the season which is not at all helpful in the development of a raw player. Maybe CTC should have foreseen that, but that isn’t as easy as hindsight makes it seem. Fourth, Peter is a redshirt sophomore, so if he can get healthy, there is still time for him to become a solid defensive contributor in his junior and senior years.

    I don’t think we fans know enough of the behind-the-scenes information to predict whether Peter will ever be a suitable player for Indiana or not. We may know more at the end of this season. You could be absolutely correct that CTC misjudged Peter but I think it is too soon to tell because Peter’s story isn’t finished yet.

  • BC

    I don’t think I have ever heard someone term anything about Kentucky being sexy

  • Sphinx 98

    Meaning they get all the big name players from coast to coast.