Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Nebraska

  • 01/03/2016 12:13 pm in

Indiana moved to 12-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play with a 79-69 win over Nebraska on Saturday afternoon at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The win was the seventh straight for the Hoosiers.

Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Cornhuskers:

· Indiana played terrific after halftime: It was a shaky close to the first half in Lincoln as Nebraska went into the locker room with a 39-36 and plenty of confidence offensively.

But credit the Hoosiers for coming out in the second half and taking care of the ball as well as defending much better. IU turned it over eight times before halftime, but dropped that number to six in the second half for a final turnover percentage of 20. That number is still not where it needs to be, but it was progress from Wednesday’s performance at Rutgers. And after Nebraska scored 1.12 points per possession in the first half, the Hoosiers limited the Cornhuskers to .83 in the second half. Both were major improvements.

“I thought Indiana made plays,” Nebraska coach Tim Miles said. “That is a great credit to them and the program and you know there were some things that we did right. I mean a lot of things we did right and they still scored on us. It wasn’t like Northwestern where we had defensive errors that cost us. It was just these guys jumped up and stuck it in our eye.”

· Yogi Ferrell took over offensively in the second half, but his defense was equally important: Indiana’s senior point guard played like a veteran in the second half after a shaky opening 20 minutes.

Ferrell hit tough shots (like this one), took better care of the ball and also facilitated for his teammates. But his defense on Nebraska’s Andrew White, who finished with 16 points, was just as important. With Shavon Shields struggling from the field (3-of-13), Ferrell kept White, who is seven inches taller, from taking over offensively.

“I was face guarded pretty much the whole game, usually by Yogi Ferrell,” White told reporters postgame. “He was playing me nose-to-nose, and not necessarily looking at the action off the ball. His priority was to keep me from getting the ball. He did a pretty good job of that overall.”

· Thomas Bryant came to life after a tough performance at Rutgers: Wednesday’s game at Rutgers was a tough introduction to conference play for Thomas Bryant. The freshman McDonald’s All-American played just six minutes before fouling out.

But to Bryant’s credit, he didn’t let that poor performance carry over to Saturday afternoon. Indiana looked for Bryant often at Pinnacle Bank Arena and he delivered with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field. He now leads the country in 2-point field goal percentage (77).

“People forget that Cody Zeller, in his first Big Ten game as a freshman, we were at Michigan State and it was really, really hard,” Tom Crean said postgame. “He stayed in the game, but it was physical and they basically beat him up. He comes back and fouls out the next game, but we beat Ohio State when they were ranked.”

· OG Anunoby continues to blossom: Anunoby, an unheralded freshman from Jefferson City, Missouri arrived in Bloomington with a national ranking outside of the top 250 nationally.

He had little impact through IU’s first 12 games, but has come on strong over the last three. In 37 minutes against Kennesaw State, Rutgers and Nebraska, Anunoby scored 24 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and had four steals. He also hasn’t committed a turnover since the IPFW game on Dec. 9.

On a team that is short on frontcourt depth and is down one of its primary scorers in James Blackmon Jr.,  there’s an opportunity for Anunoby to carve out a larger role in the rotation.

· Indiana, so far, has taken advantage of a favorable start to the league schedule: There are very few road wins in the Big Ten that are a certainty, so it’s notable that Indiana is now 2-0 away from Assembly Hall to open league play.

The Hoosiers now have four of their next five games at Assembly Hall with a road game at Minnesota in the middle of the five. The Golden Gophers already have four losses at Williams Arena.

With a schedule that gets much tougher on the back end, the next five games are critical for the Hoosiers to stack up wins and continue their solid start in Big Ten play.

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  • Kyl470

    Once again this team is getting my hopes up. I’m hoping the letdown doesn’t come for another six games or so.

  • IUfanToby

    2-0, I’ll take it. On to the next one…

  • Gregory J. Haggard

    I thought Indiana’s defense was better in the second half.
    But I also thought that Nebraska hit a lot of wild shots in the first half that they weren’t going to continue to hit!

  • david

    Yes we took a charge!!!! Wow.
    Freshman: Play well, get into the flow of the game=get pulled. I don’t get it??
    TW is a turnover machine. Sportscenter athlete trying to play basketball. Replay the game and count how many of his to’s turned into quick points for Nebraska.
    Yogi is more aggressive when “NODJB” is not on the floor. Minutes should be based on performance, like every great coach in basketball history. See: BK.

  • Tyler T

    I will be enjoying this win for the next few days! Go Hoosiers!

  • MikeinNC

    Nice to see some effective halftime adjustments pay off.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    what i want to say first and foremost, those refs were abso-friggin-lutely horrible. they called that game so tightly it was almost unwatchable. teddy tv, please retire already! you suck!

    with that out of the way, great 2nd half effort. OG been a pleasant surprise, to say the least, and adds much needed depth to the frontcourt. kid’s got hops and i get the impression he’s playing with a whole lot of confidence. if someone were to ask me, ‘right now would you rather have OG or EH’, i think the choice would be an easy one. CTC’s gotta get this kid more minutes. and gotta love it when YF takes over a game like that. this won’t be the last game where the team will greatly rely on his scoring.

    still haven’t seen enough out of this team to get my hopes up, but at the very least they appear to be moving in the right direction. now on to wiscy. even without Bo Cryin’ on the sideline, i still can’t stand that team. hope we whoop em but good.

  • SCHoosier

    Need James B back..sooner than later. Bench as been great….but we are thin at guard and the thought of TC turning some ball control time over to Troy scares m e to death.

  • IUBizmark

    Unfortunately, I’ve been conditioned by this program to expect a letdown. I’m left to wonder which of the next 5 games it will be. I’m betting it’ll be Northwestern at home.

  • You sound a little reluctant to take a ‘sip’ of the Kool-Aid.. Thats’ exactly my take.. I am starting to get my hopes up.. I just hope there isn’t a big letdown in it for us all. I’m thinking maybe the actually can improve Still aways to go, but they played real well that second half.

  • I’m not sure that Yogi’s aggression is triggered by the absence of JBJ.. I think it’s triggered ore by his own ability to focus on what he should be trying to do. let’s just hope he can maintain his focus, maybe even for an entire game.. He had several bad turnovers in the first half.. So, JBJ wasn’t there then either.. I really don’t think we can attribute Yogi’s aggression or success or lack thereof, on the presence or absence of Blackmon. JUST seems like a real ‘reach’ to me.

  • MarkHoltzHoosier

    I get a little nervous when Yogi “takes over” because so often after losses where it happens, people complain about him putting on “the cape” and that he tried to do too much. Of course, when it works, we’re happy! At any rate, very pleased with this win. Yogi WAS awesome in that second half.

    I think Troy is playing himself out of the starting lineup. Although I still like O.G. coming off the bench. Maybe keep Hartman when JBJ gets back into it (soon, I hope!)

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    I’m predicting a blowout against Wisconsin (in our favor of course).

  • BL

    Every remaining BIG game will be a war. Just hope we continue to improve with special focus on developing the young guys.

  • Ms hoosier

    I hope the team don’t get the mindset that they have arrived, but they know that they must keep working hard and getting better!! I do think that if they get the turnovers down to 10-12 a game they can be hard to beat

  • BL

    Love to see it but I think we’re in for a battle. Wisconsin appears to be turning the corner. Like us, young guys are stepping up. Hope the Hall is rock’in.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    Don’t know if the Hall will be rock’in, since students won’t be back from break. But we should be rock’in for OSU.

  • Dr Dave

    I cannot help but flash back to the forum thread a while back that talked about cream puffs to close out the non-conf schedule and start the B1G, and whether the fan base would be lulled into false optimism.

    2nd half was first evidence passing an eye test this season for more than a few minutes, and maybe I’m becoming a curmudgeon, but I’m firmly in non-sipping mode, too, until we see positive evidence against a team that stands even a chance of making the tournament.

  • Wheatster

    O.G needs to have more minutes! How can he not! Hopefully RJ is done with bad games, definitely his worse 2 games of the year back to back. Hopefully, Blackmon is learning some defense watching from the sideline, hope he gets back soon. Glad for the win but have to wait til we play someone a little more talented before I drink the koolaid! GO HOOSIERS! P.S. PU got beat hooray!!!!!!!!!!

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    i absolutely agree that balanced scoring is preferable to yogi carrying the team on his shoulders. still, it’s great to see clutch performances from our seniors these past couple games, with JBJ out entirely and TB in foul trouble the majority of the rutgers game.

    regarding TW, the guys calling the game hit the nail square on the head. he’s so much more effective off the ball. when he’s running the point, i think the temptation to create his own offense is just too great. he ends up going way too fast, gets pick-pocketed, makes a terrible pass, or launches a quick jumper with several hands in his face. his tremendous athleticism benefits him so much more when he can be instinctual. it’s a beautiful thing to watch. it’s frustrating to me that CTC doesn’t see it. he continues to put TW in a position to fail.

  • Btown4life

    So my thoughts on this game:

    It was encouraging to see that we can come back and win these types of close games. It is CRITICAL to our team’s mentality moving forward in conference play. We are not going to run up the score and get 100+ every night in the Big Ten. We need to be able to grind it out, and we did it with this one.

    OG is the man. Dude is playing defense unlike anyone on our team. He needs as many minutes on the floor as possible. We all know that our offense is not the reason that we lose. It is our terrible defense. Just swapping out he and Max at the 4 throughout the game will pay off for this team. I said it after the Rutgers game and I am saying it again this week, OG is our best defender and we need him on the floor. Juwan is playing very good defense as well, he just does not seem as skilled as OG, which is interesting considering Juwan was a top 100 player and OG was not even ranked in the top 250.

    I was pleased to see Yogi do what we needed him to do in the 2nd half. With Blackmon out (like it or not he is a big time scorer that we rely on to win), Yogi needed to step it up. He did it and as a result we won the game. Yogi is the engine that drives this team. If the rest of the team can take the pressure off of him, he can let the game come to him and he is hard to stop when that happens.

    TB played like he had something to prove and it was great. He managed to not pick up too many dumb fouls, but otherwise his offensive effort was outstanding. HE NEEDS THE BALL MORE ON THE INSIDE. He is a very efficient scorer, he needs more opportunities, and I hope he gets them.

    Zeisloft has disappeared. What happened to this guy?

    Hartman had a rough night, but still contributed big time to the win. This guy just does whatever it takes.

    Robert Johnson is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. Sometimes he looks like he could be a world beater, other times he looks confused. He is NOT a point guard.

    I hope to see some lock down defense tomorrow against Wisconsin, but hope is for the ill prepared. That’s all for now folks.

  • PBzeer

    Like some others, I’m hesitant to get my hopes up. As much as I was impressed that we finally seemed to play an entire half of team basketball, we should be 2-0 at this point. It’s hard not to remember though, last season’s 5-1 start, and the downhill slide to 9-9.

  • Kyl470

    If the team could just get the turnovers under control I’d feel a lot better. The defense still isn’t great, but it looks improved. Just can’t keep giving the ball away when you have a team loaded with good shooters.

  • I agree.. When you look at that game, even in the 2nd half, the Huskers missed on several open looks when we were getting ‘separation’.. they hit those and it would have stayed a much tighter game.. After all Huskers are probably going to finish 9th or 10th (maybe worse) in the B1G.. so it’s not like we really accomplished a great feat. Yes, they can be a tough out at home, but it’s not like it was MSU or iowa that we beat. So I kinda feel a need to go a little easy on the Kool-Aid for a little bit yet. Let’s see what they do against Wisky and OSU.. even though those two are at home, they’re going to be ‘tough outs’.. Hey I’m very happy that we are 2 and 0.. to start the conference season.. But I just hope we can do that the next two games as well.

  • Zach

    Students won’t be back for OSU either unfortunately. First home game with most students will be Illinois

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    Classes don’t start until Monday, but I’m guessing most students will be back for the game on Sunday for OSU?

  • Zach

    We’ll all be flooding back into town on Sunday, but the student ticket packages don’t include Wisconsin or OSU because they’re during the official Winter break time.

  • Breakfast at Bruce’s

    Ah, thanks! But I guess the seats will still be warm, which is what counts.

  • KelvinSampson87

    The reality of the situation is that we went into this season as a completely over hyped team thinking we would make a deep tournament run. In hindsight, for this IU team to be as good as “expected” Thomas Bryant’s development needed to be significantly further along, Troy needed to have eliminated his control and defensive problems,guys like OG, Juwan needed to be able to contribute as solid bench players to make up for the numerous transfers and dismissals and JBJ needed to show he was more than a short Christian Watford.

    The first 3 B10 games have shown that we can grind out wins over bottom of the pack conference opponents but are far from a top B10 team. OG and Thomas Bryant seem to be coming into their own and they will have to continue progressing at the current rate if we have any chances of beating top B10 opponents.