Balanced attack leads to dominant win over Northwestern

  • 01/23/2016 4:16 pm in

For the third straight game, Indiana held a lead of 30 points or more against an opponent in Assembly Hall. For the 12th straight game, the Hoosiers walked off the court victorious, after they beat down Northwestern 89-57 to improve to 17-3 overall and 7-0 in the Big Ten.

It was a well balanced attack for IU, led by senior Yogi Ferrell who had 17 points, six assists and three rebounds. Max Bielfeldt and Collin Hartman both also reached double figures with 13 and 11 respectively. Troy Williams and Robert Johnson each had nine points. 11 different players scored for the Hoosiers, as opposed to six for Northwestern.

It was truly a dominant win by IU, as it had better numbers than the Wildcats in every major statistic, including rebounds, where IU had a 40-23 advantage.

“We rebound every day in practice,” Tom Crean said. “I think we’re getting more physical with our blockouts, and there is an awareness thing to it. There really is. I don’t know what the rebound difference was as far as our guard rebounding, but that’s key for us as well. Our guys have a lot of respect for the opponent, and I think when you have a team that respects the opponent and respects how they win and doesn’t take their abilities for granted, then that’s good. That’s the hunger that we’ve got to play with.”

IU kept its turnovers down yet again, turning it over 10 times, and just twice in the second half. Ferrell joked that Crean makes the team run 17s, an intense sideline to sideline running drill, when it has too many turnovers.

“Coach has just been telling us for us to be a great team and for us to be able to win, we can’t turn the ball over and have other teams scoring off our turnovers because one night we could be cold and not everything’s going for us and if we give up those turnovers, it could be hard for us to win,” Ferrell said. “So we’re just focusing on taking care of the ball, taking more pride in the ball and what we do with it.”

Hoosiers stay hot from behind the arc

For the second game in a row, IU made double-digit 3s. Seven different players combined to make the 13 in Saturday’s game, with Hartman, Ferrell and Johnson hitting three each.

Bielfeldt has now made more 3s in his time at Indiana than he did in his career at Michigan.

“I think it’s a combination of great ball movement like you were saying, getting open looks,” Bielfeldt said. “I really worked on my shot over the summer with the coaches too. I think it’s a combination that’s starting to payoff. I’m getting comfortable in the system. Everyone’s sharing the ball really well, and it’s making it a lot easier.”

Alex Olah and Thomas Bryant went at it in the post throughout the afternoon, and the Hoosiers outside shooters were left open a good amount of the time. With 21 assists, the ball movement on the perimeter was steady, and multiple players took advantage of shot fakes -most notably Johnson – who got all of his points on long-range shots.

“There hasn’t been a team to slow them down yet,” Northwestern Coach Chris Collins said. “Our defense was exposed and so has the six other defenses that they’ve played. It was them, they scored 105 in their last game so I think we did a good job by holding them to 89.”

Northwestern coach, players praise Indiana

In the Wildcats post-game press conference, both Collins and players Tre Demps and Alex Olah, who combined for 36 points, praised the Hoosiers for their recent play.

“I think we need to learn from them,” Demps said. “They’re incredibly locked in, they’re incredibly together and they’re playing incredibly hard and it shows. You feel it when you’re on the court, you know that they’re a really good team.”

Collins said Johnson did a great job of defending Northwestern guard Bryant McIntosh, calling him a “very good on-ball defender.” He also felt that the four minute stretch at the end of the first half was crucial, in that he wanted his team to knock IU’s lead down to single digits but instead, IU was able to increase its lead even more.

“You can see it when they walk out when they’re warming up that they’re really confident right now,” Collins said. “They seem to have a great chemistry.”

Other Notes:

· This marks the first time since 1987-88 that IU has had three straight home wins of 25 or more points in Big Ten play.
· The Hoosiers held a 14-0 advantage on second-chance points.
· The last time IU started the Big Ten season 7-0 was 1992-93.
· Yogi Ferrell moved up to 10th place all-time on the IU scoring list and is 10 points behind Christian Watford for 9th place.

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  • In so proud of these kids

  • kennygeorge

    congrats to coaches and players for another well played game> Excited for everyone!

  • disqus_qZBK7SROvl

    I’m so impressed with bielfeldt. What an example he has been of how hard work over an off-season can really change confidence and ability. also, it’s a much better fit for him here in my opinion, and we really need his aggressiveness and toughness. .I wonder how JBJ is viewing this. HOPEFULLY he takes a positive view and wants to improve on defense and contribute if he comes back instead of getting discouraged. I don’t honestly know how’d I feel. I’d be happy the team is playing so well but in the back of my mind I’d be wondering if everyone is thinking about the team’s improvement in my absence and what that means.

  • Nimbi63

    Wow, Thon Maker, did you see how much fun this is? Come and enjoy!

  • Nimbi63

    I think the guys had the mindset that they could score points at will, and their shooting would beat anyone. They had to learn that playing defense is as important as scoring. They all seem to have bought into that, and that will probably influence James in the future.

  • BL

    No brainer Thon. Best year in your life; hang a new banner.

  • beppecolo

    I have to say two things: first, I was as critical of TC as anyone, earlier this season and in past seasons, when the defense poor. As it often was. That said, this team is playing very good defense, working hard, hands up, switching, backing each other up. Being from IN, I love a good man-to-man D. Second, with regard to JBJ, more than one of you have suggested the improvement on D may reflect his being out of the lineup. It might. But yesterday some bonehead commentator commented that there was no way the team could replace his 17 ppg. BS! Doesn’t matter if you score 17 if the other team puts up 27 because of your poor D. Furthermore, our offense seems much better now as well. The ball moves faster, more fluidly, and everybody is getting better shots. Does that go back to JBJ, as well?

  • John

    The Big Ten Season for IU starts Tuesday. They won all that they were suppose to win. The road and home games get more difficult. I hope for the best

  • SCHoosier

    When you hear an opposing coach and his two best players talk that positively about how the Hoosiers are playing..ya gotta believe! Now if we can just turn the Badger cheese factory into chip will be good.

  • vicbert caladipo

    It’s a tired cliché, but our next game is the most important one of the season. Win at UW and we should finish the first half undefeated. By that time I should be a basketcase of nerves for the rest of the season. You know we have a great team by the level of anxiety I get with the next game. Earlier there was much talk of ND being a big game for us. I kind of just sat back and watched that game with little expectations especially after the first 20 minutes. Same with the Rutgers game. I was prepared to lose that one and it would have barely phased me if we did. Well now I am nervous as all hell about every upcoming game and will not be able to sit still when we take the court again this Tuesday. You could say my anxiety level is parallel to how good we are. Anyone got any Malox to spare?

  • sarge

    Haha, nice comment! Yep, time to switch gears. Wisconsin presents a new challenge. If we can beat them on the road, people will start talking about us winning the conference. Stick it to Wisconsin and their fans in their own gym. They definitely can do it. For all the Hoosier teams that couldn’t!

  • RDD#76

    That sounds like a line right out of Hooisers

  • BL

    Let’s face it, we’re all going to have more anxiety because we’re now eyeing a BIG championship. Think of it this way – we play six games against the top tier BIG teams. If we go 3-3 against that group with at least one W against Iowa, and we win all other games, we’ll have a really good shot of at least a tie for 1st place. So yes, the next one against Wisconsin is huge as will be all our remaining games. Moreover, this is our first test playing a team the 2nd time. Finally, rather be anxious than indifferent.

  • vicbert caladipo

    I was indifferent last year. Last year sucked.

  • Bill Graham

    Something has created a tipping point with this team and its not the weak schedule. I’m not so sure its James absence either. We are making halftime adjustments that work. We are controlling tempo much better. We are locked in defensively for the first time since the Oladipo era. I dont know what it is but something has tipped. Could be Elston or Martin being more vocal. Could be Yogis leadership or Max or OG’s good mins… but this is not the same team that played Wake. Not even close.

  • Hoosierkamp

    Everything you have said is 100 percent accurate. Couldn’t have said it better. I also criticized TC plenty. I am very impressed with the maturation , and it starts with him. Go Hoosiers!