Video: Wisconsin players react to win over Indiana

Nigel Hayes, Ethan Happ and Brevin Pritzl met with the media following Wisconsin’s 65-60 win over Indiana on Sunday afternoon at the Kohl Center.

Watch their postgame comments below, via BTN:

At the Buzzer: Wisconsin 65, Indiana 60

Quick thoughts on a 65-60 loss at Wisconsin:

How it happened: The odds were against Indiana going into Sunday’s game at the Kohl Center. With 15 straight losses in Madison, Indiana needed a near-perfect effort to emerge with a signature road win. The Hoosiers hung tough all afternoon, but never led in their fourth road loss in five tries in conference play. Indiana defended well enough to win, but turnovers (23.7 TO%) and a huge differential from the foul line (+12 for Wisconsin) were the difference. The Hoosiers held the Badgers to just 1.03 points per possession, but couldn’t get enough offense going and couldn’t quite get over the hump down the stretch. After trailing by eight with 51 seconds to play, Indiana got within three with 28.6 seconds left on a pair of Josh Newkirk free throws. From there, Bronson Koenig hit a pair of free throws with 25.8 seconds left and Indiana never got closer than three the rest of the way. The loss dropped Indiana to 5-6 in league play as a showdown with Purdue looms on Thursday in Bloomington.

Standout performer: Newkirk, who scored a career-high 27 points in Wednesday’s triple overtime win over Penn State, scored a game-high 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field. Newkirk was 4-of-6 on 3s.

Statistic(s) that stands out: Free throws and points off of turnovers were the difference for Wisconsin. The Badgers outscored Indiana 16-6 on points off of turnovers and by 12 points at the foul line. Indiana was 11-of-12 from the foul line and Wisconsin was 23-of-31.

Final IU player stats:

Final tempo-free stats:

What to Expect: Wisconsin

Indiana is back on the road Sunday afternoon as the Hoosiers travel to the Kohl Center to take on Wisconsin. The Badgers are 19-3 overall, 8-1 in the conference and unbeaten at home.

The game will be broadcast at 1 p.m. ET on CBS with Carter Blackburn and Clark Kellogg on the call:

In the preseason, Sunday’s matchup between Indiana and Wisconsin in Madison was viewed as one of the Big Ten games to circle on the calendar.

But as the season has played out, the game has lost some luster. Wisconsin has largely lived up to expectations. The Badgers have won six in a row and are up to No. 10 in the Associated Press top 25.

The story in Bloomington is much different. Indiana is just 15-8 overall and 5-5 in Big Ten play. Injuries have been a major factor, but the defensive struggles and turnovers play into the equation as well. Indiana hasn’t won at Wisconsin since 1998 and is 2-14 against the Badgers under Tom Crean.

The two teams met in early January in Bloomington, a game that Wisconsin led 16-2 to start and then took control of in the final eight minutes. The Hoosiers have just one true road win this season and Sunday’s contest is an opportunity to get a resume building win.

MEET THE BADGERS

As one of the Big Ten’s most talented and experienced teams, it’s not surprising to see Wisconsin at the top of the league standings. Greg Gard, in his first full season as Wisconsin’s head coach, starts four seniors and a redshirt sophomore.

Wisconsin’s best player is Ethan Happ, who is currently second in Ken Pomeroy’s Big Ten player of the year standings and third in his national player of the year standings.

Happ is using 31.5 percent of Wisconsin’s possessions in league play and is in the top 10 of the league in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage. He’s excellent at drawing fouls (46.1 percent free throw rate), but is hitting just 50 percent from the line in Big Ten games. He’s also first in the Big Ten in steal percentage and 17th in block percentage. Happ’s 14.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game both lead the team.

Nigel Hayes was the preseason Big Ten player of the year, but he’s currently the third best player on his team. He’s shooting just 23.5 percent on 3s in league play and 45.7 percent on 2s. He has excelled at getting to the line, but is shooting just 60 percent there.

Vitto Brown, who averages 7.6 and 4.6 rebounds per game, is a veteran presence who is making 50 percent of his 2s in conference play. Charles Thomas, a 6-foot-8, 252 pound forward, plays sparingly as a backup. Thomas is a decent finisher (50 percent on 2s) and has knocked down 18 of his 20 free throw attempts this season.

The backcourt rotation is anchored by senior Bronson Koenig, one of the nation’s most clutch players, and veteran Zak Showalter. Koenig battled foul trouble in the first meeting in Bloomington, but still had 17 points and hit all five of his 3-point attempts. Koenig is hitting 46.4 percent of his 3s in Big Ten games.

Showalter is fourth on the team in scoring at 7.8 points per game. He’s leads the Big Ten in 2-point field goal percentage in conference games at 73.1 percent.

Ultra-athletic sophomore Khalil Iverson and freshman D’Mitrik Trice, the younger brother of former Michigan State guard Travis Trice, both play rotation minutes off the bench. Iverson is a great finisher at the rim, but can’t shoot. The 6-foot Trice is making 47.8 percent of his 3s overall, but just 25 percent in Big Ten games.

TEMPO-FREE PREVIEW

Wisconsin is the Big Ten’s best defensive unit and the Badgers are sixth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency according to Ken Pomeroy’s stats.

The Badgers are great at forcing turnovers and do a good job at taking care of the ball themselves. For an Indiana team that has struggled mightily in both areas, it has to be a huge concern.

Indiana has put together some stellar offensive performances against great defenses this season, but the Hoosiers had James Blackmon Jr. in those games. He’s not likely to be available on Sunday in Madison.

For the Hoosiers to go on the road and win, a huge effort on the offensive glass and a strong shooting performance are musts.

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO

Of Indiana’s eight remaining games, this is the worst opportunity for a win according to Pomeroy’s win probabilities. His model gives Indiana just a 17 percent chance of winning and favors Wisconsin by 11. The Vegas line opened at Wisconsin by 12 early Saturday afternoon and the Sagarin ratings like Wisconsin by nine.

The Kohl Center is one of the Big Ten’s most difficult venues to win in and the Badgers are 12-0 in the building this season. Given Maryland’s narrow loss at home to Purdue on Saturday afternoon, Wisconsin can remain alone in first in the league with a win.

A win for Indiana would obviously be a huge boost for the NCAA tournament resume, which currently has the Hoosiers in the field, but it won’t remain there without a few more key wins.

Ferrell hits nine 3-pointers, scores 32 as Dallas wins fourth straight

Former Indiana point guard Yogi Ferrell is making quite an impression in Dallas.

Just hours after Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, an IU alumnus, said that the franchise planned to keep Ferrell for the remainder of the season, he went out and put on a show in Portland.

Ferrell tied a franchise rookie record with nine 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 32 points in a 108-104 victory over the Trail Blazers. Ferrell was 11-of-17 from the field in 39 minutes.

Dallas signed Ferrell, who was playing with the Long Island Nets in the Development League, to a 10-day contract on January 28. He’s started all four games he’s appeared and is averaging 17.8 points, five assists and three rebounds in 37.5 minutes per game.

The Mavericks have won every game Ferrell has appeared in, a stretch that includes San Antonio, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Friday’s win over Portland. It’s the first four-game winning streak of the season for the Mavs.

Ferrell appeared in 10 games early this season with Brooklyn, but was waived on Dec. 8. He had been in the Development League with the Nets since. With Deron Williams and Devin Harris both injured, Dallas had a need for a point guard and signed the Indianapolis native.

In his debut with the Mavs, he scored nine points and dished out seven assists in a 105-101 win at San Antonio. The following night, Ferrell scored 19 points and added five assists, four steals and three assists in a 104-97 win at home over Cleveland.

Ferrell had a poor shooting performance (3-of-13) in his third game with Dallas, a 113-95 win at home over Philadelphia, but caught fire last night in front of a national TV audience at Portland.

IU’s all-time assists leader had 22 points in the first half and outplayed NBA all-star Damian Lillard. His 3-pointer with 19 seconds to go gave Dallas a 105-101 lead.

“We’ve got a special group, a special group of guys and they really welcomed me into the team. I was thankful for that,” Ferrell said postgame, according to the Associated Press. “That doesn’t happen often. It happened very quickly, so I’m just out there having a lot of fun and living the dream.”

According to Shams Charania of Yahoo! Sports and the Vertical, Ferrell is expected to sign a two-year contract with the Mavericks on Tuesday.

“I’m pretty sure that’s what will happen. It won’t be my final call,” Cuban told the Star-Telegram. “It’ll be coach (Rick Carlisle) and Donnie’s (Nelson). It’s not a money issue, and so it’ll be up to them.”

The 20-30 Mavericks are 2.5 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas plays next at Denver on Monday.

(Photo credit: Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports)

Film Session: Penn State

Indiana used strong offensive rebounding in the first half to build its lead against Penn State on Wednesday night inside Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers have been a great offensive rebounding team all season and currently rank 10th best in the country in that category (38.4 OR%).

We’ll take a look at two Hoosiers making their impact on the boards — as well as Penn State’s exploitation of Indiana’s 2-3 zone — in the latest edition of Film Session:

Curtis Jones brings the ball up the court and hands off to Robert Johnson as Penn State calls for a switch:

Shep Garner doesn’t pick up the switch soon enough and it gives Johnson plenty of room to step in and take an uncontested long 2. Devonte Green is currently unmarked in the left corner:

Green sprints in from the left corner on the shot as Tony Carr stands watching the action, not blocking him out:

This allows Green the board and quick tip-in, as three Penn State players converge around him:

We don’t usually talk about Green’s rebounding, but he had 10 total in the contest and showed some good instincts and hustle here for these second-chance points.

Draft watch: An updated look at the stock of IU players

Much has changed since the preseason when Draft Express named Indiana’s OG Anunoby and Thomas Bryant as the top two prospects in the Big Ten. Anunoby suffered a season-ending knee injury and Bryant, a preseason first team All-American by Blue Ribbon yearbook, has had an up and down year.

Here’s our latest look at what some of the draft experts from around the country are writing about Anunoby, Bryant and James Blackmon Jr.:

OG Anunoby
ESPN: (17) Draft Express: (25) NBADraft.net: (48) Sporting News: (23)

Notes: Anunoby’s stock took a dip with his season ending knee injury, but Chad Ford (ESPN), Jonathan Givony (Draft Express) and Sam Vecenie (Sporting News) still list him as a first rounder, as does Sports Illustrated’s first mock draft. Anunoby was making a ridiculous 70 percent of his 2s before he was injured in Indiana’s win at Penn State, but was struggling with his perimeter shot (31.1 percent on 3s). It’s still unclear what Anunoby’s injury is, but if he opts to at least put his name in and goes through the process, it’s likely that information will become public. If he can secure a first round guarantee coming off a major injury, that would be difficult to pass up.

Analysis: “While this (injury) clearly affects Anunoby’s draft stock, it doesn’t hurt him as much as you might think. A quick poll of NBA GMs had him dropping anywhere from five to 10 spots. We’ve dropped him just five, in part because there’s a pretty big drop-off in the draft after (Ivan) Rabb.” – Chad Ford on ESPN Insider ($).

Thomas Bryant
ESPN: (34) Draft Express: (23) NBADraft.net: (53) Sporting News: (34)

Notes: Bryant’s ranking fell 13 spots on ESPN, three spots on Draft Express and four spots on NBADraft.net. What does it mean? Nothing at this point. He’s been playing terrific as of late and has put Indiana on his back offensively the last two games with James Blackmon Jr. sidelined. Bryant’s 2-point field goal percentage has fallen from 70.7 percent last season to 58.1 percent as a sophomore. However, he’s expanded his game to the perimeter and is making 42 percent of his 3s (16-of-38). If Bryant continues his recent stretch of play into the final two months of the season, his stock could soar.

Analysis: “His lack of elite athleticism hurts his upside, but he plays hard and with skill, and enough teams like him that he’s got a good shot at going in the first round.” – Chad Ford on ESPN Insider ($).

James Blackmon Jr.
ESPN: (105) Draft Express: (NR) NBADraft.net: (NR) Sporting News: (NR)

Notes: Blackmon Jr. was playing great until the Michigan game, when he tweaked his knee and didn’t attempt a 3-point shot for the first time in his IU career. He’s now out indefinitely with an undisclosed leg injury. Blackmon has never been highly touted on mock draft boards, but he recently said in an interview with Don Fischer that he hopes to graduate in May. As of today, he isn’t on any mock draft boards for 2017. The fact that Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams both went undrafted and found their way into the NBA this season shows that it can be done, but the road for undrafted rookies is a difficult one.

Analysis: “The junior sits at third in the conference in scoring, and overall, has had an excellent comeback season after missing most of Big Ten play last season due to injury.” – NBADraft.net

IU outlasts Penn State 110-102 in three overtimes

IU narrowly escaped Penn State earlier this season in State College, and the second matchup between the teams was no different. The Hoosiers needed three overtimes to beat the Nittany Lions, 110-102, on Wednesday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

On a night where Indiana desperately needed someone to score, three Hoosiers stepped up. Thomas Bryant, Josh Newkirk and Robert Johnson all finished with career-highs to save IU from disaster.

“That was unique wasn’t it?” Tom Crean said. “The proudest thing I am with these guys is how they never gave in. It really came down to a battle of wills.”

Bryant was IU’s go-to guy all night, dominating Penn State in the post. Bryant finished with 31 points and 11 rebounds in 44 minutes of play before fouling out. In his last two games, Bryant has scored 54 points.

“It comes from staying aggressive,” Bryant said. “Just taking what the defense gives me. When people go down, everybody else’s play has to step up. I’m here for the team and trying to win each and every game and looking forward to it.”

After a shaky start that included two turnovers, a missed 3-pointer and two early fouls, Newkirk settled in. He finished with 27 points in 46 minutes and hit 4-of-8 shots from behind the arc.

Johnson played a team-high 50 minutes. He was clutch for IU down the stretch, whether it was hitting floaters in the lane or knocking down free throws.

“I just want to thank God for these guys and coach Crean,” Johnson said. “There’s no quit in them. Whenever we looked over at Coach Crean he didn’t give us anything but confidence. The guys on the court, they fought every possession and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. I think we’ve really grown up tonight.”

For a while, it appeared that Indiana might take its third consecutive loss. The Hoosiers needed a pair of free throws from freshman De’Ron Davis to send the game to overtime.

From there, the drama continued.

The Hoosiers had stretches in overtime where they failed to create shots, passed up open looks and went more than two minutes without scoring a field goal.

But on the final possession Newkirk drove into the lane and hit a layup at the buzzer. After a lengthy review, the officials confirmed the layup was good, which extended the game to a second overtime.

In the third overtime, IU had enough left in the tank to outlast Penn State’s final push. Freshman Devonte Green made both free throws on back-to-back possessions that gave IU a 10-point lead with 1:57 remaining.

“There were many times that we could have won it and there were many times that Penn State could have won it,” Crean said. “There were many times when we all could have lost it. When you look at our group and you put it into context with everything they’ve been dealing with and with the people who are out, and the roles they’ve been thrust into, it’s hard for me to be much prouder of them.”

Indiana did out-rebound Penn State 56-35 and outscored them in the paint 66-40, but some of the same problems IU has faced all season remained. IU had 23 turnovers that led to 29 points for Penn State.

The Hoosiers had a 13-point lead near the end of the first half, but couldn’t hold onto it.

But with a depleted roster and a must win situation, Indiana made enough plays to prevail.

Five takeaways from Indiana’s win over Penn State

Indiana survived a three overtime marathon against Penn State on Wednesday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers prevailed – 110-102 – and improved to 15-8 and 5-5 in Big Ten play.

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

· Indiana found a way to win: In a game it absolutely had to have, Indiana found a way to win. The Hoosiers blew a 13-point lead. They turned the ball over 23 times. They missed 10 free throws. They trailed by as many as four in overtime. But they never caved.

In a season that’s been unpredictable, Wednesday’s win was the latest unique chapter. It was just the second triple overtime game in program history and the first ever in Bloomington.

A loss would have been devastating to Indiana’s hopes of making the NCAA tournament.

This isn’t a win that will get them there, but a loss could have definitely put them on the outside looking in come Selection Sunday. Indiana didn’t play great, but the Hoosiers played well enough to win. On this crazy night, that was all that mattered.

· Hoosiers ride starters to the finish line: Four of Indiana’s five starters played 44 or more minutes. Robert Johnson played 50, Josh Newkirk 46, Devonte Green 45 and Thomas Bryant 44.

Bryant said afterwards that he’d never felt more tired after a game. As ugly as it was, this was a long, grueling battle. Postgame, Tom Crean credited IU’s training staff and strength and conditioning program.

Bryant, meanwhile, said he and his teammates simply had to dig deep and find a way to play through the fatigue.

“You fight, you know?” Bryant said. “You just gotta do it. There’s no other way around it. Just gotta do it, be a man.”

· Career scoring nights for three Hoosiers: Playing three overtimes led to career-highs for Bryant, Newkirk and Johnson.

Each made valuable contributions in several areas. Bryant set the pace with 31 points and was 13-of-18 from the field. He also added 11 rebounds before fouling out in the third overtime.

Johnson, who had eight turnovers, poured in a career-high 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting and also had 11 rebounds.

And Newkirk, who has struggled with his shooting in nearly every Big Ten game, went 9-of-14 from the field and also scored 27 points.

Why all of the career-highs on one night?

“I mean, we had enough time to do it,” Johnson joked. “But like I said before, we just kept fighting and it didn’t matter who had to make the play. Somebody just made the play and at the end of the day we came together and just pulled off the victory.”

· Turnovers almost cost Indiana the game: The Hoosiers had 23 turnovers in the win for a turnover percentage of 22.3. It was almost too many to overcome.

Penn State turned the 23 IU miscues into 29 points. Indiana, meanwhile, forced just 16 turnovers and converted them into 17 points. Turnover differential and points off of turnovers have been a theme all season and Wednesday was no different.

Through 10 league games, Indiana’s turnover percentage (21) is 13th in the conference. And its opponents are turning it over on just 15.7 percent of their possessions, which ranks 12th in the league. That large of a gap is simply not conducive to winning games consistently.

· Green steps up in second start: Devonte Green struggled in Indiana’s 68-55 loss at Northwestern on Sunday night, but was much better in his second career start.

The Long Island native committed just two turnovers in 45 minutes and had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. He also had four assists.

With the return date of James Blackmon Jr. still unclear, Indiana is going to need Green to continue logging major minutes going forward. Wednesday’s performance was one that he’ll be able to build upon.

Photo Gallery: Indiana vs. Penn State

Check out 83 photos by Jamie Owens from Indiana’s 110-102 triple overtime win over Penn State at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Purchase prints from J. Scott Photography.

Video: Tom Crean reacts to win over Penn State

Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 110-102 triple overtime win over Penn State on Wednesday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

Watch his postgame comments below: