Indiana’s up-and-down season continued on Thursday night as the Hoosiers knocked off another ranked opponent at Assembly Hall. The latest victim was No. 20 Iowa, which jumped out to an early lead but couldn’t stop IU thereafter in a 93-86 loss.
Here’s a look at five takeaways from the win over the Hawkeyes:
· Sheehey shines in career night: It’s not fair to call this Sheehey’s best overall game ever at Indiana (he told us so himself in the postgame press conference), but offensively, it clearly was. The senior has taken his fair share of criticism this season as he’s navigated a major shift in his role, but last night, Sheehey played with extreme confidence. He moved away from the ball and beat the defense down the court repeatedly, which resulted in a ton of easy looks.
He finished with 30 points, eight more than his previous career-high and hit 11 of his 13 2s. More importantly, on a night where Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh didn’t contribute a ton offensively, Sheehey morphed into the go-to-guy, even if it was for one night only. Afterward, rather than talking much about himself, he gave his teammates the credit.
“I think Yogi threw two or three over-the-top passes, Stan (Robinson) finds me on back cuts all the time,” he said. “I mean, really I was scoring without the ball in my hands and these guys found me. So a night like this really just shows the kind of teammates we have.”
· Bench comes up big: Indiana hasn’t received consistent production from its bench for most of the season, but the Hoosiers had 42 bench points against the Hawkeyes from five different players.
Well before Indiana took the court on Thursday night against Iowa, Tom Crean declared how his team would match up with the No. 20 Hawkeyes on his pre-game radio show appearance.
They were going to run with them, play at Iowa’s desired tempo and go deep into their bench to support their style of play. If there was a time for the Hoosiers’ supporting cast to step up, this would be it.
And that is exactly what they did. In one of the most exciting, up-tempo games in the Big Ten this season, the Hoosiers scored a whopping 93 points behind 42 bench points and 81 from players outside of their two leading scorers (Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh). And in a game where stops were at a premium, it was enough for Indiana (16-12, 6-9) to pull off a 93-86 victory over Iowa (19-9, 8-7) at Assembly Hall.
“Great respect for Iowa,” Crean said. “Really proud of our players and the way they kept taking punches and responding to it. From the beginning of the game, to the second half, it was a game of runs, and we were right in the middle of it. I thought our response, our intent, our resiliency was excellent.”
From the opening tip at 9:10 p.m., both teams exchanged blows. Iowa had a 10-2 lead just 1:49 into the game. By the first media timeout, the two teams had already combined for 27 points.
Fran McCaffery met with the media following No. 20 Iowa’s 93-86 loss to Indiana on Thursday at Assembly Hall.
Watch his postgame comments in the embedded media players below:
Thoughts on a 93-86 victory over the Hawkeyes:
This one was like none other.
After the Big Ten season had slowed the Indiana transition attack, the Hawkeyes presented themselves as a willing partner in a fast-paced dance. Up and down the court these teams went in the first half, trading quick bucket after quick bucket. It was called an AAU game, a track meet, a defensive-averse first 20 minutes. It was also something else: fun. It would end as the contest with the most possessions of the Big Ten season to date.
Tom Crean wasn’t afraid to push the pace and keep running it back at Fran McCaffery. There were possessions after Iowa makes where Crean implored his team, two hands sweeping in circles, to not slow down, to keep it going fast despite a made basket from the other team. A total of 101 points had been poured in by halftime.
Indiana won this one because it was able to slow down Iowa just enough in the second half, stringing together some nice defensive possessions. The Hoosiers pushed the Hawkeyes into a higher turnover percentage than average (21.7 percent) and shut down Roy Devyn Marble (14 points in the first half, just six in the second).
And then there was Will Sheehey. Simply put: It’s been a bit of a rocky, up-and-down year for No. 0. But with his big trey against Northwestern to seal it late, his strong start against Wisconsin and his career performance this evening, you wonder if he’s cresting just when the Hoosiers need him, salvaging a season that looked bleak just over a week ago.
Tom Crean met with the media following Indiana’s 93-86 win over No. 20 Iowa on Thursday at Assembly Hall.
Watch his comment in the media player below:
Check out 26 photos by Jamie Owens from Indiana’s 93-86 win over No. 20 Iowa on Thursday at Assembly Hall in the embedded photo gallery after the jump. Purchase prints from J. Scott Sports.
Evan Gordon (12 points, four rebounds), Stanford Robinson (17 points) and Will Sheehey (30 points, four rebounds) met with the media following Indiana’s 93-86 win over No. 20 Iowa on Thursday at Assembly Hall.
Watch their postgame comments in the media player below: