Indiana freshman Yogi Ferrell tallied a career-high nine assists against Mount St. Mary’s in Wednesday evening’s 93-54 win. The Hoosiers shot 70.6 percent for the game and Ferrell’s assists aided in the strong shooting, as several led to looks at the bucket or open 3-point attempts.
A look at three such dimes in the latest edition of Film Session:
I. Kristijan Krajina sets a ball screen for Rashad Whack:
As is usually the case this season on a ball screen out on the perimeter, Zeller hedges. He gets a hand in on Whack:
Whack puts the ball behind his back to avoid Zeller’s hands, but Yogi is behind him and gets the steal:
I. The naton’s most efficient offense was on full display tonight inside Assembly Hall. Mount St. Mary’s — as previously detailed round these parts — offers little resistance in the halfcourt once you get past its trapping defense. Indiana connected on 72 percent of its shots in the first half, including 5-of-6 from distance (83 percent); it assisted on 14 of its 18 makes. And a good chunk of those points came off easy looks around the rim, as the Hoosiers tallied 22 points in the paint. Indiana kept it up in the second half and finished with these lines: 70.6 percent from the field, 9-of-12 from 3-point range (75 percent), 27 assists on 36 makes, 50 points in the paint. They scored 1.34 points per possession. And it was nearly a historic night. According to Ken Bikoff, Indiana’s single-game record for field goal percentage is 71.2 percent vs. Michigan State in 1988.
About the only knocks on IU’s offensive output tonight came at the line, as it only shot 12-of-19 (63.2%). The Hoosiers also had 19 turnovers. But remember: This comes against the Mountaineers, a team that entered tonight’s contest fifth best in the nation at turning opponents over due to their defensive style.
Yogi Ferrell posted a career-high nine assists to aid in Indiana’s balanced attack, which featured Will Sheehey (6-of-9, 16 points), Christian Watford (5-of-9, 15 points), Victor Oladipo (5-of-7, 14 points) and Cody Zeller (7-of-9, 16 points) having near identical scoring lines. Watford looked more aggressive this evening, especially around the basket with a couple strong takes. He also added eight boards to his tally. This is good to see.
II. Hanner Mosquera-Perea saw 10 minutes of action tonight and, well, he’s continuing to learn and find his place on the floor. He had some good looks around the rim early, but failed to convert them, and also missed two free throws. He also fouled a Mountaineers 3-point shooter. The freshman did have one rebound. The more time he gets in these next couple non-conference games, the more experience he’ll have — and perhaps more trust Tom Crean will have in him — come Big Ten season.
Derek Elston also returned to lineup this evening to make his senior year debut. He saw nine minutes of action and scored his first basket of the year late in the second half to go along with two boards and a steal. Elston now also gets the rest of Indiana’s non-conference slate to work into game action before Big Ten season hits at the end of the month. And if Peter Jurkin ever sees the court — more on that below — the Hoosiers’ frontcourt is just about back to full strength.
Following Saturday’s 88-86 overtime loss to Butler in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the No. 6 Hoosiers will get a chance to get back in the win column on Wednesday night as Mount St. Mary’s visits Assembly Hall. The Mountaineers (4-4) are coming off a 79-57 loss at Loyola (MD).
The game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
Comparisons in style of play between Virginia Commonwealth and Mount St. Mary’s have been tossed around this week by Tom Crean on his weekly radio show and Kenny Johnson, who previewed the Mountaineers earlier today with the media.
Those comparisons likely stem from the fact that Mount St. Mary’s is led by Jamion Christian, who spent last year as an assistant under Shaka Smart and landed the head job at his alma mater at age 29 last spring.
Christian inherited an 8-21 team that is experiencing some growing pains, including four losses by an average of 20.3 points.
The Mountaineers have three players averaging in double figures — guard Rashad Whack (11.5 ppg), guard Julian Norfleet (10.5) and guard Sam Prescott (10.2). Whack and Norfleet have started all eight games in the backcourt with Prescott coming off the bench.
The style of play Christian has deployed is heavily reliant on 3-point shooting and the Mountaineers have the highest point distribution from behind the arc in the country.
Prescott has been the most effective 3-point shooter on the roster (43.1 percent on 51 attempts) with Whack not far behind at 40 percent on 55 attempts. Norfleet is also putting up 3’s at an alarming rate with 48 attempts thus far. His success, however, has been moderate at just 29.2 percent.
Given Mount St. Mary’s relentless pursuit to force turnovers, both Norfleet and Whack rank highly in steal percentage by KenPom.com. Whack is 23rd nationally at 5.7 percent while Norfleet checks-in at 162nd nationally at 3.9 percent.
Assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Kenny Johnson, freshman Hanner Mosquera-Perea and junior Victor Oladipo met with the media on Tuesday to preview Wednesday’s game with Mount St. Mary’s at Assembly Hall.
Watch and listen to the press conferences in the embedded media players below: