Indiana impressive in 102-84 win over Washington; Connecticut next

  • 11/22/2013 7:29 am in

NEW YORK — Before Indiana left for its first road trip of the 2013-2014 season on Tuesday evening, coach Tom Crean said his team’s biggest challenge was to ensure that its identity traveled outside Assembly Hall. He wanted his team to rebound, play strong transition defense and limit turnovers while maintaining a fast-paced offense.

Well, after Indiana defeated Washington, 102-84, on Thursday evening at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Sports Classic semifinals, so far it seems Crean has gotten his wish. In the Hoosiers’ 18-point win, the Huskies did not lead once. Indiana outrebounded Washington on its way to 27 second chance points, turned the ball over a season-low 13 times, eclipsed the 100-point mark for the third time in five games and allowed only eight fast break points.

The win put the Hoosiers in to tonight’s final against No. 18 Connecticut, who escaped an upset to Boston College, 72-70.

“We got off to as good a start as we could have possibly had for a team that is in this environment for the first time,” Crean said following the Hoosiers’ win against Washington. “So many guys are on the road for the first time. And our guys, they continued to take it from there. We got ahead, we stayed ahead.”

Starting with a 9-0 run to open the game, Indiana held the reins from the start and did not give them up.

The Huskies, dominated on the boards, gave up 54 points in the paint, allowing the Hoosiers to dominate early and pull away when necessary.

“I think the main story of the whole game was they got a lot of second shots,” Washington senior C.J. Wilcox said, who finished with 24 points. “They hit us first and we made runs to come back, but every time we started to come back, they’d get an offensive board and a foul and an and-one and they’d bring the score back up. So I think the main thing was us getting beat on our own boards.”

And in the foul battle that has been made so significant due to the NCAA’s rule changes, Washington gave Indiana 36 free throw attempts, of which the Hoosiers converted 31. It allowed Indiana to extend its lead to 22 points with 6:52 left in the game and eventually breeze to its fifth win of the season.

“I think they got great confidence from the start, and I think that was important,” Crean said. “We rebounded the ball, but we got those baskets and we kind of settled in. All of the sudden, we were back on a 94-foot court and it wasn’t about where we were playing and who we were playing. It was about the fact that we could be successful with this.”

Freshmen dominate in Hoosier win

For a first game away from Assembly Hall, Indiana’s six freshmen on scholarship played as if they were veterans on Thursday night. At least that’s what it seemed like to senior Will Sheehey.

“I think guys tonight, I was a little bit surprised at how poised they were with this atmosphere,” he said. “Not only was it our first road game, but it was also in probably one of the most hectic places in the world. So yeah, those guys really brought it today and I’m proud of them.”

There was 6-foot-7 Troy Williams, who had a breakout game in front of an announced 10,064 at the Garden. His 22 points led Indiana, but Williams also had eight rebounds — four of which were offensive — one steal and only one turnover. Williams dominated the offensive paint on Thursday as well, making 8-of-10 2-point field goals that consisted of contested layups and a highlight-worthy reverse throw-down. It was his most impressive outing yet.

“Well when you’re active on defense it translates into offense, and I think that really helped him out,” Sheehey said. “I think he got a lot of baskets from just being around the rim. You know, he’s a similar player when it comes to that like Victor (Oladipo) was last year where he’s just kind of always in the right place in the right time underneath the basket.

“So as long as he’s around the basket on both ends of the floor, he’ll pick up those points where they’re hustle points, really.”

Noah Vonleh also put together another strong outing with 18 points, nine rebounds and two steals.

“He wanted another rebound tonight,” Crean said. “Somewhere, he saw he needed another rebound, but we decided to get him out at the end. But I had a feeling he might be missing that free throw to try to rebound his own miss. He has got a great desire to improve.”

Vonleh’s season averages now sit at 15.4 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. After IU’s win, Washington coach Lorenzo Romar had nothing but high praise for the freshman.

“I think when it’s all said and done, he has a chance to be right up there,” he said. “He’s really talented. You just look at his rebounds per minute, and that tells the whole story with him, I think. You can just see, he’s just tough. He’s just going to keep getting better.”

Three of Indiana’s other freshmen, Stan Robinson (6), Devin Davis (4) and Luke Fischer (3) also scored on the night, as the five combined for more than half of the Hoosiers’ 102 points.

Other notes

· Hoosiers to take on the (other) Huskies: Following the Boston College-Washington game at 5 p.m. today, Indiana will face No. 18 UConn at approximately 7:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The Huskies are led by 6-foot-1 senior guard Shabazz Napier, who is averaging 14.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game, and 6-foot-9 junior DeAndre Daniels, who scored 23 points on Thursday. Crean said UConn presents “hard matchups” for his team.

· Ferrell continues to score: Sophomore Yogi Ferrell had his third straight 20-plus-point performance on Thursday, pouring in 20 points against Washington. He is now averaging 23.3 points in his past three outings and will look to continue that streak against UConn, a team that opponents only shoot 35 percent on, tonight.

· Connecticut hot from 3: Despite its worst outing of the season on 3-pointers (2-of-14) on Thursday, UConn came into the 2K Sports Classic as the nation’s No. 1 3-point shooting team with a 52.6 percent clip from beyond the arc. And it has Crean’s attention. He said following his team’s win over Washington that he doesn’t think he’s ever coached against a team that has shot that well from beyond the arc.

(Photo credit: Jim O’Connor, USA Today Sports)

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  • HoosierTrav

    If we repeat what we did last night, it’s time the pundits start mentioning Indiana’s frosh up there with the UK’s and Kansas’. These kids can flat out play and flat out win. Each freshman has that winning/killer mentality. I love it. Try and wrap your heads around how good this group will be if they continue the Crean-esque second year improvement trend. This could very well be the group to eventually hang #6. I’m standing by my prediction of an elite 8 with this group. This year like last year, there is no truly dominant team……Oh and these Hoosiers look Much better against the zone… Not perfect but they attack and don’t look intimidated anymore. I’m VERY excited about our current Hoosiers.

  • kris

    I’m not sure I could be a bigger fan of this year’s freshman class. We’re blessed. And it’s not just our star freshmen, but tonight we got superb minutes from Fischer, Davis and Robinson.

    Troy Williams had his breakout game – a bonafide superstar in the making. Not enough good things to say about Vonleh.

    The bonus is Etherington getting some time and making the most of it too.

    Did I miss anybody? Gosh we’re deep.

  • BlakeD1223

    All I can talk about this morning with my co workers is how great of a team we will have next year. It probably won’t happen but if Noah and Yogi stay next year, holy crap we will be good. I love this team. I think we play better as an “underdog” team. We are so athletic, so long, so gifted. Each game we get better and better. Our chemistry will continue to grow, we will continue to get more people involved and it’s a thing of beauty. I hope we put it to UConn tonight. This will be a great confidence booster if we can get this win tonight.

  • kris

    Yes, I love the mentality you noted. What strikes me about this year’s freshmen is they have no fear, they play like vets.

  • BlakeD1223

    I saw ESPN was talking about the freshman in college ball the other day and didn’t mention Noah at all. How can someone average a double double and you don’t even mention him? When you look at how much Yogi has improved from last year, can you imagine how great Noah would be? Even with all of the studs that are coming into KY I could see Noah being a top 3 pick in the NBA draft if he stays for his sophomore season. I LOVE THIS TEAM!

  • Sphinx 98

    The Hoosiers are very deep and fun to watch. It takes a special person to want to play basketball at Indiana and CTC has done a marvelous job bringing in players who have no ties to the state.

  • kris

    Troy Williams is a freak! And he’s all ours.

  • N71

    If we can beat UConn tonight it will surely be an EXCELLENT win. It’ll be a test for sure, away from home, and push us into the AP Top 25 therefore allowing me to watch ESPN highlights of my Hoosiers.

    Things about this team that make me smile:

    + Noah being a load down low while avoiding fouls
    + Devin Davis and all the little things he does
    + Troy finding his groove and enjoying himself as a result
    + Seeing Luke’s potential
    + Stan’s knifing and floater

    Things that depress me a little:

    – Peter isn’t earning time
    – Hanner’s disappearing
    – The way Jeremy is being used

    All said this will be a fun team to watch.

  • kris

    The depressed list… Hanner has played well this season, you agree? Just not his best night against Washington, but I’m still high on him. He seems to be in his element this year compared to last year when he looked out of place.

    Just don’t see Jurkin getting minutes, not same level of talent apparently.

    JH is going to drive us crazy this year.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Yup – Please ESPN – continue to overlook NV & TW, please. Please continue to give them reasons to have a chip on their shoulders.
    If this team continues to improve game to game (which they have thus far) – wow – HoosierTrav banner 6 could happen sooner than anyone had guessed. Very talented, good instincts, work ethic, good defense for young players….

  • Sphinx 98

    He doesn’t get mentioned because although our Hoosiers are the darlings of our hearts they don’t get that national attention because they are not a flashy program that has one and done players. They are not the sexy pick and it is sad that sports are more looked upon for style points rather than just getting the win.

  • CreanFaithful

    All you could talk about was next years team???

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I am looking forward to the Yogi vs Shabazz matchup. This should be a nationally acclaimed PG matchup that will surely be hyped throughout the day.

  • CreanFaithful

    Dude. We’re not a top ranked team. Did you watch ESPN last year? We were all over it. We keep winning ball games, they’ll start talking again…

  • pbhuff

    Hanner disappearing? The fact that he has appeared at all and has the ability to provide solid minutes is a huge positive.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    hey ole man? u thought i was crazy when i said IU by 17?! GO HOOSIERS!!

  • Rie

    I am very interested to see how Yogi stacks up defensively against him. Should tell us a lot about his improvement in that aspect of the game, and could be a good indicator of how he will fair in Big Ten play.

  • Bleeding Crimson

    I think CTC or someone said that we will have a good deep team when you don’t see a drop off when the bench comes in. I think last night we didn’t see a drop off. I love JH but Robinson or Davis should be getting more of his minutes…I know JH is playing out of position but he plays in flashes not consistency
    Let’s put it to UConn. Go HOOOOOOSIERS!

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Won the battle on the boards by 21(!) and made 31 free throws(!). Ballgame.

    That was fun to watch.

  • Ole Man

    Glad your vision turned out right.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Your error there is looking to ESPN for sound analysis. They are a pr organization to drive traffic to their televised sports.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    We had the #2 and #4 picks last year. I think we are pretty sexy again.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Hanner had a bad night. He really should be a good defender with his athleticism. He was getting killed in there on D.

    Jurkin’s done. Not going to play meaningful minutes for this program.

    JH might be the new “Dammit” player, as in “Dammit, Verdell!”

  • kris

    Totally agree about JH, in fact, I think he’s already achieved the Dammit title. Still love the kid though.

  • BlakeD1223

    Don’t take everything so literally. We talked a lot about how great we looked last night. We were just talking about how talented we were and how great we will be next year. Crean is great with player development. It’s going to be exciting to see how much better this team will be next year is all I was trying to say. I’m pumped about this team. I love this young team.

  • NotTheRealSteveEyl

    Oh, me too. And he’s got a ton of skill, way more talent than Verdell. And he’s shown flashes of specialness (is that a word?)

    I also think it almost hurts him that he’s so smooth on the floor. One of those guys that “looks” like he’s not trying hard.

    He sort of reminds me of Ricky Calloway, to go way back. I think he might be effective in that slasher role, getting to the hoop.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I’ll add this bit of opinion since I haven’t seen it brought up in many (if any) posts…CTC has taken a ton of flack for our lack of offense against zones. I know Washington doesn’t appear to be a very good defensive team and their zone doesn’t compare at all to Syracuse’s zone but still, I thought we attacked the zone very well last night and got a lot of very good looks. I thought the same thing when Stony Brook tried it and the same thing when Samford tried it. Again, I know they are great defensive teams and don’t have vaunted zones but still, I think progress has been made with our zone offense.

  • Bobby34

    100% agree. ESPN exists to promote New York, Boston, the ACC and SEC. There is really no reason to watch ESPN if you live in the Midwest. It’s a shame they get to broadcast IU games.

  • Rie

    Robinson will get more minutes, but I believe they are slowly working him back in there since his injury. From what we have seen from him, it will be impossible to have him warm the bench for as long as he has been.

    Cannot wait to see Stanford at full health, could further solidify this freshman class’ ability and potential.

  • Rie

    Okay Ms. Cleo, what’s your prediction for tonight?

  • CrimsonBill

    Your name is funny. What’s funnier is that Sherron Wilkerson is from Jeffersonville, about a 10-minute drive from where I live in Charlestown down here on the Louisville border. I see the guy all the time and for awhile he coached (assistant) at a 1A school in Sellersburg. Nice guy despite all the bad press he’s gotten all these years. He still won’t talk about the headbutt. I was a writer for the Jeff newspaper and tried to bring it up with him when we’d talk about his team. He’s been troubled, but seems to be in a good place. Also got to meet CTC on a few occasions and he was wonderful. Gave our little paper (circulation 8500, give or take) an actual exclusive and knew my name and a little about me by the third time we talked. I question a lot of what he does (sub patterns, zone preparation, etc.) but he’s a legit good man and not an image.

  • HoosierTrav

    Did you really guess us winning by 17? Kudos.

  • Rie

    Another random point, which was mentioned by the commentators several times last night, is that playing zone spreads the floor to the extent that it opens up offensive rebounding. Having Noah could be a big deterrent for teams trying to use zone against us, since he, and the rest of our team, is getting offensive rebounds at such a high rate.

  • Ole Man

    Sherron guessed it.

  • kris

    You get an up-vote for the use of “specialness” in a sentence.

  • N71

    It’s those moments of brilliance that Hanner shows that make his disappearing so aggravating, so yeah, I agree he’s played well…at times. I’d love to see more consistent play, good play that is. I think we all see him putting it together in time, its just hard to be patient when he shows a flash of 6 points, 3 rebounds, 2 deflections, and a block in the span of 3 minutes.

    I surrender on Jurkin.

    Once Stan comes on I think Jeremy will shift back to a role he’s more suited for, otherwise this is going to be a real kick-in-the-head.

  • Toms Crean

    I was never high on Peter. He was one of those 1 out of 50 players. 49 times, players like him never develop. I would say Crean misjudged that one but it’s fine. Hopefully Peter transfers to open up a spot for some much better players. There’s no reason to have empty roster spots/scholarships now.

  • PDXHoosier

    I thought Yogi and especially Stan were good at taking the ball into the lane under control. that is what we need against the zone since we don’t have any shooters.

  • Michael R

    Great point. The zone is something that has killed IU’s offense in past years. The real difference in this years team and prior years is that we have a team of CTC players this year. For years we were running off players that had to fit CTC’s system and not players that were fit for his system. Guys like Dwayne Wade, Jae Crowder, Jimmy Bulter…..those are CTC guys and they play his system well. We finally have those guys at IU. I wouldn’t trade the Cody Zeller’s, Victor Oladipo’s and Will Sheehey’s for any recruit, but the point is that guys like Troy Williams, Stan Robinson and Noah Vonleh fit his system better.

    Another point, Yogi Ferrell continues to play this way all year and he won’t be staying another season in Btown. He has been absolutely dominant and watching him excel from facilitator to star shows not only what level of talent he has, but how humble he is to win games. Seeing his concentration on the court and his desire to win is something I am glad he picked up from guys like Hulls, Zeller, Sheehey and Oladipo. I wish he would stay another year to start kicking shots to JB and RJ on the wings, but he may play himself into the lottery.

  • IU76’s

    This has to be the most athletic team to don the cream and crimson. Add to that their intelligence, desire to learn and win, and their unselfishness, and you’ve got what will probably be the best team to play for IU!

  • CreamandCrimson

    The best team to play for IU? Surely you must be joking. (Don’t call me Shirley…sorry, had to). Most athletic ever might be accurate, we’ll see. Best team at IU is kind of ridiculous.

  • dwdkc

    I love the guy but he isn’t on the pro radars just yet. I think even if he does become a legit NBA prospect he would wait for next year as this year’s draft will be the deepest in years. Part of the reason why it made way more sense for Cody to go last year.

  • ForeverIU

    For those who remember the Syracuse game last year, was our loss mostly a function of the zone? We didn’t shoot well at the foul line (62.5%) and went 3-15 with threes. Sure poor shooting had a lot to do with the Syracuse zone, but it doesn’t explain Hulls going 0-6, does it? What I’m asking is: Are we exaggerating the Syracuse zone factor in last year’s loss?

  • Oldguyy

    I think I’ll go with Crean rather than you as a top evaluator of basketball talent.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I hate remembering or writing about that game…so ready to move on but, it’s a very valid question. I think the Syracuse zone is being given too much credit and I’ve made that argument on here before. In my opinion, it was the length of Syracuse (which obviously is amplified by their zone when you don’t attack it well) that caused us so many problems. Yogi was overwhelmed, Hulls was in a slump and injured going in and that continued, we lacked aggression and should have attacked the middle of the zone more to open up the baselines, Zeller refused to shoot a 12-15 footer when it was open all game…there were a variety of things that contributed to our ugly performance. Their zone was one of those things but it certainly wasn’t the only thing.

  • Oldguyy

    And what did the zone have to do with the fact that the referees wouldn’t call the fouls when our guys, particularly Zeller, were mugged on the inside? And actually Pomeroy and others have pointed out that defense, zone or otherwise, has little effect on three-point percentage. It does affect how many three-point shots are taken, however.

  • Rie

    I was discussing this exact thing with friends last night. We look great and are constantly getting to the line, but what happens when we run into a game where the officials do not call anything, like the Cuse game? Zeller was getting hacked and fouled, viciously, but no whistles were blowing.

    In addition to the referees, I believe it was a perfect storm between Jordy being terrible in the tournament, Yogi having an off game, Cody being apprehensive to shoot/attack, and something always overlooked, how great MCW really is. I mean, I believe his time so far in the NBA has proven that he is a really great player. He is one of a few front-runners for ROY.

  • E Foy McNaughton

    Laughing VERY hard —- What, Gottlieb doesn’t do sound analysis????

  • Hardwood83

    Certainly a little….enthusiastic, but hey gotta like the attitude.
    It is a great time as an Indiana basketball fan. The Hoosiers are exciting and playing well. The Pacers look great too (not that the NBA is really important). Surely reality will hit at some point, but I’m enjoying the ride.

  • Hardwood83

    Very true. I’m hoping the same applies to Vonleh hanging around another year.