Notebook: Hoosiers will learn from narrow loss to UConn

  • 11/23/2013 12:12 am in

112313hcwNEW YORK — In a game that had eight ties and 13 lead changes, it was fitting that it all came down to the final possession.

Indiana (5-1) and Connecticut (6-0) had exchanged blow for blow throughout the 2K Sports Classic championship game, and the Hoosiers had the final chance to win trailing 59-58 with only 22.4 seconds left.

But much like it went throughout the night for Indiana, the Hoosiers could not make the shot they desperately wanted as sophomore Yogi Ferrell missed a pull-up jump shot from the right wing, his 13th miss of the night. The Hoosiers, however, were able to retain possession following the ensuing scrum and attempted an in-bounds pass with .7 seconds remaining.

It went to freshman Noah Vonleh, who only played 10 minutes due to foul trouble, and the buzzer sounded before he could attempt a shot after turning around to face the basket.

Indiana had lost its first game of the 2013-2014 season in front of an announced 10,051 at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, but the Hoosiers’ postgame verbatim was solely optimistic.

“We’ll learn how to win low-scoring, close games like this,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “I think it says a lot about where our guys are at already for UConn to play really as slow as they did and take as much time off the shot clock as they did.

“And when a team likes to score and has had over 100 points in three of the five games and they’ve got to grind it out and they do, all the way to the end — we don’t get the result, but we do grind it out —  I like our upside.”

On Thursday night against Washington, Indiana was able to dominate offensively, significantly outshooting, outrebounding and just outperform the Huskies.

Connecticut, however, provided much more of a challenge that Indiana was unable to overcome. The Hoosiers turned the ball over on 19 occasions, shot only 40.8 percent from the field and scored just six second chance points.

In its rout of Washington, the freshman duo of Vonleh and Troy Williams combined for 40 points and 17 rebounds. Against UConn, the pair combined for two points and eight rebounds in 35 combined minutes. Vonleh was in foul trouble from the start — he finished with four — and UConn forced the Hoosiers into a half-court offense that stifled their offensive productivity.

“You’re not going to beat anybody when you’re turning it over that many times because you’re just giving a team this good a chance to make plays,” Crean said. “We feel like we can get a lot better.”

Much of the late-game play on Friday came from a flurry of shots from both teams that sent the Madison Square Garden crowd into a frenzy. In the final 6:15 alone, the lead changed hands six times, from a Ferrell free throw to ultimately, a Shabazz Napier layup — the final two of his game-high 27 points with 1:35 remaining.

The Hoosiers had the final chance to win after Napier was called for an offensive foul with 22.4 seconds left, his seventh turnover in 38 minutes of action, but the Hoosiers were unable to convert on the subsequent possession.

Despite the loss, Ferrell remained positive, saying that he and his teammates will take the experience and learn from it.

“We’re never going to back down,” he said. “We’re always there, still fighting, still trying to get the lead. That just showed our character and everything, how well we stayed together even in this loss. This loss is going to help us down the road, so we’re just going to learn from it.”

Napier comes up big for Huskies

His performance wasn’t everything he wanted — he missed four free throws and turned the ball over seven times — but after UConn’s one-point win over Indiana, it was clear that Napier was a deciding factor.

On eight separate occasions Friday night, the 6-foot-1 senior guard either tied the game or gave UConn the lead over Indiana, finishing overall with 27 points, five rebounds and three assists.

“Shabazz Napier is just too good,” Crean said. “I imagine it would be like in the NFL trying to deal with a great running back like Barry Sanders or Adrian Peterson, where a guy can change direction at the drop of a hat.

“He can play with both hands, both feet. He’s explosive to the basket. He’s got the pull-up, obviously. He’s got the straight pull-up, he’s got the step-back, he’s got the three. And he’s got one of those unteachable abilities to make big shots at really crucial times.”

Two of those lead changes that Napier directly took part in came in the final 2:32, with UConn trailing Indiana by one point. Napier made a jump shot with 2:32 left, and after Indiana answered with an Evan Gordon floater, Napier once again answered with a layup with 1:35 left for the game’s final points.

“I just told myself that my team needs me and I went out there and made some plays,” he said following the game. “My teammates gave me the ball at the right opportunities and I was fortunate enough to make the right plays.”

“He just relishes the moment,” UConn coach Kevin Ollie added. “Some people run away from the moments. He embraces them. And it’s just a special quality to have as a young man, but a special quality to have on the basketball court.”

Other notes

·  Ferrell leads Indiana in scoring: Though his streak of three straight games with 20 or more points came to an end on Friday night, Ferrell against paced the Hoosiers with 19.

He did, however, shoot just 6-of-19 from the field and 2-of-6 from beyond the arc, as he epitomized Indiana’s shooting struggles on the night.

Overall, the Hoosiers shot 20-of-49 and 3-of-12 on 3-pointers.

·  Ferrell and Sheehey named to all-tournament team: Following the completion of Indiana-UConn, the 2K Sports Classic announced that Ferrell and senior Will Sheehey were named to the event’s all-tournament team.

Joining them were C.J. Wilcox (Washington), Ryan Anderson (Boston College) and Napier, who was named the 2K Sports Classic’s Most Valuable Player.

·  Up next: On Tuesday at 8 p.m., Indiana returns to Assembly Hall for a meeting with 4-0 Evansville. The Purple Aces are led by sophomore guard and Kokomo product D.J. Balentine, who is averaging 29.8 points per game.

(Photo credit: Associated Press)

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  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I kind of hope they remain unranked for a while because may be it will drive them to get better.

    I like this team.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Here’s what I would’ve done . . . not that it matters:

    I would’ve put one bigger shooter in the game, like AE along with two bigs (Luke/Noah/Hanner – two of them) and then Yogi and Will. I would’ve had one of the bigs take the ball out of bounds, drawing their 7 footer away from the paint. Then I would’ve used the other one (Luke, since he’s a solid screener) to set a back screen for Will for the lob. If that wasn’t open I would’ve used the smaller Yogi to set a screen for the shooter on the court at the top of the key and told Will to run on through to the corner. If the shooter didn’t pop free from Yogi’s screen have Yogi roll off to the wing. Plenty of time for that to all play out.

    But, the most important thing I would’ve done . . . CALL A TIMEOUT IF THE PLAY WASN’T THERE!!!

    Obviously they’ll be plenty of tool-sheds comment to tell me how wrong I am, but it’s just an opinion!

    Disclaimer – the timeout thing is not an opinion. It should’ve been used when it was obvious the play broke down. Why leave it on the board in that situation?

  • doodle777

    I sure don’t, Like I mentioned above Stan came in I believe it was right before the half and split the zone three times with three easy baskets and was taken out, Sure don’t understand what TC is thinking at times, Can’t understand YF and Evan Gordan ever being on the floor at the same time, There should be some kind of an unwritten rule that when possible your two guards that are playing should equal 12 foot when added together. lol

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I disagree. I think Luke played very physical and helped the team last night in Noah’s absence.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Of course, UCONN only shot a shade under 65% so if they hit a couple more they won by 3, so that can go either way. We still outscored UCONN at the line by 6 points and hit almost as many FT’s as they attempted.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Agree. IU could still cut down on a couple of those dumb, unforced TO’s and that would’ve helped as well.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Crean has said it, “This is Yogi’s team.”

    You have to expect “the guy” on the team to try and will them to win and I think that’s all Yogi did last night. It didn’t work out, but he could’ve easily hit that last jumper and we’d all been praising him as the hero today.

    That’s why we’re fans.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    I am not trying to second guess Crean, but I think Hanner should have been in the game. Not NV. Win or lose Noah would have learned a valuable lesson about keeping himself out of foul trouble. Hanner could have gotten to about any lob put at the rim. Would he convert, who knows.

    Not trying to bash JH, but that is just what I see.

    Timeout. Not an opinion, and is a no brainer if the play is breaking down. That does go on CTC because the coach can call a timeout. He should have. I think we learn a lot from this game, and in fact will become hungry in big game situations from being so close on a big stage.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    It still never ceases to amaze me that IU seems to get called for more illegal screens than any team I watch (and I watch a TON of college basketball). Derek Elston was the king of illegal screens.

    Maybe it’s just the fact that we use the high ball screen so much?
    Maybe it’s just a player or two who doesn’t have it between the ears to learn to screen legally?
    Maybe they don’t spend enough time working on it?

    I don’t know . . .

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Ball control foul. An offensive, ball control foul doesn’t result in FT’s.

  • Ole Man

    Good post! Good thoughts.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Completely agree. I feel the exact same way. I also think that Luke could turn out to be a starter at some point this season, but that would mean that Will and Troy have to improve their ball handling skills so it doesn’t put too much pressure on Yogi.

  • Wyatt

    I don’t understand Yogi and Gordon on the court together either, but let’s not forget this is the same coach who started Ferrell and Hulls all season (which in my opinion is why the team didn’t peak last season). Crean is hard headed and his substitutions suck. It’s hard for a guy to come off the bench and get hot when the coach pulls you after 1 or 2 possessions. Why didn’t he pull Hollowell in the first half? Instead Crean opted for 31 gut-wrenching minutes of bad defense, bad shooting, and turnovers. This years team has talent but Crean is the ball and chain IMO.

  • Wyatt

    I wasn’t impressed by either team last night. That being said, we got nothing from our big men.

  • inadvertentelbows_stillhurt

    2 turnovers in last minute of game kinda sums it up…

  • Outoftheloop

    Correct, next is Hollowell at 33%.

  • Outoftheloop

    I disagree. They are ranked #18 and will move up. MSU is better, but the other B1G top tier, OSU, MI, WI and IA are very similar.

  • hoosier1158

    I hope he fully recovers soon then. During HH i thought he looked really good, until the injury.

  • Outoftheloop

    Excellent comment.

  • Outoftheloop

    I disagree. In this game both teams competed very hard all over the floor. Every TO was “forced”. If I am “in your face” 5 times in a row, you still feel me on the 6th, when I am not there. I am forcing you.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I don’t know man. I saw a couple really dumb TO’s such as the pass Yogi threw out of bounds right after Napier gifted us a stupid TO. And JH gets stripped WAY too much in situations other players don’t. Either his hands are weak or he’s not paying attention to the defenders around him.

    I can understand your point though.

  • Hoosierfanfromcali

    This was a very infuriating and irritating loss, mostly because there are is one player who seriously needs to get benched and I think everyone can agree it is Jeremy Hallowell. I’m not saying he is the only reason Indiana lost because Devin Davis should also have some the blame with his two costly turnovers at the last minute really what sealed the defeat. Also coach Crean is giving me headaches with the constant substitutions he does when indiana seems to make a decent run or take a lead he seems to mess up what little good offensive efficiency Indiana had during the whole game.While there are a lot of positives from this game, turnovers is what is majorly concerning mostly caused by Jeremy Hallowell though and the reason I’m making a big rant on Jeremy is because he is suppose to be Indiana’s back up point guard not sure why though. Also kudos to Shabazz Napier he is a stud. I also really don’t get why Austin Etherington or Colin Hartman don’t get more minutes I get it that they cant do much other than shoot threes but hey I will take that over yogi Ferrell taking god knows how many 3pt shots and only to make one the whole game. Not putting so much blame on yogi because well yogi always has been a streaky shooter he is like will sheehey or verdell jones III in which I mean they are all really good mid range shooters not so much 3pt shooters. I hope Indiana fixes there shooting and turnovers problems soon otherwise my blood pressure will not look good after this bball season.

  • Snookafly

    Agree 100% about moral victories.

  • Snookafly

    I can appreciate your level headedness. I would also say that Troy makes a lot of the same mistakes as Hollowell, and Troy losses his defensive assignment a lot more. Of course one is a year older and should theoretically know better, but JH didn’t really see the floor that much last year. You could also point to the incredible positives Troy can bring on any given night that maybe JH hasn’t shown, but I agree that giving one player the responsibility of learning 4 positions might be too much for him at this point as well. The team as a whole shows a frustrating carelessness on the dribble and at the rim, but I think everyone is improving.

  • Snookafly

    Agreed. My only real concern is our complete lack of a deep threat. Tied with a minute-thirty before half Napier hit those 2 quick threes, and I realized we have no reliable answer. In late game situations who do we turn to if we need a three? Yogi is the only option right now and UConn knew that and locked him down. I know everything else will come around, but I don’t know if we can develop another reliable, late game three point shooter by March.

  • Hardwood83

    I have to agree. It’s not an issue of what we ‘want’ it’s a matter of what is happening. JH isn’t getting it done right now. I’d like him to keep getting chances when possible, but sheesh is he frustrating to watch.

  • MisterSlippery

    I’m not a blame the refs guy, but Mitch McGary moves on every screen. He gets called once in a blue moon.

  • hoosier1158

    I would like to see more than 1 basket and one rebound from Luke.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Yeah, he also had a big block and played solid defense as well. He was physical and that’s what IU needs out of one big man.

  • Sherronhasaheadache

    oh the sky is falling…. just snow! ok so we have a young team that turns the ball over, takes bad shots and hasn’t jelled yet. but we are super talented way more athletic and just if not more fun to watch than last year, cmon admit it these kids are a heck of alot of fun to watch, bellyache if you want but i see the big picture here, GO HOOSIERS!!

  • Kelin Blab

    Heard the same argument VO’s freshmen year…why isn’t he playing more….from what I see, Stanford is playing enough right now and still has a lot to learn. Hollowell on the court makes a difference on both ends. 1 game over reaction is what is happening now.

  • doodle777

    I’m not talking about one game , JH has dribbled the ball out of bounds and off his feet and made silly mistakes every game. Every time he gets the ball I want to close my eyes.

  • doodle777

    I would Love to see Perea and Vonleh On the court together some

  • doodle777

    Wish someone could explain that to me, (Stan) He looks very good. Split the zone very well against Washington and scored 6 quick points and got took out.

  • doodle777

    I agree, I think Yogi is good but not good enough to hand the keys to the team too like Crean has. His 50 foot jump shot well beyond the NBA 3 mark was a total joke and he should have sit for a long period of time. He forces way to much. I’m not sure Stan wouldn’t be better at the point. Its hard to understand Crean sometime as much as I love him.

  • TJ21

    I just want to hit thumbs up a hundred times…..

  • TJ21

    We have to get NV to the 4 and start either LF or HMP, thats 10 fouls we have to give defending the rim and keep NV out of foul trouble. We just have to have TW on the floor, he should be our 2B option behind getting the ball to NV or Yogi creating. WS is a great leader, his points will come, but TW has the skills to create his own shot and take it to the hole. I just do not understand why TW did not look for his shot more against UCONN.

  • TJ21

    Thats flawed thinking in my mind. We can play what if all night. We are talking about us not playing to our potential.

  • TJ21

    I again want to hit up arrow a million times

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I was just pointing out that you can’t point to one particular thing in Friday’s loss. FT shooting wasn’t the worst of the issues anyway. Poor shot selection at times and TO’s were the biggest issues.

  • Kenneth234

    My main thought on why Troy struggled so much was that the mental side of the game for him is not quite ready for learning a new strategy for a new opponent in under 24 hours. The staff may need to spend more time explaining what the game plan for him is going to be in order for him to understand what they expect or what he needs to do to be more successful against an opponent. I’m not saying is not smart, just that approaching the game from a mental standpoint is something that he really has not had to do because his physical gifts have always allowed him just to be able to deal with opponents without having to worry about such things against prior competition.

  • Kenneth234

    Luke is coming along very well for having missed so much early time with the shoulder injury. I can’t wait for him to be starting along side Noah in the front court. I also think that Hollowell will make strides soon to be a dependable contributor, and taking away his playing time, will hurt that progress far more than it will help. Overall, I think that this team already understands how they can take advantage of their skills athletically to get points out of the uptempo style. So it is time to learn how to execute in the half court with 2 big men and a normal 3 on the floor, instead of with multiple combinations of smaller lineups. Because everyone already know that is not going to last come big ten season.

  • Kenneth234

    Yes, the idea that this team should make more free throw shots is not constructive. We are going to have to live with inconsistency from the line this season. The only player that I think could easily improve his free throw shooting is Will. He too often doesn’t seem to be totally locked in on the shot prior to taking them. When he does they generally go down. Its almost like he is taking the concentration part for granted because he expects to make it. There was at least a couple of free throws attempts in which he was just about ready to shoot but stopped and said something to someone moments before actually shooting.

  • Kenneth234

    Yeah, I think we had a lot more unforced turnovers than UCONN did. Sure they did force plenty of turnovers, but some of the decisions that our players made that led to turnovers were mistakes and preventable. However, the flip side is that to prevent some of those, we need players to take some more mid range shots, which we have yet to see for certain if we can make. But if we take them, we have an opportunity to get on the glass and convert on the possession rather than trying to get back on transition defense and stop the other team from scoring.

  • Kenneth234

    The fouls on screens has as much to do with the ball handler and cutters as it has to do with the man setting the screen. I think that the screen man is trying to get some part of the defender rather than just sitting still and waiting for the contact. Its the cutter who needs to ensure that the screen is successful. And in general, its better to have a screen that does not work rather than have one that gets called for an offensive foul on our bigs.

  • hoosier1158

    Ok. But Luke can and needs to score and rebound, He needs to be IU’s center.

  • Eric Glen Lindenschmidt

    I tend to agree, go back through the stats of the games, and look. Poor shooting, lot of turnovers, low amount of rebounds for his size, and hardly ever gets an assist, yet has a lot of minutes every game.

  • PDXHoosier

    Lunardi’s first S curve is out. UCONN at 11 and IU at 23. I’d take our chances against them again on a neutral court

  • Eric Glen Lindenschmidt

    Agree, trying to make the extra pass too many times, when we could have shot an open 6-12 foot jumper, but threw it away trying too force it inside.

  • Eric Glen Lindenschmidt

    They need to bring in Steve Eyl or Sloan from back in the day to show these guys how to set a proper screen.