Resiliency helps IU end losing streak to Wisconsin in 75-72 upset

  • 01/14/2014 11:23 pm in

Without hesitation, sophomore Yogi Ferrell pump-faked, stepped back and launched the ball from the top of the key.

It didn’t matter that he was shooting 0-for-7 from beyond the arc in the prior 37 minutes against No. 3 Wisconsin, a team the Hoosiers hadn’t beaten since Jan. 31, 2007 — when Ferrell was in seventh grade. It didn’t matter that he was 8-for-22 from the field at that point. When he jumped, he knew exactly what he was doing.

And for the only time of the night, his 3-pointer sailed into the basket. The shot was as pure as any.

“Most of my threes kind of felt good, (they) just weren’t going in,” said Ferrell, who finished with 25 points, four assists and zero turnovers. “If I had to make one three, I was glad it was that last one.”

That 3-pointer gave Indiana (12-5, 2-2) a three point lead with 2:53 remaining. The Hoosiers wouldn’t relinquish it en route to a 75-72 upset victory over the Badgers (16-1, 3-1), their second straight Big Ten win after being down by as many as 10 points.

Wait. Doesn’t this seem familiar? It should.

Flip the script back a few days to Saturday, when the Hoosiers played at Penn State looking to avoid their first 0-3 start in the Big Ten since 2010-2011. A bit more than 10 minutes into the game, the Hoosiers trailed by 15 points and were on pace for 20 turnovers. Nothing came easy, as the Hoosiers battled their demons to the end. They stormed back, battled in a back-and-forth game and won, topping the Nittany Lions, 79-76.

Back to Tuesday night, though. It was a familiar tale.

Only 6:37 into the game, Wisconsin had an eight point lead. Indiana had missed its past five shots. Just 2:39 later, the Hoosiers had tied it. At halftime, Indiana trailed by one point, at 35-34, but they had allowed the Badgers to shoot a 62.5 effective field goal percentage and had allowed 11 points off turnovers.

And then the second half started, and Wisconsin junior Traevon Jackson took over the game. Jackson scored the Badgers’ first nine points to put their lead up to six points. By the 13:28 mark, sophomore Sam Dekker had nailed a 3-pointer to put Wisconsin up, 52-42. Indiana coach Tom Crean called a timeout.

He thought his team was playing “solid,” but that there were just a few more adjustments necessary. He knew Wisconsin’s defense was sagging. He also knew that the Badgers couldn’t stop Indiana when driving into the paint.

Evan Gordon got the ball out of that timeout. He ran to his right, pulled up as it appeared he would drive to the rim and shot a jumper. It went in — two of his eight points — and Indiana had cut Wisconsin’s lead to eight. Assembly Hall had come alive.

“We got down, and our crowd got us back,” Crean said. “I thought that was the absolute turning point in the game because our guys fed off of that.”

After that Gordon jump shot, Wisconsin went into a panic on offense. First Jackson missed a 3-pointer. Then an offensive foul. Another missed jumper. Another missed 3-pointer. Another two missed 3-pointers.

By then, Indiana had cut Wisconsin’s lead from 52-42 to 52-48. And then, with 9:44 left, Ferrell had the ball and hit a one-handed, leaning shot from the foul line. Off the backboard, it went in. Jackson had fouled him, too.

But Ferrell missed the ensuing free throw. Freshman Noah Vonleh, who had only 10 points and five rebounds on the night, grabbed the missed shot with his right hand and tipped it back in. Tie game.

“There were six or seven possessions in a row that we gave up,” Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. “When you’re on the road, you can’t do that.”

The two teams then exchanged blows, much like Indiana and Penn State did on Saturday. From Vonleh’s tip in to the 2:54 mark, there were six lead changes and four ties in that 6:45 span. But the Hoosiers had been in this position before.

Ferrell took that shot from the top of the key as the clock hit 2:53 much like redshirt sophomore Austin Etherington launched the ball from the left baseline corner against the Nittany Lions with 1:22 left. Both 3-point attempts sinked through the net.

“Just the way those guys know that you can win games regardless of what the score is really helped us,” senior Will Sheehey said. “The more games that they had that are close like that definitely helps those guys.

“Yogi and I played in a bunch of games like that, but for the younger guys, to know that the game is not over at a certain point really helps.”

Down the stretch, as fans in Assembly Hall were screaming in excitement at times and holding onto each other in anxiety at others, the Hoosiers didn’t flinch.

Ferrell hit a contested jumper over big man Frank Kaminsky. Freshman Stanford Robinson hit a free throw to make it a two-possession game. Robinson then drove to the basket and put up a layup that was eventually called for goaltending. Ferrell hit another two key free throws with 18.1 seconds remaining.

From the time the score had been 52-42, Wisconsin went 9-for-20 from the field and a dismal 1-for-9 from beyond the arc up until its final possession.

Up 75-72, Indiana had to stop Wisconsin once more off Ferrell’s two free throws. Wisconsin brought it up the court and Jackson missed a quick 3-pointer. Josh Gasser got the offensive rebound and dished it to Ben Brust on the right baseline.

Except as Brust got off the shot, pressured as he took it, Ryan said Brust wasn’t sure if he was behind the 3-point line and wasn’t completely sure if he had enough time to take it.

“When the clock is ticking in your head like that, time speeds up,” Ryan said. “He felt like there was just two seconds left instead of eight.”

The shot was erratic, off the front of the rim. Robinson rebounded and passed it to Gordon, who dribbled off the final seconds.

The final buzzer sounded. Students ran onto the court in a frenzy, jumping and simply celebrating in the moments after. For the first time in 13 tries, Indiana had finally beaten Wisconsin. It ended the Badgers’ perfect season in the process.

In that final 13:28, after trailing by 10 points, Indiana turned the ball over just twice — the last coming at the 10:25 mark. It had five assists in that same time and shot 60.8 percent from the field.

Plenty had been said about how the Hoosiers grew up at Penn State. Well, on Tuesday night they proved they did just that, coming away with their first signature win of the season.

“To me, the team needs this,” Crean said. “I mean, we’ve had a long week from Michigan State to Penn State, but we got a lot better.

“We got a lot better in the last couple days.”

Filed to:

  • IUfanToby

    Glad to see Saturday’s confidence carry over into this game. Stan continues to impress. We can all come back down from the ledge now, this team is starting to figure it out.

  • Jakedipo

    This was just an all around fantastic game! Great effort by the players and kudos to the coaching staff… I love love LOVE that we finally beat Wisconsin!!

  • One thing I’ve noticed is the coaching staff is doing what much of the fan base has been upset about:
    1. Addressing Hollowell’s play.
    2. More time for Stanford Robinson.
    3. Although still no real apparent offense…Crean is at least Coaching by motivating and holding players accountable.
    Good win…hopefully we build on this and compete for a big ten title.

  • Alford Bailey

    I tend to agree but atleast our spacing is much better allowing guys to drive to the basket.

  • Doug

    Good grief. Crean talks like we are S.W.Missouri State.

  • Ryan Hill

    One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed the past two games is off the ball movement. Driving lanes open when you force help side to be aware of two people at the same time. How many back cuts has Will scored on in the past two games? Yogi, Stanford, even Evan are getting to the hoop with much less there to contest their shots. If we can continue that trend and get to around a 35% clip from behind the arc, we might develop an offensive identity to build on and be considerably more dangerous going forward than we were a week and a half ago.

  • Tharnid Wanderer

    Missouri State the school formerly known as SW Missouri State 🙂

  • SCHoosier

    A really impressive win….tough to come back from a 10 pt deficit against the Badgers. Hoosiers survived Yogi’s mid-second half meltdown..and road him down the stretch. Stan was huge. Crean et all had to see something in t he scouting that allowed them to dominate the lanes with drives (altho WIS did that decently also early in the game) Let’s enjoy this..give credit to all concern and remember: The next time we’ll see WIS go 1/12 on FT’s and 7/23 on 3’s is probably never! With that kind of shooting..Bo ought to throw this game out..tell his team to forget about B=-town and move on to the B-10 title.

  • mk

    i dont really understand what you are trying to say…please elaborate

  • Brklynhoosier

    No disrespect, but I’m not sure I understand what you mean by “no real apparent offense”? This after a night we shot +50% and rammed the ball down Wisky’s throat… We don’t have great jump shooters, I’ll agree, but the offense tonight especially seemed primed around maximizing our guys’ strengths: beating the other team down the floor in transition, and, in the halfcourt, using ball movement, spacing, and setting good screens to open up driving lanes…

    Agreed on this — I don’t know about a B1G title, but hope this revs us up and pushes us into the tourney…

  • MillaRed

    I will not be posting any longer. Ever since I saw Alex’s ad for League of Angels I have decided to do that for a hobby now. I have played for 36 straight hours, save the IU/Wiscy game. It was nice knowing all of you.

  • MillaRed

    Even Dakich mentioned a number of times our half court offense suffers. This game is a great example of how the “want” can overcome our abilities. Coach sent a 2nd half message and it was all about “want.” The message was well received.

    Quite simply WI is very slow of foot. Not all of our opponents will suffer in this area but give Coach credit for demanding they get in the lane.

    By the way, I thought he was having a heart attack there for a minute. Funny stuff.

  • MillaRed

    I not only think Stan is finally healthy, I think he would drive through a brick wall if it got him 2 points. He’s just glides in there and he’s “bouncy.” I am now understanding some of the early Victor comparisons.

  • Outoftheloop

    No, it was Stan not Yogi who grabbed that last rebound and dribbled out the clock.

  • Outoftheloop

    Say it ain’t so Milla.

  • Outoftheloop

    No, WI was 1/4 on FT.

  • Outoftheloop

    It also helps that when Noah goes out to the arc he is perfect on 3’s in the B1G.

  • calbert40

    It is still a work in progress, but our spacing has been much improved over the last two games in comparison to the MSU game. Truthfully, I’m not certain that anyone can stay in front of Yogi or Stan and keep them out of the paint. Our best offense may in fact be a) proper floor spacing, b) ball screen for Yogi or Stan, c) drive to the hoop. At least last night that was the case. They had no answer for those two.

  • Outoftheloop

    When you win most of the statistical battles: FT, Rebounds, Assists, TO’s, Blocks plus Steals, you can overcome 4/14 3 point shooting and win. But even on 3 point shooting Indiana had the right guys taking the shots: Yogi-8, Will-4 and Noah-2. This has to be viewed by the team as the “beginning” of long stretches of good play for Indiana to achieve its potential this season. But all of the goals are right there to be obtained.

  • calbert40

    I understand the sentiment in point 3, but I feel as though they have improved by leaps and bounds on halfcourt offense in the last two games. Their movement without the ball is better. Their spacing is better. Their ball movement and switching the floor (UW hallmarks) is better. Also, if you watch the off-ball movement instead of the ball handler, you will see that they are doing a lot more off-ball screening of late too. It isn’t poetry in motion, but it isn’t as bad as it was earlier in the year.

    This team will probably never be a great halfcourt team, but just so long as they aren’t a bad one, this team should be able to compete with anyone in the B1G. Right now, they are definitely not in the “bad” category any more, which is a big reason for the recent improvement in overall play. Well…that and limiting TOs.

  • calbert40


  • PDXHoosier

    Huge win! My Wisconsin coworkers were nowhere to be found last night

  • Jordan Littman

    Thanks for that catch, Outoftheloop. It’s been corrected accordingly.

  • PDXHoosier

    indeed. the last 2 games the ball movement with Stan, AE and Will has been great. Will has been very active off the ball, especially screening

  • Brklynhoosier

    Agreed that the halfcourt is a work in progress. But “no real apparent offense” seemed a little harsh, esp given what we just saw. And LOVED that moment when Crean had his freakout. About time…

  • Jakedipo

    It definitely helps our spacing when Noah hits 3’s like he has been, too! He gets their biggest guy out of the paint, then Stan and Yogi can go to work.

  • unclekerfuffle

    IMMIC, several of us said that the team we see in November is going to be a lot different than the team we see in March–all indications are that the metamorphosis is well underway.


    Do not worry. Both you and I know of a place high in the mountains, a very large and very old place made of stone & mortar. A place that has people wearing long dark flowing robes that use rope for belts as they walk the hallways in silence, contemplating the true meaning of IU bball. Yes, welcome back my old friend it has been too many bball seasons since we last saw you. We helped you last time you needed us and we will help you in your time of need once again.

  • MillaRed

    ha ha

  • Alford Bailey

    Would love to know what Coach was saying to himself.

  • Alford Bailey

    I agree. Those two were unstoppable.

  • Outoftheloop

    That was quickly done. Keep up the fine reporting!

  • IU Nines

    To expand on your last sentence… Ball movement hasn’t been the issue. The issue has been ball movement while maintaining possession. The key for the frenetic Hoosier attack is ball control on the drive, smart passing, and strong/aware hands on the receiving end. I love Vonleh. He will be such a stud when he learns how to move his feet and readies his hands in anticipation of the pass. From a guard perspective, we need intelligent penetration. Keep the ball low and no more leaving the feet without an open option.

  • Marco’sgotback

    Can someone please address the Vonleh substitution that could have been far more significant of a coaching blunder than it was? Lapse in judgement at crunch time. Reminds me of the terrible play calling at the end of the first half of this game after a 2 minute time out to draw something up. Need I even mention the poor job of drawing up a play at the end of the Illinois game (regulation). Compile that with no ability for solid in bounds plays. These things scare me even when we pull out the win. Winning heals most, but we still need to evaluate and improve. Are we learning this? Lastly, Luke Fischer, anyone know what REALLY happened there? Might this be used against us for recruits?

  • Hoosier Hall

    One can only speculate, but I’m sure it wasn’t a prayer! Lol!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I agree. Spacing has been better as well as off ball movement and passing. I’ve seen more open looks and layups from this team in the past two games than I have the entire season!

    I think CTC and the Hoosiers have found something with this team that does actually work. Last night really exposed the fact that Wisconsin did not have a single defender that could stay in front of Yogi, Evan, or Stan. IU put in some shooters (at least what we got) in Will, Evan, Yogi, and Austin or Noah, they spread the floor, and they allowed the guards to actually run a dribble drive that looked like it should. It led to a lot of attempted layups and good passes.

    I hope they continue to improve because if the improvement from now through the end of the season is the same as what we’ve seen from the end of the preconference season until now this team should be pretty good come tournament time!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Ha! Maybe he was speaking in tongues?

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Stan has a natural ability to navigate through traffic like a getaway driver for a team of bank robbers!

    He’s silky smooth the way he can twist his body and still get the shot up on the rim. He’s going to be fun to watch over the next few years!

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    Didn’t Stan grab the last rebound, pass it to Evan, and Evan dribbled out the clock?

  • SCHoosier

    Stan is also staying and dribbling lower on those drives which is the key to not getting striped..and increases the chances of a reach-in foul.

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Coulda woulda shoulda……Uggggh 15-2 and 3-1 in the conference were so so close!!! I will take 12-5 and 2-2 though as I hope this is a corner we are turning. We cannot lose any perceived winnable games, and must steal another 1 or 2 big ones. I feel we could be dancing, but are still right one the edge.