Yogi Ferrell shows leadership in win over Illinois

  • 02/26/2016 1:12 am in

After a slow start that saw Indiana go down 10, the Hoosiers stormed back to dominate Illinois 74-47 on Thursday night at the State Farm Center.

It is the second time IU has blown out Illinois this season, this time doing it without Robert Johnson, who missed the game with a left ankle sprain.

IU, now 23-6 overall and 13-3 in the Big Ten and alone in first place, has an opportunity to clinch at least a share of the conference title with one more win this season.

Yogi Ferrell led the charge, scoring a game-high 27 points to go along with five assists and five rebounds.

“He works very hard,” Tom Crean said. “From the day he walked in, he’s been one of those guys that spends a ton of extra time in the gym. What he’s gained now is the ability to study film. He’s playing with a lot of confidence, and he brings a lot of confidence to his teammates.”

It was the type of game needed from its senior leader in a late season road game.

“We were going to have to create our own energy so I was just out there talking to these guys all the time whether it was defense or offense, not letting those guys hang their heads and going on to the next play,” Ferrell said. “That’s all I try to do is just lead those guys.”

Three Hoosiers reached double-figures, Ferrell, freshman big man Thomas Bryant and Nick Zeisloft who started in place of Johnson. Both Bryant and Zeisloft had 14 points.

IU didn’t look good early and trailed 14-4 as it adjusted to the absence of Johnson. There were several plays where passes went straight out of bounds and some ill-advised post feeds that ended in turnovers. But slowly, the Hoosiers worked their way back into the game and took a lead after an 11-0 run. Indiana outscored Illinois 47-19 in the second half.

“We played much sharper in the second half in a sense of making sure the ball was going through the paint,” Crean said. “When we went through the paint we were 14-of-20 but we were 3-of-17 when we didn’t, and that’s not a good recipe for us. Our recipe’s got to be that we go through the paint. That doesn’t mean we have to score in the paint, but the ball has to go through there.”

Rebounding difference

Indiana dominated Illinois on the glass as the Hoosiers grabbed 40 percent of their missed shots and allowed the Fighting Illini to pull down just two offensive rebounds for two second chance points.

“Everybody that played eight minutes or more in this game got a rebound,” Crean said. “And so when you out-rebound a team by 20, that’s huge and it has to come from a lot of people.”

Bryant was Indiana’s leading rebounder with eight, and four IU players total had more rebounds than the Illini’s top rebounder (Maverick Morgan and Kendrick Nunn each with 4).

Injury scare 

Early in the second half, Troy Williams went down and limped off the court holding his leg after a collision with a couple of Illinois players. He went back to the locker room with trainer Tim Garl, but soon came back out and was cleared for play. Williams did return to action and finished with seven points and five rebounds.

Another injury to a core member of the rotation is obviously the last thing Crean and his team needs, especially with Iowa looming next week.

“A very important win, a valuable win against a team that’s got some real fire power,” Crean said. “We take this win very, very seriously. Illinois is very close.”

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  • Joshua Adams

    Not only was this a ‘trap’ game; without RJ, it was a classic road defeat in the making. The point differential at the buzzer is astonishing. Well done, young men and Coach!

  • TheFoot

    Troy still looked like he was favoring that ankle when he came back in, hopefully all the icing he did to it last night keeps him in the lineup.

  • Jack Nolan

    Can’t believe TB finished with 14. He looked so bad in the 1st half. They were definitely settling for the long ball too. Great adjustment by the team. Go IU!

  • Hardwood83

    Was it his ankle? I thought the way he was rubbing his thigh that maybe he caught a knee in the quad. Either way, he looked find when he came back in and a few days off should serve him well.

  • TomJameson

    I think the injury to RJ negated the “trap” game narrative. Reason is, that the team knew they all had to step up and focus on that game. A trap game is looking past that game to the next and RJs injury stopped that thinking right away.

  • TomJameson

    I think he’s probably got a deep bruise. You’re right, a few days off should serve them all well. Hopefully CTC won’t practice the heck out of the players and wear them out too much.

  • TheFoot

    I did see him rubbing on his leg when he went to the bench, but when he came back I noticed a limp on him while he was playing defense that just made me think ankle. I was just making assumptions, but I haven’t seen anything mentioned about it so he must be okay. Like you and Tom mentioned, rest for a day at least will be best.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Five takeaways I haven’t seen mentioned
    1. While CTC was being interviewed I saw RJ walking off the court and he seemed to be walking fine….that could be great news!!
    2. I haven’t checked the books but I don’t think we’ve ever swept Ill with a 61 point differential. Just say that to yourself one time 61 points!!! Unreal and totally awesome!
    3. I don’t think TW played as bad as some of you indicated. He got burnt on the defensive end a couple times….crean took him out and he seemed to play pretty well after…only 1 TO….2 offensive boards and much better D the 2nd half.
    4. Held them to 7 points with slightly less than 10 mins to go. Phenominal D!!
    5. Looking forward bigtime to the Toilet v Maryland game…win win for us…either Mary is knocked out or the fecal fanatics get L #7 and slide them further down the standings.
    Happy to be a Hoosier

  • According to coach it was a thigh bruise.. so he was icing his ankle huh? I would say that is definitely a strange treatment for a thigh injury…

  • Not sure why you’d even speculate as to that. It has been widely reported recently that Crean has really been taking it easy on them at practice.. More, talking things out less doing.. So I guess you’re, thinking now tat Troy and RJ are injured he’s going to do just the opposite? That speculation, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me.

  • If you jave a deep thigh bruise, it’s going to hurt when you walk.. doesn’t have to be a foot or ankle to make you want to favor it.

  • TomJameson

    You’re right, and I wasn’t very clear. I like the trend CTC has shown this year on easing up on the practices coming down the home stretch. I’ve heard there are less “intense” practices, more videos, even the walk-throughs are less physical.

    I’ve been saying that for awhile now, but in my comment above I should have been more clear. This new practice of CTCs is something that seems to be new this year (another reason I think he is growing as a coach).

  • Lil Hoosier

    Do MB or Zeisloft have a chance at 6th man of the B1G?

  • Fifer39

    …and that leadership just won us a title!!!!!!!!!!! A fitting tribute to an IU legend. Now let’s go finish the job in style.

  • pdhoosier

    Thank you Thad! Thank you thank you thank you!