BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Jordan Hulls scored 17 points to earn MVP honors and Yogi Ferrell shook off two critical missed free throws at the end of regulation to score seven overtime points, leading Indiana to an 82-72 win over Georgetown in the Legends Classic on Tuesday night in front of 10,478 at the Barclays Center.
The Hoosiers still stuck with both 6-foot point guards in the lineup despite playing a Georgetown team that started four players 6-foot-8 or taller and played that large for most of the game. Indiana used mostly 2-3 zone to make up for the size disadvantage and it paid off, as the Hoosiers kept Georgetown without a field goal in overtime and got scoring at critical times from both point guards.
“People always wonder why you would play two small guards together,” junior guard Victor Oladipo said. “Because they’re both special. They both can play on the court together. They don’t need to be together. It doesn’t matter. They’re special. They’re good guards for a reason. That’s why we play them together.”
Sophomore center Cody Zeller had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Hoosiers to earn All-Tournament team honors. Junior guard Victor Oladipo had another strong outing with 12 points and senior forward Christian Watford posted 10 points and 10 rebounds, but when the Hoosiers needed big shots to hold on to or take leads, almost all of them came from Hulls and Ferrell.
After a brilliantly played first half that Indiana led 36-32, both teams slowed the game down with zone defense and grinding possessions. The Hoosiers trailed 49-48, but Hulls hit the first tide-turning shot of the night with a 3-pointer that put the Hoosiers up 51-49 and kept them ahead for most of the rest of regulation. It was part of a 14-2 run that put the Hoosiers up 59-51 with 4:03 to go in the game. A 3-point play by Georgetown forward Mikael Hopkins made it 59-54, but on the next possession, Hulls got in the lane late in the shot clock to knock down a floater that made it 61-54.
Georgetown rallied back immediately after, however, and Ferrell missed on two opportunities to put the game away. After a 3-pointer by Georgetown guard Markel Starks made it 63-59, Ferrell was fouled for a one-and one opportunity.
He missed the front end.
On the next possession, Georgetown forward Otto Porter drilled a 3-pointer with 29 seconds to go to make it 63-62. Ferrell was fouled again on the next possession.
He made the first, but missed the second. Georgetown got the ball back with a chance to tie or take the lead and the Hoyas tied it on a driving layup by Porter. The Hoosiers had 4.6 seconds left to try to win it, but Zeller missed a floater in the lane off a late dish from Hulls, and replay showed the shot wouldn’t have counted if it fell because it stayed in Zeller’s hands too long.
The young Ferrell realized he had to shake it off, and Hulls made sure he was aware of that.
“I remember getting in his face afterwards in the huddle after he missed that free throw,” Hulls said. “That he just needs to let it go and go down and get a stop for us. We’re still going to win this game.”
Said Ferrell: “I think just moving it on and putting it in the past is the best way to win a game. … I just tried to play it like it was zero-zero as soon as we hit overtime.”
It was obvious he did. He hit two free throws in the first minute to give Indiana a 67-64 lead. Hulls then came through with a critical 3-point play to give Indiana a 70-64 advantage, driving in from the left wing to hit a runner and draw the foul.
“They were overplaying me on the 3-point line,” Hulls said. “A lot of teams are going to do that. I saw a lane and was able to drive and hit a little floater and get fouled on the way up as well. I was just trying to make plays. We really wanted to win this game.”
The Hoosiers kept building the lead and Ferrell effectively hit the dagger. With the shot clock running down, he knocked down an off-balance fallaway 3-pointer with 59 seconds to go to give the Hoosier a 78-68.
“When I was coming off, I heard one of the coaches say ‘Shoot it,’” Ferrell said. “I knew the time was winding down. I didn’t have any time to drive it. I knew just coming off that screen I’d have a pull-up, and I just shot it.”
The Hoosiers held on thanks in part to two more free throws down the stretch by Hulls to claim the victory and the title, as the Hoyas never came closer than seven points again.
“It’s a program win for us,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “It’s a program championship for us.”