WHAT HAPPENED: Indiana took a double-digit lead about midway through the first half, lost most of it, but then rebuilt it early in the second frame and from there cruised to a 90-74 win over Stony Brook on Sunday in front of an announced crowd of 17,472 at Assembly Hall, though the crowd wasn’t anywhere near that big because of inclement weather in the state.
The Hoosiers took a 30-18 lead with an 8-0 run in the first half, allowed the Sea Wolves to cut the deficit to 35-33 with a 15-5 run, but took a 41-35 advantage into halftime. A 9-2 run early in the second half gave Indiana a 53-41 advantage and Stony Brook never cut the deficit below 10 points after that.
Indiana improves to 4-0. Stony Brook falls to 3-1.
WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell wasn’t quite as on fire Sunday as he was on Friday, but he was close enough, scoring a game-high 24 points and also posting six assists. He was 7-for-16 from the field including 3-for-7 from beyond the 3-point arc and he made seven of the 10 free throws he attempted. He continues to get more comfortable from outside the arc and is shooting above 40 percent from the year so far. his mid-range game has also been strong and he can still go to the rim and score with ease.
Freshman forward Noah Vonleh gets more unstoppable by the game, though free throws remain an issue. He posted his fourth double-double in four college games with 18 points and 15 rebounds and also had an extremely impressive block to go with two steals. He was just 6-for-14 at the free throw line, but his low post game is coming along nicely and he’s still scoring a lot of points off of offensive rebounds.
Senior guard Evan Gordon had perhaps his best game with Indiana with 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting. Sophomore forward Jeremy Hohllowell had 10 points and three blocks. Senior forward Will Sheehey fouled out in just 12 minutes of action, but also scored nine points including the first seven of the game.
Freshman wing Troy Williams had eight points, six rebounds. three steals and two blocks, and IU coach Tom Crean also went out of his way to point out the contributions of freshman Collin Hartman, who had three rebounds and 12 minutes but simply appeared to up the overall energy level.
Stony Brook’s Carson Puriefoy had 22 points, forward Jameel Warney scored 19 and swingman Eric McAlister added 11.
WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Against a very mature and experienced Stony Brook opponent, the Hoosiers played a very under-control, efficient game. They certainly ran when they had the opportunity and took advantage of their substantial edge in length and athleticism, but they picked their spots on when to attack and moved the ball around well when it wasn’t there.
The plan, IU coach Tom Crean said, was to either attack early in the clock or sit back and get the ball reversed but simply not to settle for jump shots that weren’t open. They didn’t. They only made six of 17 3-point attempts, but most of the shots were in rhythm and they certainly managed to get open looks for Ferrell, who has become the team’s go-to shooter. Vonleh is continuing to improve at carving out space in the post, and that allowed the Hoosiers to play inside out. When they drove the ball, they were effective at creating space, beating their men, and also drawing contact. Stony Brook committed 32 fouls which allowed the Hoosiers to go to the free throw line 49 times.
All told, the Hoosiers shot 50 percent (27-for-54) from the field, including 60 percent (12-for-20) in the second half. Shooting just 61.2 percent at the free throw line (30-for-49) was somewhat problematic, but getting 30 point at the line still helped so the fouls were very much worth it. They turned the ball over 17 times and had some sloppiness, but overall it was arguably Indiana’s most solid offensive effort considering the opponent.
On defense, Indiana was mostly solid as well, holding Stony Brook to 39.3 percent shooting (24-for-61) as well as 3-for-15 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc. Guard Carson Puriefoy got to the rim against them on some level with 22 points and forward Jameel Warney had 19. The Hoosiers also won the battle of the glass with 46 rebounds to Stony Brook’s 31. The Hoosiers grabbed 31 defensive rebounds to Stony Brook’s nine offensive boards.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN: Stony Brook and Long Island-Brooklyn don’t play exactly the same style of basketball, but they do have similar pedigrees — defending champions of northeastern mid-major conferences with at least some level of returning experience and an understanding that they couldn’t beat Indiana by trying to out-athlete them. Both teams would challenge the Hoosiers by playing smart, precise basketball, by packing the lane on some level and forcing them to shoot jump shots.
The first time they faced that, the Hoosiers had problems, making just one of 16 3-point attempts against LIU-Brooklyn and going the distance with the Blackbirds before winning 73-72. That they showed much more patience and intelligence this time around shows that they were able to take lessons and apply them quickly, something that is very important for this young team to do. It’s also a good sign that after they were pushed by LIU-Brooklyn, they realized that a team like Stony Brook was capable of doing the same if they didn’t maintain their intensity. Instead, they did, and that allowed them to cruise comfortably into 4-0.
The real tests come next, of course. Regardless of what happens at Madison Square Garden at the end of this weekend, the Hoosiers will have to play two teams from major conferences in Washington and either Boston College or Connecticut. It will be the first time they play opponents with a level of athleticism and talent that at least approaches theirs if it isn’t equal or superior. That will give Indiana its first opportunity to establish what its identity truly is.
WHO SAID WHAT: From the fantastic, amazing, wonderful people at ASAP Sports.
COACH CREAN: This will come back as being an outstanding victory for us for a couple reasons. Number one, that’s an outstanding team, and they’ve won their league three out of four times. I certainly wouldn’t bet against them this year. They’ve got experience; they’ve got depth; they’ve got inside play; they’ve got three‑point shooting. They’ve got tremendous driving ability. Puriefoy it’s ridiculous how good he is getting baskets and making plays.
Coach Pikiell, he’s a guy it doesn’t matter what level he’s at, he’s a high‑level coach, very high‑level coach and coaches with intensity. He’s creative and innovative, and you can see that by what they run. But what they are is extremely disciplined to what they want to get done. They have a good plan that if we would not have attacked and got the ball reversed and settled on any side of the court, it would have been a problem for us.
The ball had to move today. Bodies had to move. We had to ‑‑ there were going to be times it was getting down into the clock a little bit to get the movement we needed, get the ball back in Yogi’s hand’s maybe or get it inside. We wanted to score on the clock or make sure we got some reversals. The last thing we wanted to do was settle. It wasn’t a perfect game by any stretch, not even close. We did some excellent things offensively. We did some things ‑‑ we missed the free throws, not so good. But what we did is we figured out that the intensity and the energy level cannot wain. If it does you’re not going to be in the game.
One of the key points of this game was Collin Hartman coming back in in the first half. I learned a long time ago that when you’re trying to change momentum, because we hit a lull, we had hit a lull. We were a little quiet. We were flat. Whether we were getting disciplined they were getting foul shots, whatever it was, whatever it went through, we hit a lull. Collin came in and changed energy level.
So it’s a great example of it does not matter who it is, what it is, where it is, there’s always somebody that can change momentum, and I thought Collin Hartman did that in the first half. One of the reasons is because he never stop talking on that bench. Never stopped talking. He was asking questions. He’s constantly pointing things out to his teammates. That’s what we have to have. That’s how you grow up and learn, and we have to have it from everybody.
Second half was much better for us, especially on the backboards. We were only up three on the boards and we had four offensive rebounds at halftime, and that can’t happen. That can’t happen. We’re going to find out if we battle as a strength because we’re getting ready to go on the road. It’s not a strength unless it travels. It’s not a strength unless you can do it against the best people. So we’ve certainly got the components of being really good at some things. Got the components of having a deep team.
We certainly have the talent that when we continue to understand how important intensity and intelligence are and then you can play on your instincts and grow from there. But, again, the more we play, two best games he’s played at Indiana because number one, they’re back‑to‑back, and really played the same way. He played way more minutes than I would have liked today, but that’s just the way it was. But he was continually trying to find what the game was giving his teammates and what the game was giving him. And he’s playing defense at an extremely high level, and he’s doing a great job of figuring out what we have to do to win that possession. Doesn’t mean we’re always going to win it, but to win that possession with the best shot, the best movement inside of that possession, and all of a sudden, he’s got 50 points in two games.
If he continues to do that, because it’s not like we’re going to go down the line and all of a sudden he’ll be the focal point on another team’s scouting report. He’s already there. He’s already at the top of the list. I put him there. When you have that attention being paid to you, it’s not always going to be the way you want it. You have to figure out how you can get it where it needs to be and he’s doing that. Noah, J.D. just told us, there hasn’t been a triple‑double here for 40 years. Yeah, but Noah’s got two in my mind because of 15 deflections today again. He had 12. So I think we had 63 on the day with two guys, two freshmen in double figures and deflections, that’s a huge, huge deal for what we’re doing.
Evan Gordan did a great job. They isolated him in the first half, and as I told him, no one’s going to get isolated on this team, let alone a senior in the sense of being attacked off the dribble. He did a much better job in the second half. Figured that out, and in two games he’s got 22 points.
He’s attacking the rim. He’s working very hard. He’s got to continue to bring a high level of intensity and competitiveness to everything that he does and continue to bring the level up. It’s got to come up for him to continue to grow the way that he has and the way that he is. All of a sudden, Troy Williams has the second best time plus‑minus on our team, and that’s strong. That’s strong. When you’re a freshman, he makes a lot of plays. He makes a lot of things happen. He’s getting better right before our eyes, your eyes, everybody’s eyes, and there is really no limit to him.
Luke Fischer came in in the second half. Our best lineup in the first half was the one we started in the beginning of the second half. They scored seven of eight possessions together. So we like the energy of it, and we went with that lineup in the second half.
It’s not about who starts. It’s not about necessarily who gets what minutes. It’s who is going to figure out a way for us to win, and then it’s a lot more about who finishes the game. And I thought that second half starting lineup really gave us some good things.
I could go on and on, but I’m sure you’ve got questions so I’ll open it up.
Q. Playing not just the rebounding, but being able to establish Noah in the last couple games, getting him the ball, what’s that meant to the team?
COACH CREAN: I think it’s him. It has to go in first and foremost, and I think I said this the other day that on Tuesday night we had nine post‑ups in 40 minutes. I said we’re going to have nine post‑ups in the first eight or nine minutes and we continued to do that.
I think now what he’s got to continue to do because the double teams carry. They come from different angles. He’s going to start to be scouted at an even higher level. So he’s got to be quicker with his moves. But the bottom line is he is demanding the ball with his body. Soon he’ll be demanding the ball verbally, but he’s demanding the ball with his body he knows if he doesn’t demand the ball, I’m going to take him out of the game because he’s too good not to do that.
He’s learning. He’s learning the offense. He’s learning what we want to get after timeouts. He’s learning what happens next. He took the three. I want him to shoot threes and that one came down there, and that’s where he should have drove the ball to the post. He’s still learning a lot of different things, but I think that’s helped him.
Hunter is establishing that we can go in there and make things happen. Luke is going to establish that we can go inside to him, and Jeremy needs to continue to establish that. I think you saw tonight when we posted Yogi in different situations. So there are a lot of different things we can do to get the ball inside. But the number one premise has to be it’s going in there no matter who it is.
Q. 18‑15 ‑‑
COACH CREAN: 10‑15. Don’t forget that.
Q. What growth have you seen in Vonleh’s game in the last several weeks? What further growth do you want to see?
COACH CREAN: I think it’s just that he’s playing. I think you can see it. We’ll have some setbacks, believe me. It’s like I said last week, we worked offense for about an hour and ten minutes and had a two‑hour practice, and we got out there Tuesday night and looked like we’d never been together. We looked like we were coming to play some games at the HPER and let’s just go run.
It’s going to take time. I’m just trying to let them know we don’t have a lot of time. We have to get better every day with it. It’s the same with him. He really wants to be great. He’s got a tremendous humility. I wouldn’t trade him or anybody in that class and there are a lot of great players and all that kind of stuff that I’m talking about upside of what he is capable of, what he’s willing to do to get there and how much he knows he doesn’t know at this point.
When you start putting humility into a talented person, now you have a chance for incredible upside. So I can’t give you an answer on where it’s going to be. I don’t think anybody could, but he’s going to continue to expand. He’s going to continue to get better. He’s going to continue to get more comfortable. He’s going to continue to certainly get more attention.
And there are things. There are things that will work with him every day. Whether it be post‑up‑wise, rebounding‑wise, stuff that we want to get on film that people can’t scout to. That’s what we want to continue to do. He’s like all of them. There are a lot of room for growth, and he knows it and wants it.
Q. I know you’re not surprised he’s having those kind of games back‑to‑back. Is it just his confidence that he seems to have really come on now?
COACH CREAN: I said this to him a couple weeks ago. He’s going to be as great as his leadership allows him to be. I think you’re seeing that. There are going to be some nights that he’s not going to make shots. There are going to be some night that’s he doesn’t get a ton of shots.
He’s got to have the same disposition. He’s got a very, very high level disposition on both ends of the court right now. He knows that his defense can fuel his offense. He knows that our defense can fuel our offense. He knows that his offense can fuel his defense. When you have the ball in your hands like he does, and I think that he’s really ‑‑ what he’s really I think enjoying, but he’s gaining a lot from it is we’re moving him around a lot. He’s in a lot of different positions.
We always try to move players. Well, as the point guard, we don’t have him in just a standard position. That is not the strength of what our program is, and that’s not the strength of how we’re trying to develop guys. We want the strength to be multiple things at any given time, where one possession this, one possession that. But he’s playing defense at an extremely high level, extremely high. I think that’s the biggest thing, that disposition.
Q. Can you talk about the foul rules and all that stuff over the last couple of games? Do you see a bit of a difference today? Do you think the guys grasped one that means a little more?
COACH CREAN: I think it’s all part of the process. I’m just going to take time. I think the last foul that you have cannot affect your next play. Trying to figure out ‑‑ they’re trying to figure it out. The referees are trying to figure it all out. That’s not a negative. That’s just the way that it is. That crew, there were a couple things that happened today on the play where Noah got called for a foul when he was laying on the ground. The one referee said to me you might see that every ten years. We saw it twice today. There were two calls like that. It’s just a different day. It’s just different.
So if you can’t adjust to it mentally, and if you can’t adjust to it physically, you can’t adjust. You have to have both of those things. It goes for the coaches. It goes for the players. It goes for everybody. The other team’s trying to do the same thing. I had a buddy of mine the other night tell me my team and I screwed up. It can’t. It can’t. You’ve got to be able to move right on. And I thought they did a great job tonight of drawing the contact, creating it, isolating.
I think it brings a lot of strategy into the game. Anybody that argues it’s not pretty good. He puts points on the board in the game (No Microphone). I’m not into calling too many of them anyways because you need them late in the game. And that sure screwed me up, because we had three timeouts with 54 seconds left, and we took all three of those home. So I don’t ever want to call it. That will make some fans happy.
But bottom line is if you can’t adjust, you’re behind in this game, and that’s the way that it’s right now. The player that’s can adjust, and again, it’s for everybody. It doesn’t matter what your age is because that went out the window when the new rules came in. So if you can’t adjust, it’s going to be hard to play because you’ve got to move right on, move on to the next thing.
Q. Is that what you were kind of concerned about with Will when you were talking to him after he sat out that he didn’t adjust to?
COACH CREAN: There are certain energy levels of things all night of guys that I didn’t like, and that situation you just get right back in. Will’s better than that. Will will be fine. Will’s better than that. But to me, I’ve got to see it on film. You can’t allow the out of bounds there.
Will’s intent is excellent. There is no question about that. But like I said, it doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or it doesn’t matter if you’re a senior. If we and if I don’t hold them accountable for making those adjustments that they can make, well, then what am I? You know what I mean?
So I love every one of them. You know, I love them to death, but we’ve got to have more. We needed more from him tonight. Those fouls, it gets ‑‑ it plays with you, and you just can’t let it. You’ve got to move right on. He’ll be fine.
But I mean it won’t be the last time that will happen to somebody. We’ll just deal with it. But our whole deal right now is you’ve got to be ‑‑ it doesn’t matter if you’re starting. Doesn’t matter if you’re coming off the bench. It’s play on demand. When you go in, you absolutely have to be ready to go.
Now that’s hard for a young team. I get that. But that’s ‑‑ we’re also going to keep pushing that constantly. We had some guys tonight that were ready to go and we had a come that weren’t. And we just have to learn from it as we go. I answered a couple long ones. Go ahead.
Q. You’re going on the road. What are the keys especially for a young team?
COACH CREAN: Well, I think the bottom line is you can talk about it. We can talk about it all week in the sense that we’re going to New York and lights aren’t any brighter, it’s a 90‑foot court with ten foot from the floor to the rim, it doesn’t make any difference, but it is. It’s different.
Okay. So what we’ve got to do is continue to harp on what the identity is. And whether it’s the intensity, whether it’s the way we get back on defense, I think Washington is going to pose tremendous issues for us because they’re going to make it really, really hard for us to get open. They are probably from what we’ve seen as fast at getting the ball out of bounds right now as anybody in the country, and it’s what we were a year ago. It’s what Carolina has always been. They are going up that court. Okay?
So if our transition defense isn’t right, if our shot selection isn’t right, if you’re ability and technique and details of getting open, and you saw some of it tonight the way they were just catching and making some plays (Indiscernible) it’s got to been engrained in the fundamentals of executing, cutting, getting back, helping on defense.
There is not a lot of time to think that the lights are a little brighter in New York. You know what, as soon as somebody gets out of that mainstream, we’ve got to make a change. They’ve got to learn. It’s not going to be any time all year that we play in big‑time atmospheres against high‑level opponents. I can’t wait for it personally.
It’s going to be a lot of fun to go in there. We’re going to have a ton of fans. I think we’ve got probably as many as anybody right now, and I think there will be a ton of walk‑ups in there. It felt great further last year at Barclays, and last night there were so many fans. It was like a split with Georgetown. It was great. I hope we have a ton of people there on Thursday.
But the bottom line is we’ve got to go in there and really keep forming our identity about how we play.
Q. Do you scratch your head, Coach, when he played so well in the opening game?
COACH CREAN: It’s the old thing about it being contagious. I don’t think there is any question about that. It just is. But what I don’t like about that is when we start getting nervous about it and we start getting a little quiet or we shorten our shot. That’s when you have to bring more confidence to each other on the court. You have to walk up and make more reminders. I’m trying to yell at them, but they know each other’s game more and more now. I’d be far more concerned if we weren’t getting the attempts.
49 attempts we’ll take those. We’ll take those, then that would be a problem. What you do is every foul you get you’re making it just a little bit harder for that team and you’re climbing in the depth.
So the plus in getting to the line, the negative, not making them. But the bottom line, we’re better than that. We’ll be better than that, and we’ll continue to work on it the way we have.
FastScripts by ASAP Sports
KEVIN YOGI FERRELL
Q. You had four straight double‑doubles. Are you surprised?
NOAH VONLEH: No, not really. I’ve just got to keep working hard, going after the glass and just keep defending the ball off, and hopefully it will keep coming.
Q. Can you talk about the knock down threes you had in the last couple of games? Are you more confident?
KEVIN YOGI FERRELL: Yeah, Coach was just kind of telling us not to rush anything, really pick and choose my spots. After four shots I was just saying I don’t have anything to prove with my outside shooting. Just go out there and play my game and shoot open jumpers.
Q. How was that coming off the bench? It didn’t seem like you had a lull.
COLLIN HARTMAN: It’s a different role for me from high school. Coming in with good energy and doing different things on the court, just being here raises the level of energy and rebounding and stay solid on defense. We had to work in multiple positions and it was a different aspect of the game for me.
Q. You played 29 minutes, but (No Microphone)?
NOAH VONLEH: We’ve been working hard in practice, talking about three‑quartering a guy and getting in front of him what we call a led, and I’ve just been trying to do that.
Q. How have you learned to use your length?
NOAH VONLEH: We stressed it a lot in practice when we do shell drills and things like that, we just stress on it. Use your length, get your hands out. You’ll get deflections, steals, different things like that.
Q. Yogi, do you feel in terms of the overall offense and spacing you’re getting good shots in the half court? Do you feel this is the best you’ve done with that?
KEVIN YOGI FERRELL: Well, I think that it’s progressively gotten better getting threes and getting (Indiscernible). That is just the coaches pretty much preparing us well I felt offensively and defensively. But just different ways that our team can just space the court and use our strengths and our abilities. You know, just driving downhill and looking for open men. They that’s pretty much coach has taught us to do that.
Q. You guys are getting a better idea of what shot to take?
KEVIN YOGI FERRELL: Yeah, yeah, guys are learning how to play quickly. We especially knew that coming into next week. But guys that I felt like they were a lot more confident now. They’re not going out there and trying to force too much really. They’re playing the game, letting the game come to them.
Q. Where do you see yourself with the best players in the nation?
NOAH VONLEH: I’m just going to keep playing the best of my abilities. I’m going to keep rebounding, scoring, and hopefully I can get into that category.
Q. Coach talked about playing a little better. Do you feel like maybe you play off of each other in the post?
NOAH VONLEH: We’re just in practice we’ve got to demand the ball when we’re doing scrimmages and things like that. We’re so versatile that we can do different things. We’re just trying to pick up what other guys can do. When Luke’s on the floor, I’m just going to run, he’s going to take it out and set back screens and things like that.
Q. Yogi, you’ve played with some good inside corners last year, when you watch it, what do you see?
KEVIN YOGI FERRELL: Well, he’s so effective on offense because of his ability to carve out space. It’s kind of hard for opponents to try to front him or red him. Once he gets the ball, it’s pretty much over. I feel like he’s got such a big body. He does well passing out of it too if they’re going to double. But his ability, his jump hook is very nice. He works on that every day left and right. But it’s his ability to carve out space that allows him to score.
Q. How much more comfortable are you becoming? How is the process going? Talk about how you’re demanding the ball with your body right now.
NOAH VONLEH: In the summer when I came up here, I was trying to be more vocal. Talk to guys in the weight room and do different things like that. I kind of felt like I started to develop a leadership role there and on the court I’m going to try to start holding my teammates accountable and just talking more and demanding the ball, things like that.
Q. Yogi, in the first minutes you had seven points and three assists and then after that he got into a little bit of (Indiscernible) in the game. How do you feel some of the younger guys may be able to get a whole lot of time especially in the second half?
KEVIN YOGI FERRELL: These guys did a good job coming in. Collin came in and gave great energy. Not coming in and trying to do something extraordinary and go for a home run play. They were taking it possession by possession and playing each position as hard as they could. Those guys did a great job and sparked our offense and defense.
Q. Yogi, where is your level of chemistry with Noah in terms of I know you guys like to run a high level, lot of ball screens. It seems like the last couple of games you’ve gotten to a level of getting him involved particularly in the pick‑and‑roll?
NOAH VONLEH: Yeah.
KEVIN YOGI FERRELL: Yeah, that’s what I tell Noah. On the break, if I have the initial drive, I tell Noah to set the high ball screen and roll. Usually it comes up on me and on him. I’m most likely going to dish it off and pocket pass to him because I know he can stretch and finish for us at the rim. So I feel like me and Noah have gotten really comfortable doing that, and I feel like, you know, it can only get better. We’ve just got to work on it.