Ferrell helps Indiana upset No. 10 Michigan
February 2nd, 2014 (AP) – Yogi Ferrell orchestrates pretty much everything in Indiana’s offense.
Coach Tom Crean added another responsibility to Ferrell’s plate Sunday: guarding the opponent’s top scorer.
Ferrell came through on both ends — scoring 27 points and shutting down Nik Stauskas — to lead Indiana to a 63-52 upset of No. 10 Michigan.
“Yogi is playing at an extremely high level,” Crean said. “He’s a true lead guard with everything he does.”
Against the Wolverines, that was just about everything.
Ferrell drained seven 3-pointers, two shy of the Assembly Hall record, in eight attempts and limited Stauskas, one of the nation’s best scorers, to just six points, 12 below his average.
“This is a great win because Michigan is such a great team,” Ferrell said.
The Wolverines (16-5, 8-1 Big Ten) had been the last unbeaten in conference play, off to their best Big Ten start since 1976-77. Indiana ended their 10-game winning streak by holding them to their lowest point total of the season.
“I think it’s really good for us,” coach John Beilein said. “I didn’t think we were going to go undefeated. We hadn’t lost since Dec. 11, against Arizona. In the long run, we have to get better.”
What made Ferrell’s matchup with Stauskas so impressive is that Ferrell is a point guard, giving up 6 inches and nearly 30 pounds to Michigan’s small forward. Stauskas was 1-of-6 from the field and spent many possessions on the left side of the court away from the action, rarely touching the ball at times.
“They were denying Nik in the corner,” said Caris LeVert, who had 12 points and joined Derrick Walton Jr., who scored 13, as the only Wolverines in double figures. Glenn Robinson III was also quiet, contributing nine points.
Indiana (14-8, 4-5) had lost three of four but rode a tight, creative defense and Ferrell’s hot shooting to a win that might shift its season.
Crean decided Ferrell’s awareness, quick hands and intensity were the perfect antidote to Stauskas’ deadly shooting and effective passing.
“You’ve got to make his catches hard and his looks even harder,” Crean said. “You’ve got to be conscious of where he is at all times. I’m proud of our whole team defensively. Yogi was the catalyst.”
With Stauskas limited, the Hoosiers led most of the way in improving to 12-2 at Assembly Hall. Noah Vonleh added 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Hoosiers, who shot 54 percent to the Wolverines’ 40 percent.
Indiana may have reinvigorated its hopes for an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament by securing a second victory over a top 10 opponent.
The Wolverines are a common victim and no stranger to coming up short in this series.
Dating to last season’s run to the national title game, the Wolverines are 27-12 in their last 39 games — with three of the losses to the Hoosiers, who are 24-8 against Michigan over the last 18 seasons.
Michigan was outrebounded 31-22 and shot just 3 of 13 from behind the arc.
As Ferrell drained one 3 after another, fueling the crowd early and late, the Wolverines’ normally prolific offense was off from the start.
Michigan had more turnovers (8) than field goals (7) in the first half and scored just six points on its final 11 possessions to trail 25-22 at halftime.
It took a few breaks to stay that close. Walton was fouled twice in the half shooting behind the arc and converted all six free throws. The Wolverines also pushed the ball effectively for transition opportunities, scoring eight fast-break points.
After Indiana’s defense was slow to get back and allowed Zak Irvin a layup, Crean called a timeout with 10:08 left in the half. Out of the stoppage, the Hoosiers scored on five of their next six trips to grab a 22-18 lead.
Facing their fourth halftime deficit since November, the Wolverines never got over the hump.
Three free throws from Austin Etherington and a fast-break layup by Evan Gordon gave Indiana a 49-41 lead with 7:41 to play, causing Beilein to call time out.
After Stauskas’ free throws cut the deficit to 53-49 with 4:04 to play, the Hoosiers clamped down, getting two stops before another basket by Gordon pushed the lead to six. The Wolverines came up empty on their next two trips before Etherington’s free throw made it a seven-point game, and Indiana pulled away from there.
Gordon had eight points for Indiana, despite only being cleared to play early Sunday morning because of a nagging illness. Having missed 39 of his last 55 shots entering the day, Gordon emerged from the throes of that miserable shooting slump by attacking the basket repeatedly.
“He played as fast and as aggressive as we’ve seen,” Crean said.
Stanford Robinson scored seven points and Will Sheehey added six for Indiana, but Ferrell played 37 exhausting minutes to make it all possible.
His 3 off a kickout gave Indiana the lead for good at 32-29 with 16:06 remaining. The sophomore later scored nine straight Indiana points, including 3s on consecutive possessions, to make it 43-36 with 10 1/2 minutes left.
“Once I hit a couple, they all felt good,” Ferrell said. “I was going to let it fly.”
Ferrell did, Stauskas did not, and Michigan paid the price.
“He’s terrific,” Beilein said. “They take their quickest player and don’t let Nik get the ball. We had no answers for Yogi.”
*Photo courtesy of Joe Robbins/Getty Images