Short-handed Indiana beats No. 22 Ohio State
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Tom Crean challenged Indiana’s players to make up for the loss of his top NBA prospect Sunday.
Jeremy Hollowell and Hanner Mosquera-Perea came up with all the necessary hustle plays. Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell and Will Sheehey filled in the scoring line. Everybody else helped the defense shut out No. 22 Ohio State from 3-point range and not allow a basket from longer than 10 feet.
It was just the way Crean hoped his young team would respond to hearing that freshman Noah Vonleh would miss the game with a foot injury.
Ferrell scored 20 points and Sheehey added 19 as the suddenly hot Hoosiers hung on for a 72-64 victory, their second upset of a ranked team in four days.
“We still had to figure out how we were going to get fouled. And we had to rebound better,” Crean said after learning Vonleh, the Big Ten’s leading rebounder, wouldn’t play. “We had to open the court a little bit more. We just had to really make sure our spacing was really, really good.”
The Hoosiers (17-12, 7-9 Big Ten) did all that and more — even on a day that started bleakly.
Fears of a severe ice and snow storm kept some fans home from the usually packed Assembly Hall, and those who did make it in had to contend with travel advisories issued in the nearby counties after the game.
In between, Crean used his Twitter account to announce Vonleh would sit out with inflammation in his foot. He showed up for warm-ups in a gray sweatsuit with a boot on his left foot as the Hoosiers tried to pay back Ohio State for ruining last year’s Senior Night celebration with their own upset at Assembly Hall.
Ferrell and Sheehey made sure nothing would get in their way this time.
“I think it just shows the grittiness of our team,” said Ferrell, the only returning starter from last year’s Big Ten champs. “I feel like everyone stepped up to the challenge. We just really wanted to get this win.”
How badly did the Hoosiers want it?
Crean showed the team a video of the second Joe Louis-Max Schmeling heavyweight title fight from 1938 to motivate his team.
So after falling into an early 20-12 deficit, the Hoosiers took the lead with a 16-0 run and never looked back.
For the first time in more than 11 years, Indiana held an opponent without a 3-pointer, and for the first time in Crean’s memory, his team held an opponent without a basket from outside of about 10 feet. Ohio State wound up with 25 field goals, 24 in the paint, and got 14 points from the free throw line.
The Buckeyes’ dismal stat sheet also showed they were 14 of 23 on free throws and 0 for 11 from 3-point range, ending a streak of 367 consecutive games with at least one made shot from beyond the arc — a span that lasted more than 10 years.
“I think it was just we couldn’t make a shot, you know 0 for 11 from 3, that was kind of the deal,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “We were short on everything. They didn’t go down. It was definitely one of those days in that regard.”
Only two Buckeyes scored in double figures — LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 19 points each. Nobody else had more than seven points as the Buckeyes lost their second straight — both road games against teams in the bottom half of the conference standings.
The game certainly didn’t follow the expected script with Vonleh out.
Indiana still managed to outrebound Ohio State 34-32 and Ferrell and Sheehey gave the Hoosiers just enough scoring options to overcome the loss of its second-leading scorer.
After falling behind 20-12, the Hoosiers turned the game in a hurry.
Ferrell and Sheehey both scored on layups, Hollowell made two free throws and Troy Williams scored on another layup to tie the score at 20. Following an Ohio State timeout, Sheehey knocked down a 3 to give Indiana the only lead change it needed, and Ferrell finished the 16-0 run with another 3 to make it 28-20 late in the first half.
The Buckeyes rallied quickly in the second half, closing a 33-25 deficit to 39-37 and were as close as 48-47 with 9:22 to play.
But Evan Gordon and Sheehey answered with consecutive 3s right in front of the Hoosiers bench and the struggling Buckeyes never got another chance to take the lead against the determined Hoosiers.
“To play the way that we did without Noah, which we knew it was a possibility yesterday, we knew it was reality today, we had to answer the bell,” Crean said. “We did.”
*Photo courtesy of AP Photo/R Brent Smith