In the game’s opening minutes, the IU men’s basketball team made it clear they could score in a variety of manners.
After an early foul by Washington’s Shawn Kemp Jr., senior forward Will Sheehey drove it to the hoop for a layup. Sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell sunk a 3-pointer from the right wing, and freshman forward Troy Williams tossed in a deep 2-pointer from the opposite side of the court.
Although the Hoosiers’ scoring from the field would ebb and flow throughout their semi-final matchup against Washington Thursday night at Madison Square Garden, Indiana managed to combine an improved free throw shooting performance along with an abundance of second-chance points en route to the 102-84 victory, pairing them up with Connecticut in the finals of the 2K Sports Classic Friday.
“We got ahead, we stayed ahead, we had some moments where we didn’t play as well, but we were always able to bounce back,” Crean said.
After IU’s quick start in just one minute and sevon seconds, the Hoosiers shot just 3-for-12 in the next seven minutes and 40 seconds from the field to let the Huskies hang around at 21-17 midway through the half.
But by then, the Huskies had already committed seven fouls — including two for leading scorer C.J. Wilcox and three for Shawn Kemp Jr. — and the Hoosiers took advantage of their trips to the line.
After Williams missed IU’s first free throw attempt of the game, the Hoosiers made 16-of-17 to end the half.
The Hoosiers were much stingier defending the ball, giving the Huskies just nine chances at the line in the game’s first 20 minutes.
And when IU wasn’t at the line and at times struggling from the floor, the Hoosiers managed to pull down offensive rebounds on 71 percent of the team’s misses for 19 second-chance points. The Hoosiers led 29-11 on the boards, complimenting a 50-37 halftime lead.
But to start the second half, Washington’s Perris Blackwell gave IU a taste of its own game, scoring an early bucket, absorbing the foul from Sheehey and sinking a free throw to cut the lead to 10.
From there, the Hoosiers stretch their lead to their biggest margin at the time — 18 points — at 58-40 with the help of IU’s returning core.
Sheehey fought back with his own 3-point play. Ferrell sunk his third of three 3-pointers of the night and capped off the run with a layup fed from Sheehey.
In just one minute and 35 seconds, the Huskies cut IU’s lead in half, but Vonleh put an end to it with a free throw and an offensive rebound followed by a dunk. Sheehey’s two-handed slam off a back-door cut and feed from guard Evan Gordon jump-started the Hoosiers again as they cruised to eclipse 100 points and a comfortable victory.
Williams led the Hoosiers with a career-high of 22 points off of an 8-for-12 shooting night from the field. Ferrell scored 20 points, giving him at least 20 points for the third game in a row after averaging just 7.6 points per game last season.
Vonleh fell just short of his fifth-straight double-double to start his IU career, dishing in 18 points and pulling down nine boards.
Follow reporter Nathan Brown on Twitter @nathan_brown10.