Indiana Daily Student

Hoosiers defeat Hillsdale 79-39

Sophomore Jeremy Hollowell drives the ball past his Hillsdale defender during IU's game Monday at Assembly Hall.
Sophomore Jeremy Hollowell drives the ball past his Hillsdale defender during IU's game Monday at Assembly Hall.

Sunday night, the Hillsdale College men’s basketball team found themselves ahead a point against Mid-American Conference favorite Toledo with two shots at the line in overtime.

Two missed free throws and a buzzer-beater later, the Chargers fell one point short of upsetting a Division I opponent, and for the first several minutes of their exhibition against the IU men’s basketball team Monday night, Hillsdale looked out for revenge.

After an opening bucket from freshman forward Noah Vonleh, the Chargers stormed out with 13-straight points, including three 3-pointers, leaving the Hoosiers down 13-2 less than seven minutes into their final contest before the start of the regular season.

Sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell said he didn’t feel like his team could gain much rhythm with early turnovers and sloppy defense plaguing the Hoosiers.

“The biggest thing is we just needed to stay together,” Ferrell said. “I felt like we weren’t flowing together very well. Once you’re down, you’re down for a while.”

But as the Hoosiers began to get into a rhythm on defense, the Chargers lost steam in a hurry, scoring 15 points in the second half to fall to the Hoosiers 79-39 Monday night at Assembly Hall.

After the slow start, Ferrell said he thinks the freshmen and younger guys realized that even against a Division II opponent in an exhibition game, they have to play every possession with a sharp focus.

“We can’t take any opponent lightly,” he said. “I hope these guys can just learn to not take any possession for granted, and to give it your all.”

Ferrell took charge with his team down double-digits, sinking three of four free throws and putting up a 3-pointer in just under a minute. His shots from the charity stripe ignited a Hoosier run to tie the game with eight minutes and 26 seconds remaining in the half.

Hillsdale countered with another 3-pointer, but Indiana went streaking once again — this time with 14-straight — to break open the game and head into the locker room up 33-24.

Out of the gates in the second half, Ferrell said the Hoosiers knew they had to come out strong and not fall into another slow start to let the Chargers creep back in.

Senior forward Will Sheehey kicked things off with his first of two 3-pointers to open the half, with a lay-up from graduate student guard Evan Gordon in between.

In less than three minutes, Chargers Coach John Tharp found his team down 17 and called for a timeout.

For the next few minutes, both teams struggled on the offense end of the floor, but IU slowly built a commanding lead. An uncharacteristic 3-pointer from freshman forward Troy Williams brought the crowd to its feet.

With nine minutes and 12 seconds remaining in the contest, the Hoosiers doubled-up their gassed opponents 61-30 off a layup from Vonleh, and the Hoosiers never looked back.

In the end, after a slow, sloppy start, Indiana outscored their opponents 77-26 in the final 33 minutes and 21 seconds of the exhibition and held them to just 20 percent shooting after a few quick threes sparked the Chargers early.

Ferrell led all scorers for the second exhibition in a row with 14 points, and Sheehey followed closely with 12. No other Hoosiers cracked double figures, but Williams and Robinson dished in nine, with fellow freshmen Vonleh and forwards Devin Davis and Luke Fischer with eight, five and four points, respectively.

Crean said Sunday his team, especially his young players, needed to learn their offense would come only with a strong defensive pressure. Though he didn’t like what he saw early on, Crean said Monday night was a great learning situation for the regular season that kicks off in just four days.

“These guys learned early on inside of the game, almost couldn’t have worked out any better,” Crean said. “You don’t want to be down 13-2 and look like your rim has a bubble on it, but this team has got to learn like any great team that if they’re going to be great, they’ve got to understand it comes with defense and rebounding.”

Follow reporter Nathan Brown on Twitter @nathan_brown10.

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