The unpredictability of the Hoosier’s Big Ten play continued Sunday, as the IU men’s basketball team (14-8, 4-5) stunned the No. 10 Michigan Wolverines (16-5, 8-1) 63-52. It was Michigan’s first conference loss of the season, and it ends their 10-game winning streak.
There were two stories that played out in Assembly Hall, one of which involved Indiana’s defense and the other Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell.
The latter scored a game-high 27 points on 8-for-10 shooting. Ferrell also made a career-best seven 3-pointers, shooting 7-for-8 from beyond the arc.
The sophomore guard, by himself, made four more 3-pointers than the entire Michigan team that, entering Sunday’s contest, led the Big Ten in 3-point field goals made and 3-point field goal percentage.
Three of Ferrell’s made 3-pointers came when there was less than five seconds left on the shot clock.
Ferrell said he felt good about his shot after his first few went in.
“You know, once I hit the first couple, they all felt good,” Ferrell said. “Once I had an opening, I wasn’t really going to force it. Once I had an opening I was just going to let it fly.”
Michigan Coach John Beilein said Ferrell’s play was about as good as a point guard can play.
“He’s terrific,” Beilein said. “He only took 10 shots, had 27 points, and ran his team.
“We had no answers for Yogi.”
Ferrell also led Indiana’s defensive charge, which held the Wolverines to 18 made field goals and 40 percent shooting, nine percent below its season average. Ferrell played 37 of 40 minutes, and spent the majority of his time defending Michigan’s Nik Stauskas.
Stauskas, who had scored in double-digit points in 12-straight games, was limited to six points on 1-for-6 shooting from the field. Stauskas was also held without a 3-pointer, and his lone basket of the game came on a layup late in the first half.
IU Coach Tom Crean said Ferrell’s level of play and his leadership have taken off this season.
“Yogi Ferrell is playing at an extremely high level,” Crean said. “The approach that he takes to it, the leadership that he’s displaying over the last couple weeks, the improvement has been some of the best I’ve seen around.”
Michigan’s 52 points Sunday was its lowest offensive output of the season. Beilein said he had never seen anything like Indiana’s defensive strategy in his seven years at Michigan.
“Tom and his staff did a really good job,” Beilein said. “The defensive game plan was outstanding. We have never seen anything like it since I’ve been here and we ended up trying to adjust on the fly and we’ve got to learn from it.”
In addition to Ferrell, Indiana had solid contributions from the rest of its team. Freshman forward Noah Vonleh recorded his Big Ten-best ninth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Vonleh helped put the game away in the final minute, scoring four points and pulling in three rebounds. He also showed off his athleticism by jumping up and grabbing a Caris LeVert jumper right out of mid-air, to the delight of the home crowd.
With Sunday’s win, Indiana has now won 10 games against Top-10 teams in the last three seasons, tied for most in the country. Three of those wins have come against Michigan, who is 16-1 at Assembly Hall dating back to 1996.
The Hoosiers are now tied for fifth in the Big Ten with Ohio State, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Ferrell said afterwards that this win was great for the Hoosiers, especially moving forward in nation’s premier conference.
“This is a great win because Michigan is such a great team,” Ferrell said. “But we got this win with our resilience on defense, and especially the fans cheering us on. It just shows how well we’ve been practicing from the loss to Nebraska. We were very disappointed in the way that we came out the second half, so we didn’t want to have that same letdown, so we wanted to have the same energy for all 40 minutes.”
This game, like seemingly every Big Ten conference game this year, could have gone either way.
Graduate student guard Evan Gordon wasn’t cleared to play until Sunday morning. Senior wing Will Sheehey fouled out after captaining Indiana’s defense all game.
Crean said afterwards that his team had good contributions from the entire unit.
“We got a lot of great efforts from a lot of really good young men,” he said. “People that came in the game continued to play hard, impacted the game, so we’re proud of it.”
Follow reporter John Bauernfeind on Twitter @JohnBauernfeind.
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