Illinois takes down Indiana in overtime, 83-80

WHAT HAPPENED: Indiana senior Evan Gordon missed on a baseline jumper at the end of regulation and the Hoosiers never led in overtime, falling 83-80 in front of 16,618 at the State Farm Center in Champaign, Ill.

The loss in the Big Ten opener for both teams dropped Indiana to 10-4 overall, 0-1 in the Big Ten. Illinois improved to 12-2, 1-0.

Each time the Hoosiers built a lead it disappeared quickly. Indiana had a seven-point lead with 11:42 to go, but it was gone by the 8:28 mark. IU built a quick four-point lead with 4:53 remaining in the second half, but that was gone in just over a minute, and the Illini and Hoosiers went free throw-for-free throw down the stretch in regulation.

Bertrand dunked on an alley-oop from Rice to make it 71-69, but IU tied it when senior guard Evan Gordon drew a bailout foul and sunk two free throws to tie it. Rice hit two free throws to make it 73-71, but Rice fouled Ferrell on an inbound play with 48 seconds left and Ferrell hit two foul shots to tie the game.

The Hoosiers got the ball back with 26 seconds left thanks to a block by Vonleh on a driving runner by Rice. Gordon drove and got a good look on the baseline, but just missed to send it to overtime. Crean didn’t call a timeout before the final play, but said the team knew what he wanted after a discussion in the previous play stoppage.

“That’s a set play,” Crean said. “The look came after the movement, but that was a play that had been used in and out of the day that we’d had success with. It was just a missed shot. … No regrets on that, and at the end of the day we needed every timeout in the overtime anyways.”

The Hoosiers never led in the overtime, making just one field goal on eight attempts. Sophomore forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea tied it at 75-75 with 1:54 to go, but Abrams hit a jumper 11 seconds later to give Illinois the lead for good. IU freshman guard Stan Robinson missed on a wild drive with 1:05 left and after a missed 3-pointer by Rice, Illinois swingman Joseph Bertrand grabbed an offensive rebound and drew a foul, making a free throw to make it 78-75.

Bertrand missed the second, but Illinois senior forward Jon Ekey poked the ball out of freshman forward Noah Vonleh’s hand. Rice missed two free throws and Sheehey hit two to make it 78-77. Illinois center Nnanna Egwu drew a foul and answered to make it 80-77. Ferrell tried to get a quick two-pointer but couldn’t finish in the lane. The ball ended up in Illinois’s hands and Abrams hit two free throws to make it an 81-77 game. Ferrell hit a fallaway three-pointer to make it 81-80 with 3.1 seconds to go, but Rice hit two final free throws to make it 83-80 with 2.0 seconds left. Rice then deflected a pass from freshman Troy Williams to Ferrell to keep him from ever getting one last desperation look.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Illinois junior guard Rayvonte Rice was just as difficult to guard as advertised. The Drake transfer who was averaging 18.2 points per game scored 29 points, making eight of 20 field goals and the only two three pointers Illinois made in the game.

Junior point guard Tracy Abrams wasn’t as prolific, but he was more efficient, scoring 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting. He missed his only 3-point attempt, but made several from just inside the 3-point arc. Swingman Joseph Bertrand had 13 points and seven rebounds, senior forward Jon Ekey had a critical steal and even though junior center Nnanna Egwu scored just eight points on 3-for-11 shooting and was 0-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc, he also blocked three shots and altered several more.

Indiana sophomore point guard Yogi Ferrell had a career game with 30 points and four assists, hitting on nine of 15 field goal attempts and five of eight 3-pointers. He also made all seven of his free throws, though he did have six turnovers.

IU freshman forward Noah Vonleh hit just one 3-pointer this season before Tuesday, but he made a pair on Tuesday and those were his only field goals. He also made 10 of 12 free throw attempts and finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Senior guard Evan Gordon had 10 points, senior swingman Will Sheehey had nine and freshman swingman Troy Williams had eight points on 4-for-7 shooting.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: The Hoosiers managed to accomplish a number of things they wanted to do. Though they struggled to finish in the paint, they went inside enough to draw plenty of fouls, making 24 of 30 free throws. They shot the ball from outside much better than usual, making 10 of 22 3-point attempts. They won the rebounding battle 43-31, blocked six shots on defense and for the most part, they answered in big situations in front of a raucous crowd in their first Big Ten road game of the season and for the careers of many of their freshmen.

But there were still too many possessions squandered and moments when they simply failed to put together a cohesive possessions. They turned the ball over 23 times, breaking the 20 mark for the third straight game. As important as it was for the Hoosiers to get to the free throw line as often as they did, it would’ve helped if they didn’t go without a field goal from the time Ferrell hit a 3-pointer with 6:44 to go to the time Ferrell made a desperation fallaway three with 3.1 seconds left in overtime. That’s a stretch of 11:40, and it included some possessions that seemed aimless and some drives that were clearly ill-fated from the start.

Vonleh’s foul trouble was also critical. He played 30 minutes, but was in and out down the stretch and in overtime after he picked up his third foul with 11:06 to go and then his fourth on a charge with 3:27 left. Hanner Mosquera-Perea had his moments, but the absence of departed freshman center Luke Fischer was apparent in the Hoosiers’ first game since he withdrew. All told, there were a number of positives for the Hoosiers but too many glaring weaknesses for them to grab a win on the road.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: IU coach Tom Crean and his players were relatively upbeat on Tuesday, certainly more so than they have been under previous losses in Champaign in Crean’s tenure. There was some reason for that, because the Hoosiers did give a spirited effort and answered most of Illinois’s blows in a tightly-contested game. On a team as young as this one, that is something to be encouraged. That being said, even young Indiana teams are expected to make the NCAA Tournament, and that’s true again with the program now rebuilt. This was the sort of game the Hoosiers needed to win to make a push for inclusion.

With just 14 games and just one Big Ten contest in the books, it’s a reach to start considering bracketology now, but it’s probably a safe bet that being a middle-of-the-pack team in the Big Ten is good enough for an NCAA berth. At this point, that’s likely where the Hoosiers fit. Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin all rank in the top five nationally, so that should make up the top quarter. Michigan and Iowa appear to make up the second tier. At the moment, Illinois might be the next best squad, and if Indiana finishes behind the Illini they’re looking at seventh place at best. The selection committee could take seven Big Ten teams, but that’s clearly bubble territory and IU’s lack of a top 100 non-conference win at the moment won’t help them in that regard. If they want to be playing meaningful basketball in March, the Hoosiers need to win games like this one and they narrowly missed another opportunity.

23 comments

  1. Okay, well they are the youngest team in the Big Ten! Do not make excuses! Young teams can win. UK showed that in 2012.

  2. Several articles I have read this morning are being critical of Noah for losing the ball after the rebound at the end of over time. In my estimation, as good as Yogi was in this game and he was great, his 6 turn overs were critical, especially the 2 back to back at the end of regulation when we still had the lead. When your point guard has 6 turn overs, you are in trouble no matter how many points he scores.

    Somebody explain to me Crean’s substitution patterns? The absence oh Noah on the floor late in the game was even questioned by Dakich? Yes, he had 4 fouls but, when the game is on the line, you have to take a chance and have him on the floor! By moving him in and out of the game late he was never able to get into the flow of the game. When he was in the game, there was very little effort to get him the ball. And why in the world does Devin Davis play so little? He is a bull on the boards and plays extremely hard at all times. I believe Crean was out coached big time in this game.

    One article I read said that the Illinois crowd was extremely loud, really? It certainly didn’t sound like it on tv, the students are gone, imagine how bad it would have been with the kids there? For some reason Crean can’t win at Illinois which is as upsetting as not being able to beat Wisconsin anywhere we play them. Crean can’t beat Illinois and Wisconsin and he can’t figure out the Syracuse zone? We are in trouble! Until we get this turn over thing fixed, we will struggle all year. It was stated earlier this year that the turn overs didn’t matter when we played this weak schedule but, now that we are in conference play, it matters! BTW, Dakich also referred to IU’s terrible schedule during the game.

  3. Very well and fairly written Dustin. Love this line: “…some possessions that seemed aimless…”. That is a kind understatement.

    After sleeping on it I will submit to you the following:
    -Rather have 20 pts from Yogi and 10 assists. We only had 1 threat down the stretch, Yogi. That’s due to Vonleh either being out in key possessions or hanging around at the 3 pt. line per the coach’s direction.
    -I sure hope the plan isn’t to have Vonleh shoot 3s now after he proved he can do it.
    -We need more out of Will Sheehey. We need 14 pts. & 8 reb. Out of him each game. He looks like he’s still trying to find his role on this team.
    -How is Fischer’s departure NOT going to hurt us when Vonleh will only be here for another 3 – 15 mos.?
    -SIT HOLLOWELL to start the game. It worked once. He’s a liability on the floor. A pure zero for the guy rumored to be the “back up point guard” which is the biggest joke I think I’ve ever heard.
    -Stan R. should not have been in the game down the stretch. A good sub with superior speed but he’s a gun on offense without the talent to hit shots he’s taking.
    -Need more Devon Davis.
    -Need Remy Abel. And Maurice Creek, ave. 14 pts/game at GWU.
    -Less Troy Williams please. He has 1 move, rushing the rim. Not a bad thing but he’s a free electron and can’t play defense.

    My starting 5 would be: Yogi, Vonleh, Gordon, Sheehey and Davis
    6th man: Williams
    12th man: Hollowell

  4. With all the back and forth about coaching and substitutions, and who’s in the game when…..If we cut the turnovers in half, we win this game.

    I actually expected a much worse result, a blowout on Illini home court. This team beat itself. The question is, will they learn? Will we see improvement?

    Not sure about the chemistry of this team yet.

  5. * “free electron’. I like that. More Davis, can’t argue that. Jeremy comes off the bench, can’t argue that either. I do continue to believe he will ‘get it together’ and be a strong part of the team. Will reminds me of CWat last year. If he gets his first basket near the goal than the other shots start to fall for him. And his bounce pass to Hanna on a break was perfect.

    * I don’t see the ‘poor coaching’ during the last 1 min of regulation and during the overtime. Guys trying somethings that did’nt work. Those two Yogi passes, one deflected ahd the other was a foot over the goal. Hanna had some good minutes and needs more. Yeal, we’ll miss Fischer and I hope he gives an interview with the real reason he left – whatever it was.

    *And you are right – Will or Gordon or somebody is going to have to score. Somebody besides Yogi.

    *Somebody said cut the turnovers by half and we win. In this game, cut one turnover and we win.

    *ITH has a link to Elston’s team in Malta. Interesting read but confusing. No who they play and results or I just missed it.

    * Dustin, just read your story “$$ and IU Athletics”. Good read. I did not realize the $ impact of home games both basketball and football.

    * Illinois was picked by one point. Saturday is MS. Are the students back for that? If we don’t get a win, hope it’s another OT game at the least. These kids are close to putting a good game together.

  6. Pretty hard to defend Crean yesterday. I don’t think not taking the timeout for the last shot in regulation was bad. But how he handled Noah’s foul situation was horrid. AE seeing time up 8 with 6 min left was puzzling. Crean lived up to his reputation yesterday.

    Still, Crean didn’t turn the ball over two dozen times. I don’t care if Yogi scored 40, you can’t throw the ball away 6 times as a point guard.

    Should have win this game.

  7. John Groce does make Crean look lethargic. Be fun to have a camera on him throughout the game.

    I admit benching Noah sent flashbacks of Cody and Butler. If I heard the announcer right, Yogi had 2 turnovers with 4 minutes to go in regulation.

    And Tyra Buss has 66 points and losses the games?

  8. Devil’s advocate opinion… I agree that Yogi needed to cut the turnovers out, but instead of blaming him, how about everyone realizes that he is 5’11” and all 10 players on the court knew he was our only option.

    As soon as Vonleh went out, they started blitzing our high ball screens knowing that we couldn’t just throw it up to a rolling Hanner, or to Williams in the corner because he shoots <30% from the 3 point line… so what did we do about it? For the last 5 minutes of regulation we continued to run the same NBA offense of spreading the floor and setting a lame duck high ball screen that sent tall blitzing defenders at our one threat 30 feet from the basket, and we kept going back to it. It's amazing he only had the turnovers he did out of it. We didn't counter it once. There is a reason we only made 1 field goal (a late three by none other than Yogi) the last 11 minutes of the game.

    Until Crean stops taking time off every time the game starts this school and team are doomed to disappointing losses like this. Crean is a great recruiter, and he is good at getting a ton out of kids and improving them over time, but if you give him and most other coaches 5 generic players with generic, but equal skills, Crean is going to loss the game.

  9. Hoagland,

    I am not sure I would call your thoughts a “devil’s advocate opinion”. Your stating the facts about the last 11 minutes and more precisely the time NV spent as a spectator are accurate from my fans seat. As a fan who totally supports Crean and staff the truth is over the last 4 years it has become apparent there are no offensive options created by the coaches when facing a new challenge developed on the floor by the normal flow of a BB game. They just think their way should remain the status quo no matter what the circumstances. It appears to be more pronounced with a young team. Experienced teams seem to fair better. I think many of us have this same notion.

    By the way, I’ve wanted to ask for a long time, does your blog identity “Hoagland” have anything to do with the town Hoagland, Indiana? Just curious.

  10. I agree that Yogi needed to cut the turnovers out, but instead of blaming him, how about everyone realizes that he is 5’11″ and all 10 players on the court knew he was our only option.

    Sorta strange that the greatest recruiter in the history of all college sports only has one legit scoring option when his starting center is in a bit of foul trouble.

    Marlin, Jurkin, Howard, Perea….Sorry, folks. Those four guys(even at the walk-on level)do not belong on an Indiana Hoosier bench.

    And I totally agree with Dakich’s comments during the Illinois game…(paraphrasing)…”I’ve seen the ratings and I’ve heard the great recruiting class stuff and that Perea was a top 50 recruit. But to call Hanner Perea a top 50 recruit was an insult to other 49.”

    Most these guys just go with way too high of frantic motor..They have athleticism, but the severely lack in savvy and the ability to not force their skills beyond the breaking point. Vonleh is a nice talent, but he also lacks awareness that should be fundamental even at the college freshman level.

    Twenty-plus turnovers is not just an ugly wart of bad coaching. It’s an ugly wart of bad recruiting and the manifestation of roster designs that adheres to a very fragile model of simply putting trapeze acts, “upside” gambles, rolls of the dice on talent potential exploding, and leapers with freakish wing spans, on a roster instead of searching out the “it factor” basketball leaders, the true pedigrees of refined talent already arriving on campus in fundamentally sound and matured state, that can settle a team and play with a level of team focus and composure that doesn’t ultimately sabotage their own “high ceiling” skill sets.

    Williams is basically a project…Robinson looks tentative and increasingly less impacting than a Remy Abell. Sheehey appears to be forever stuck in inconsistency at a time in his college maturation that should be revealing more reliability to go along with the rare flashes of excellence on the floor. Hollowell may never recover from the unfair criticisms that seems to want to placed disproportionately on his shoulders. Not sure why he’s become the scapegoat..I tend to believe the focus on his mistakes gets exaggerated because so much raw and unrefined “upside” abounds. In my humble opinion, he has real mature compliments on the floor capable of helping him and developing him within the flow and course of a contest.

    The savvy and finely matured intellect for the game that we used to see from kids that wore the candy stripes is just no longer present. I see marvelous athletes with a very select few that have the potential to one day meet their NBA goals. But when you build your entire roster(minus the charity cases and feel good stories)on those thin gambles based on your eye for future greatness…? You’re asking too much of your own keen eye for the diamonds in the rough. No coach could take our roster and achieve faster results. It’s full of talent and athleticism, but it’s too unrefined. It’s a forced forty-minute experiment upon every tip-off.

    Outside of Vonleh, Fischer, Ferrell…the rest would not look that out of place on a Ball State roster. Perea, Jurkin, Howard, and Marlin couldn’t secure a spot on most JC teams.

  11. correction:

    …he(Hollowell) has [no] real mature compliments on the floor capable of helping him and developing him within the flow and course of a contest.

  12. And forgot to mention Davis…

    I don’t understand his lack of PT. Not sure if he’s getting over an injury or he’s in the doghouse for something.

    I see him as probably the most fundamentally sound talent on the team. He’s equipped with skills ready now. Why isn’t he playing?

    Vonleh
    Ferrell
    Davis
    Hollowell
    Gordon

  13. Not everyone can be a star, starter or even a solid contributor early on and there is still plenty of time for HP to develop and the jury is still out on Jurkin’s potential. As far as I know Howard and Marlin do not take up scholarship spots. As walk-ons they do not weight the argument 1 side or the other.

  14. We lost on a last second shot by a Butler walk-on. We can do far better in the non-scholarship spots.

    My jury is no longer out. Hanner is surely a fine young man. But there will always be a higher level of talent coming in than what his “upside” could secure in steady and meaningful PT. He was just too far behind the curve.

    Losing Fischer will allow us to view more amateur basketball productions in the paint. Vonleh needed more help than what our projects can provide. Fischer was very important to the structure a very unpolished team. He had strong skills in the post and his awareness on defense and on the boards was becoming more apparent with added playing time. He had skills and instincts we’re just not going to get from Perea.

  15. NO walk-on is going to win a game for IU. Your jury is suspect on anything. I thought Hasheem Thabeet of UConn would never get it and he had less physical talent than Jurkin or HP. Losing Fischer is the way the cookie crumbles. This a rebuilding year. Get over it.

  16. And for every Hasheem Thabeet there’s a Guy-Marc..a Bawa…a Tijan…a Jurkin…and a Perea that are barely JC material.

    If the man is one of the best recruiters in the game, then “rebuilding” is his strong suit rather than his crutch.

    The problem is not rebuilding. The problem is what you choose to rebuild with and whether your coaching ability can ever rise above excuses. Crean was extremely fortunate to have a player like Zeller to stay around for a second year. Excuse time is over.

    When respected basketball minds come on this blog suggesting we have “the worst half court offense in all of college basketball,” I don’t remember any qualifiers aimed at removing the coach from the brutal honesty such observations.

  17. Geoff
    Tuesday, December 31, 2013 – 6:55 PM UTC

    We have the worst half court offense in college basketball.

    …because we’re “rebuilding?”

    …because we’re not mature and we’ll be more mature when Sheehey and Yogi leave after this season and we bring in more freshman to replace experienced leadership?

    …because are cookies crumble funny and we can’t make a tasty sundae without Fischer nuts?

    …because I say so?

    …because we lack discipline and substitution patterns break up any chance at cohesiveness?

    …because Bobby Knight didn’t put his basketball encyclopedias into pop-up picture form for Crean to understand?

    …because our top recruiting classes are still in training pants?

    …because we have more than one Doug Mallory at a coaching position for IU sports?

  18. Harvard,

    Davis had sprained his ankle pretty bad. I haven’t heard any reports since that time, but his playing time could be limited due to that injury.

    I, too, would like to see more of Davis. He plays harder than anyone on the floor.

  19. I would love to see more Davis. Nifty player around the blocks. He has a toughness/edge that I think we need. Reminds me of the sort of undervalued services the ’87 squad got from Daryl Thomas.

    “Coach Knight was the only guy to come into my house and sit down with my parents and me,” Thomas said. “He told us that he could not guarantee me any playing time, which caught me a little off guard. But he said that if I came to Indiana, earned my four-year degree, grew as a man, and put in the necessary work on and off the court, I would not have to worry about money again. I loved his honesty.”

    Thomas’ dedication and team-first mentality earned him ample playing time as a Hoosiers starter. He was soon named team captain, earned 1987 First Team Big Ten honors and was a driving force during the Hoosiers’ run to a 1987 National Championship.

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