Williams leads IU past Nebraska, 80-64

Troy Williams flipped the switch that turned a struggling player into a great one, and carried the Hoosiers to a decisive home win over Nebraska.

Williams snapped out of his recent funk, leading No. 22 Indiana with 18 points in a 80-64 victory on Wednesday at Assembly Hall. Williams re-emergence came at a particularly opportune time, jolting the Hoosiers back into first place in the Big Ten after No. 4 Iowa lost at Penn State earlier in the night.

Williams shot 8-for-9 from the field, finishing five points shy of tying his career high. He’ll enter Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. rivalry game against Purdue 11 points shy of reaching the 1,000-career point plateau.

This was Williams at his best level — fast and scrappy, but within control. Though he committed four turnovers, only one of those came after the 9:19 mark of the first half. He also added five rebounds and three assists, helping Indiana put the game away with a strong start to the second half.

It was part of a comeback effort by IU which trailed by as many as six points on a pair of occasions in the first half.

Nebraska held the lead for 14 minutes until a late surge by Indiana pushed the Hoosiers ahead for good.

IU outscored the Huskers 17-4 over the final five minutes of the half, using a strong finish by Yogi Ferrell to go back in front. Ferrell didn’t score his first points — which came on a pair of free throws — until the 2:25 mark of the half, and didn’t post his first field goal until the final 30 seconds.

Up 41-34 at halftime, the Hoosiers came out of the locker room on a 9-2 run — spurred by six quick points by Williams.

The IU junior forward was one of four players to score in double figures, including a 13-point performance by Robert Johnson. Juwan Morgan scored a career high with 12 points and Ferrell finished with 11 points.

The Hoosiers ran away from Nebraska late, while also running away from the sub-standard defensive performance that marred part of the night. Nebraska scored 20 of its 32 points in the paint during the first half, driving past defenders for easy baskets.

This story will be updated.

14 comments

  1. What an amazing night in college basketball. Just saw #3, 4, & 5 all lose tonight and all on the road. Oh and the Hoosiers won.

  2. Good Troy tonight. Bad Troy Sun. I give up, what’s next?

    Easy baskets by Nebraska. What will happen vs, Purdue?

    We could win 3 in a row here, and just maybe, 4 out of our last 5 which will end up being a damned impressive Big Ten campaign, exceeding my expectations set by Dec.

  3. Glad to see the controlled Troy return. We need him to perform consistently at that level the remainder of the schedule. Initially, Coach Miles came up with a great game plan to defeat us. Initially, His players executed it very well. Fortunately our coaching staff and team figured it out, too. What a great start to the second half. What great play by the whole team. Go Hoosiers!

    Also, at the beginning of the year, I drank the juice that the Big 10 was weak in basketball this year. Not so. At this point in the season, that no longer can be said by the pundits. Teams at the bottom can beat any team at the top (e.g. Nebraska and Penn State). And Michigan State will probably go the farthest in the NCAA Tournament now with Valentine back. Yet, in the Big Ten it doesn’t rank with IU and Iowa.

  4. The younger squads(accompanied by some strong coaching) in the BIG are beginning to figure it out, Walt. Wisconsin took a pretty big hit to the ‘psyche’ when they lost Bo Ryan….OSU is getting some more mature play out of its young and quickly improving lineup…

    I still doubt you’ll see more than one BIG team get beyond the Sweet 16. Things are balancing out…Well-coached squads make vast improvements as the season progresses(especially if the talent is there despite the rebuilding/youth).

    Hope I’m proven wrong….Hope we’re a lot better than I think…Hope the BIG is tougher than my early assessment. But, in my humble opinion, it’s the ACC and BIG 12…and a couple teams coming out of the the Pac 12 ..that will prove to be the last standing in March Madness.

  5. H4H there are a few teams in the SEC that could make deep tourney runs too. LSU, UK, and A&M could be tough outs in the NCAAs.

  6. I didn’t get a chance to see the game last night. I’ll watch the replay later tonight. Life stuff.

    Great to see that Troy played well. How did he score his points last night? Did the backcut make its resurgence?

    Stat sheets show another tough game for Yogi. Bryant looked limited too. Any thoughts there?

    Also, Juwan Morgan! 12 pts 5 boards in 11 minutes??? The microwave!

  7. When is the Big 12 bandwagon going to rightfully be retired? Every year we hear how dominant they are and every year they get b!tched slapped the first round of the Big Dance. The past 2 seasons they’ve led the way with 7 teams selected and given favorable seeds. Each year only 2 teams got past the first weekend and all of them lost their very next game.

    At some point people are going to begin to notice they can’t compete.

  8. iuhoosier1992-

    I agree…It’s pretty wide open.. ND is also playing a lot better…..led by another top Indiana guard in Demetrius Jackson.

    Haven’t followed LSU close enough to really get a feel for their team…But any truly big-time star who gets hot in March can put a team on his shoulders and get pretty deep..

    I think we’ll suffer to defend the paint against the real thoroughbred teams with top post play in the middle.. Thomas Bryant has a nice repertoire in his offensive game, but his defensive awareness and anticipation are the things he struggles at…..Any top guard can get a corner around even the best defender….It’s the slow help defense and the absence of the required reaction/movement/resistance of a very fluid post defender that becomes are Achilles’ heel.

  9. Iowa’s loss at PSU certainly puts IU’s recent loss there in a different perspective, and I’m thinking it has to have a diminishing affect on the tournament’s selection committee. We’re back, tied for first place in the conference, and a lot of other top ranked teams lost last night, which, in relative terms, makes IU look better. If we win two out of the last four regular season games, we’re O.K. If we win three of four, we be elevated. If we only win one, we’ll have to go deep in the Big Ten tourney. Fun stuff.

  10. I don’t see any way we’re not in the tourney. Even if we lose every game it will still be hard to justify leaving the Hoosiers at home. It’s just a matter of seeding at this point.

  11. I agree, Chet. And I did not mean to imply that there is any risk of IU not getting into the tourney. But it would be great if we were a second or third seed. Might make it to another Round of 16 if we are. Not sure we can go past that, but it would be an accomplishment for this team to play in the Sweet 16.

    Maryland’s loss to lowly MN certainly makes IU look even stronger. So far, no team is running away with anything this year.

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