Hoosiers top Hawkeyes, 81-78, win Big Ten outright

IOWA CITY, Iowa — With a hand in his face and 36 seconds remaining on the clock, Yogi Ferrell delivered the basket that pushed Indiana to the outright Big Ten title.

Ferrell’s 3-pointer over the outstretched hand of Iowa’s Mike Gesell helped the No. 12 Hoosiers squeak past No. 16 Iowa, 81-78, on Tuesday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The win wraps up Indiana’s second outright conference championship in the last four years and send the Hoosiers into Sunday’s senior day against Maryland with the degree of postseason momentum this program has been searching for.

When the clock finally expired — after a dramatic final 10 seconds — the Hoosiers ran onto the court, mobbing each other near halfcourt.

It was a night worthy of celebration, a game Indiana had to earn all the way down to the final moments.

Indiana was called for 25 fouls against 17 for Iowa. The Hoosiers also saw their best first-half 3-point shooting performance of the year dry up during the second half.

That is, until Ferrell’s big shot found the net.

Ferrell led four IU scorers in double figures with 20 points. Troy Williams added 15 points, Thomas Bryant posted a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds and Nick Zeisloft finished with 11 points.

Indiana which hit eight of its first 11 3-point attempts, went 3-for-11 from beyond the arc the rest of the way. Ferrell’s 3 over Gesell stood as the last of those.

And IU very badly needed it after the Hoosiers were forced to hold off a late Hawkeyes’ push down the stretch. Iowa had two chances to tie the game in the final six seconds. First, Anthony Clemmons air-balled a 3-point attempt that Adam Woodbury rebounded with 2.1 seconds remaining. Woodbury alertly called timeout, and out of the huddle, Peter Jok wrestled free for an open 3 attempt in the corner, but he and the rest of the building watched the ball clank off the rim as the Hoosiers spilled onto the court.

With his team trailing 22-17 at the second media timeout, Fran McCaffery implored his players to match Indiana’s will to play physical on both ends of the floor. “Toughen up!” McCaffery yelled.

Meanwhile, that Hoosier physicality began to become a burden for the visitors. Fouls began to mount against IU midway through the opening half, and the Hoosiers saw Troy Williams pick up his third personal with 6:45 remaining in the first half. Fellow starting forward Collin Hartman was called for his third personal three minutes later, while Yogi Ferrell carried two fouls into the break. Ferrell sat for the final two minutes of the half.

Indiana took a 47-41 lead into halftime — building its advantage from a flurry of 3-pointers. Three of those, naturally, came from Nick Zeisloft, who made his second consecutive start in place of injured guard Robert Johnson. The sophomore Johnson made the trip to Iowa City, but wore street clothes and a walking boot on his left foot while he sat on IU’s bench.

The steady stream of foul calls hardly eased in the second half, testing Indiana’s depth yet again. Hartman was called for his fourth personal two minutes into the second half, while Thomas Bryant picked up his third before the first media timeout of the period.

But Indiana didn’t buckle. The Hoosiers built their lead to as many as 14 points with 14 minutes to play, holding a double-digit advantage for the next five minutes. From there, swung back and used an 11-0 run midway through the half to tie the game at 70-all with six minutes to play.

It all swung back and forth over those final five minutes, until Ferrell gave his team the lift it needed.

This story will be updated.


  1. Great, great win. Just a fabulous effort by a lot of players. You just have to be amazed at the performance of IU’s bench, as well as the starters. Outstanding.

  2. True grit displayed tonight…I was cussing at CTC when we started holding the ball in the 2nd half…but I thought he did a great job in managing the foul trouble.

  3. We played well enough to win & were lucky as hell to do so with pathetic basketball down the stretch. Missed FTs and not being able to inbound the ball with 7 sec. left.

    But, we won. And Tom Crean is the coach, and he won. There is so much room for improvement, thankfully, if this team is to make a deep run in March. Looks like we’ll get the benefit of a #3 or #4 worst case, for a team that seemed out of it by Christmas. I credit Crean, and the team, for learning and for overcoming adversity, although it could be argued losing JBJ was not adversity at all, but a blessing instead.

  4. We played well enough to win for 30 min. & were lucky as hell to win with 10 min. of pathetic basketball down the stretch, aside from tough rebounding; Missed FTs and not being able to inbound the ball with 7 sec. left.

    But, we won. And Tom Crean is the coach, and he won. There is so much room for improvement, thankfully, if this team is to make a deep run in March. Looks like we’ll get the benefit of a #3 or #4 worst case, for a team that seemed out of it by Christmas. I credit Crean, and the team, for learning and for overcoming adversity, although it could be argued losing JBJ was not adversity at all, but a blessing instead.

    As I tell all of my friends from other schools and conferences, we can beat or lose to anybody.

  5. I hate this new platform… But I really enjoy this team. Tonight was fun. Everything kinda feels like gravy now. My expectations were so low after Duke. Not just because of Duke, but because of our defense the entire way leading up to that game… For seasons on end. Oh and the lack of discipline or creativity on offense.

    But this is actually fun. Yes, they can lose to 50 teams in the tournament. But so can everyone else this year. There is not a single team I could say with any confidence is going to the Final Four. So, as I said to Podunker a month ago, this team has the best chance of any Crean team to avoid the late season slump because their success is wrought from defense and offensive egolessness. And as I said to Harv 2 months ago, something has changed about Crean… He is no longer a salesman in every circumstance… His patience seems to have run out – once he realized his tenure was about to run out. I actually don’t mind listening to his little half time interviews or watching him on the sidelines. I now find it fascinating. He’s gone from Happy Clappy to ornery billy goat.

    My expectations are non-existent for this team going forward… The same as every other team in the tourney. It’s just that I’ll really enjoy it if they play to their potential, in the current mold they are playing in, and make some real noise.

    The hope is real… But it also has freed me. I am enjoying watching IU, really watching a Crean team, for the first time ever.

  6. Well said Geoff…..I’m not a Tom Crean fan, as a coach. And I thought Yogi was very selfish the last two seasons and was not a leader. I was wrong on Yogi as he’s stepped this team up to the next level through his own excellence.

    I just wish we could count on hitting 80% of our FTs. Tonight 10 – 20.
    I just wish we could inbound the ball without a TO on a key possession.
    I just wish Tom Crean would realize his best defender is on the bench (OG) and his worst 2 are on the floor (Ziesloft & Troy).

    Crean took a great timeout I thought when we had several bad possessions and went down by 2 pts. He really refocused them at that point.

    But man….we won the Big Ten for the 2nd time in 4 years. And Tom Crean is the coach. And Trump is going to win the Republican nomination.

    Where am I?

  7. Great accomplishment for the coaches and team.

    Losing JBJ send to have lit a fire under this team and they’ve responded very well to the adversity.

    Second B1G title in four years is a nice get for Coach Crean, no doubt he works hard and this year the team has responded fairly consistently.

    Go Hoosiers!!

  8. I don’t get worried when this team gets behind a few points because they are tough and they play together…in the past whenever we got behind, like last night after giving up a 14 point lead, CTC teams would often fold but this team changed against ND. I don’t believe that is something you can take away from a team and they have proved it with all the injuries this year.

    Speaking of injuries…walking boot for Rojo isn’t a good sign as I mentioned before high ankle sprains are 4 to 6 week minimum for a recovery. His conditioning and feel for the game will be off and his lateral movement will be compromised. I’ve had 3 ankle reconstruction surgeries and have had many high ankle sprains so I’m speaking from personal experience. The shoulder separation of JW no matter how slight it might have been is another blow to our bench. I just hope he can play through the pain…do you all remember Brian Evans popping his shoulder back in after he went for a loose ball in the stands…tough kid.

  9. FANtastic! 2 things from the comments above that I enjoyed the most; pertaining to the game Coach Crean did a fine job managing the foul #’s and as to the season this team plays without an ego. I think after clinching the conference title the performance of the Maryland game will tell us much about how this team will play in the BTT and the NCAA. I think they have developed that defiance needed on defense to subdue the adjustments and spurts most good teams can offer. I do believe coaches Judson, Martin and Anderson have made an impact on the players and Crean. More rest is proving positive in the 2nd half of the season and hope we can be full strength for the duration.

  10. WOW! What a gutsy effort on the road against a good Iowa team. The Hoosiers just refused to lose. Whether you are a fan of Tom Crean or not there is no denying he coached a great game.

  11. Some good and interesting comments to be found on this string.

    I’m not sure how any IU fan did not “enjoy” watching Crean’s 2013 Outright Big Ten Championship team? Maybe the pain of losing to Syracuse fogs the memory of that excellent group and the effort they put forth in games like the victory at Michigan? Maybe some people are in love with the narrative established by the movie “Hoosiers” and the image of an IU team filled with less-athletically-gifted but overachieving athletes who overcome their underdog status by banding together to defeat athletically superior teams? But in reality it takes both to win championships. It takes a team loaded with highly gifted athletes that ban together and play as one unit. It takes the superior athletes like Landon Turner, Isiah Thomas, Ray Tolbert, Randy Wittman and Ted Kitchell who really came to love each other and learned to play unselfishly as one unit to win National Championships. And it takes the unheralded guys like Jim Thomas and Steve Risley who consistently rose to the occasion when called upon. While maybe not as athletically gifted or as well coached, that’s what this IU team has reminded me of since the debacle at Duke. The 2013 had a similar level of talent who played as a unit, but they just did not have a point guard experienced enough to get them past a notoriously tough zone defense. I argue that if today’s Yogi was leading that 2013 IU team, IU would have won its sixth NCAA Championship that year. But regardless, they were an enjoyable team to watch.

  12. Focus was different in 2013…And that team was having trouble with even getting to the Syracuse game..They barely squeaked by a Temple team in the Round of 32….In the tournament we were playing like Iowa is right now: “Soulless” basketball. All you had in 2013 were a couple “stars” worrying about where they were going to land on Draft night….All the mock drafts and speculation was already predicting very high slots..They were already counting their money…Dopirak was writing ‘Going Home’ stories for Oladipo….(as if basketball is anchored in the narcissism of being the next D-Wade(“me” parties) rather than the next great team accomplishment…
    This year’s team isn’t a mini UK camp….They have thrown in last-minute pieces that have more grit and background in team goals first. It’s not five disjointed pieces attempting to sell March performances to NBA execs…..

    I sometimes think Troy Williams sacrificed the most for this team….He had to swallow a ton of criticism and adapt to a team that wouldn’t let this turn into a highlight reel for one guy. He had to humble his game…It likely cost him the higher Draft night number, but he’ll come away with loving the game a ton more. The young man deserves far more praise for the maturity he’s exhibited(on and off the court). I didn’t get into all the bandwagon of ‘hate’ that arose because of his mother defending her son…Pretty normal for a mom tpr dad to go overboard sometimes. .Troy could have ran with that pity party..He chose to be more about team.

    Lastly, Indiana high school basketball was so much bigger than the stupid Hollywood film attempting to paint “square’ ball all over the cornfields….Scott Skiles.and Plymouth’s run to the state title puts anything from “Hoosiers” to shame. Skiles was a fearless scorer…Their was no stall game against East Chicago.
    Butler’s formula is worth some honored observance as well…Isn’t Stevens basically taking that same formula to the Celtics…Hell, Isaiah Thomas’s career was resurrected because a team approach is making the individual player shine(rather than attempting the ass-backward approach that has permeated all of basketball. ..Steven’s took two Butler teams to back-to-back Final Four appearances without lottery night talent. His guys just never got rattled…They never quit. They never let the ‘celebrity’ temptation of the game take over the focus of what they wanted to achieve together.
    Brush up on your Indiana b-ball history, Podunker. It’s not about a Gene Hackmon film and barns. Take a hard look at Knight’s first run to a Final Four….Dive into some reading of Crispus Attucks High School…Many of those guys had to play with the Globetrotters because they were excluded from participation in college and ‘pro’ ball. But they were teams, my friend. They were in it for one reason: TO WIN IT.

  13. My apologies to a very fine actor….Gene Hackman..

    And it was Gary Roosevelt….My memory always swaps East Chicago and Roosevelt.

    If you have two hours, take a look at what the bozos in IHSAA stole from the fans and the lore of Indiana hoops.. Now Indiana h.s ball is a blue ribbon party for every ‘class’ instead of one for all, all for one..Now it’s ducking the best(why does that sound familiar?). They probably also cut down nets for the losers of a game so nobody’s feelings are hurt.

  14. Plymouth vs. Gary Roosevelt…..I would make my guys on my Hoosier team watch this game. Listen to the crowd noise.

  15. Goeff-

    You must take a couple hours and watch this game(clip below)…You’ll hopefully be again incarcerated to what basketball, stupendously spirited, clutch, well-coached basketball, is all about… Don’t free yourself to happenstance and soft scheduling…Imprison yourself to only fighting for one prize and walking away with your head high because you never ducked the best.


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