Bloomington, IND – It took a while for Indiana to get going, but once they did, they stuck it to the IPFW Mastodons as the Hoosiers used a first half rally to secure a 90-65 rout on Wednesday night.
Indiana (7-3) found themselves tied with the Mastodons (7-4) at 17-all by the under 12 timeout, as the IPFW was putting up a big fight against the Hoosiers. They were scoring in the paint at will as IU guards James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson struggled to stay in front of the ball which led both players to have early foul trouble as they had three and two fouls respectively by time we reached the midway mark of the opening half.
But, from that timeout with 11:43 left in the first half on, Indiana imposed their will as they finally showed up on the defensive end of the floor. They held IPFW to just 4-for-19 shooting the rest of the way in the first half as IPFW only scored 17 points over the final 11 minutes as seven of those were from the foul line.
The Hoosiers went on a 15-2 run towards the end of the half to take a 48-34 lead to the break as they never looked back from there.
They ran away with it as the Hoosiers won their 100th game since the start of the 2011 season to cruise to their sixth straight victory to start the season in Assembly Hall.
The Hoosiers were led tonight by Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams as Ferrell scored a career-high 38 points on 12-for-18 shooting. He was also a perfect 10-for-10 from the foul line.
The 38 points also passes him by Archie Dees and Randy Whitman on the career IU scoring list as Ferrell is now 14th on the all-time points list at Indiana.
Furthermore, Ferrell chipped in five assists which moves him past Tom Coverdale to third on the all-time Indiana assists list.
Williams though, was the heart and soul of this team on Wednesday night as he produced his eighth career double-double at Indiana in leading them to their seventh victory of the season.
The junior scored 15 points tonight, but it was on the defensive end of the floor to where he made his mark. Williams, grabbed a career high 19 rebounds tonight as 16 of those though were on the defensive glass. It was by far the best all-around effort by Williams since he came to the Bloomington campus in 2013.
This type of effort on defense is what IU has been lacking.
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Williams, has honestly paid more attention to offense through his two in-a-half seasons at Indiana as he was always trying to rush out on a fast break and make a highlight play in transition. He chose to do that instead of crashing the boards on defense which has allowed IU’s opponents to grab easy offensive rebounds.
But tonight, Williams showed he cared about defense first and by doing so allowed him to be a ball hawk which was the biggest key to IU’s win tonight.
Johnson overcame foul trouble to shoot lights out too as he finished with 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the floor. He was a perfect 5-for-5 from behind the arc as Johnson is really becoming one of Indiana’s best shooters this season.
Max Bielfeldt was the only other Hoosier in double figures as he chipped in 11 points off the bench.
Indiana held IPFW to only 34-percent shooting tonight which was only the third time this year they’ve held an opponent below 40-percent shooting. It was the second straight game they’ve done that in though as it can’t go unnoticed as IPFW is a very good shooting team.
They also held the Mastodons to only 32-percent (8-for-25) behind the arc which too was extremely noticeable as their guards all shoot over 45-percent entering tonight from three point land.
But, Indiana imposed their will over the final 30 minutes defensively which led to some easy points on offense. If they can continue this trend then IU will be okay this year and could make that run that so many thought they would.
Indiana will remain in Bloomington this week as they will take on McNeese State on Saturday evening (6:30 pm ET/BTN/IU Radio Network).
Mo Evans led IPFW with 21 points tonight.
Eric Smith is a Senior Writer for the Indy Sports Report. Follow @Ericsportsguru and @IndySportsRep on Twitter