Ferrell’s big night ignites Indiana’s 103-69 rout of Illinois

Yogi Ferrell (11) and Collin Hartman celebrate during the first half of Indiana's blowout of Illinois.

Darron Cummings/AP

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell tried to stick to his normal routine Tuesday.

Those around him refused.

On a night No. 25 Indiana broke its own conference record for most 3-pointers in a Big Ten game and topped 100 points against a league foe for the first time in nearly four years, Ferrell was the center of attention.

The senior point guard scored 16 points, made five 3s and finished with nine assists to break Michael Lewis’ school record while leading the Hoosiers to a 103-69 rout over Illinois.

"They (teammates) want Yogi to succeed because they know that Yogi is going to find them," coach Tom Crean said. "He sets the tone defensively, he sets the tone offensively."

Especially in a game he didn’t want to be all about him.

The Hoosiers (16-3, 6-0) had four players score in double figures, buckled down defensively and made 19 of 36 3-point attempts, breaking their own game school record (18) set last year against Minnesota. It is tied for the most by any Division I team this season.

Troy Williams had a team-best 21 points and five assists and Max Bielfeldt finished with 16 points and eight rebounds as Indiana won its 11th straight.

But with so many wanting to celebrate Ferrell’s milestones, the spotlight would not go away.

The sellout crowd roared with approval when Ferrell delivered a nifty, no-look pass to Bielfeldt for a layup that gave Indiana a 19-11 lead with 11:19 left in the first half and Ferrell his 546th career assist, one more than Lewis.

Behind the bench, Ferrell’s father kept count, flashing signs each time his son notched another assist. The end came at 553.

And when Crean pulled Ferrell for the final time, with 4:25 left, the coach grabbed his senior guard’s hand and raised it like Ferrell had just won the heavyweight championship.

"I didn’t know he was going to do that," Ferrell said with a hearty laugh. "But that was pretty special."

Illinois (9-10, 1-5) was led by Malcolm Hill with 20 points and Kendrick Nunn with 10.

But this one got away in a hurry.

Indiana closed out the first half on a 20-4 run to take a 42-25 lead and opened the second half by making five of its first six shots to seal it.

"I thought they were terrific offensively and did a great job," Fighting Illini coach John Groce said. "I thought we helped them by having just poor offense in the first half. I thought we played too much hero ball."

It led to the kind of ending everyone in Bloomington wanted Ferrell to have.

"It was my chance to show him we wouldn’t be here without them," Crean said of the late-game gesture. "I wanted to make sure the fans gave him just a little bit extra because he deserved it."

THE STREAK

The 11-game winning streak is the second-longest of Crean’s tenure. Indiana started 2011-12 at 12-0. If Indiana sweeps its final three games this month — two at home and a trip to Wisconsin — it would be the Hoosiers’ first perfect January since the 1991-92 Final Four team went 7-0.

EASY AS 3

The Hoosiers finished 19 of 36 from beyond the arc and had nine players with a 3. Williams and Thomas Bryant, who had 11 3s all season, made three in the first half and that’s when Groce said he knew his team was in trouble.

ROUGH ROAD

It’s been a long road for Illinois lately. It has lost eight straight road games since beating Michigan State 59-54 on Feb. 7, 2015.

TIP-INS

Illinois: Is 1-3 against ranked teams this season. … Freshman Jalen Coleman-Lands scored six points in his first trip back to Indiana. Coleman-Lands is the first Indiana recruit to play at Illinois in 30 years. … The Illini were averaging 9.3 3s over the last 12 games and had a league-best average of 9.7 turnovers this season. They were 7 of 18 on 3s with 15 turnovers Tuesday.

Indiana: The Hoosiers have shot 50 percent or better from the field in 23 of their last 52 games and have shot 40 percent or better from beyond the arc 31 times during that span — the most in the nation. … Ferrell needs 13 points to pass Eric Anderson for No. 10 on the school’s career scoring list.

UP NEXT

Illinois visits Minnesota on Saturday.

Indiana hosts Northwestern on Saturday.