Short-handed Hoosiers win as shooting woes sink No. 22 Ohio State
Ohio State looked dazed and confused.
The Buckeyes couldn’t make 3-pointers, mid-range jumpers or almost anything outside the paint at Assembly Hall. Even Ohio State coach Thad Matta couldn’t believe it.
On a day Indiana was missing its best NBA prospect, Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell scored 20 points, Will Sheehey added 19 and the Hoosiers upset No. 22 Ohio State 72-64 on Sunday.
"I think it was just we couldn’t make a shot, you know 0 for 11 from 3, that was kind of the deal," Matta said. "We were short on everything. They didn’t go down. It was definitely one of those days in that regard."
While LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith Jr. scored 19 points each, nobody else finished with more than seven points. Even the usually reliable Aaron Craft struggled, going just 2 of 11 from the field. He finished with seven points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Ohio State (22-8, 9-8 Big Ten) has lost two straight, both on the road against teams in the bottom half of the conference standings.
"We were rolling till Thursday night in all seriousness, and I think we’re really lacking in a confidence issue, we’re lacking in a toughness issue in terms of playing through situations," Matta said. "Those are things that somehow, some way, we’ve got to get corrected."
The Hoosiers (17-12, 7-9), in contrast, overcame the adversity.
Fears of a severe ice and snow storm that kept some fans home from the usually packed Assembly Hall. Those who did show up went home having to contend with travel advisories issued in the nearby counties.
Then, about 30 minutes before tip-off, Hoosiers coach Tom Crean used his Twitter account to announce freshman Noah Vonleh, the Big Ten’s leading rebounder, would miss the game with inflammation in his foot. He showed up for warm-ups in a gray sweatsuit with a boot on his left foot as the Hoosiers tried to pay back Ohio State for ruining last year’s Senior Night celebration with their own upset.
Ferrell and Sheehey made sure nothing would get in their way this time.
"I think it just shows the grittiness of our team," said Ferrell, the only returning starter from last season’s Big Ten champs. "I feel like everyone stepped up to the challenge. We just really wanted to get this win."
How badly did the Hoosiers want it?
Crean showed the team a video of the second Joe Louis-Max Schmeling heavyweight title fight from 1938 to motivate his team.
So after falling into an early 20-12 deficit, the Hoosiers took the lead with a 16-0 run and never looked back.
For the first time in more than 11 years, Indiana held an opponent without a 3-pointer, and for the first time in Crean’s memory, his team held an opponent without a basket from outside of about 10 feet. Ohio State wound up with 25 field goals, 24 in the paint, none longer than about 10 feet.
The Buckeyes’ dismal stat sheet also showed they were 14 of 23 on free throws and 0 for 11 from 3-point range, ending a streak of 367 consecutive games with at least one made shot from beyond the arc — a span that lasted more than 10 years.
The game certainly didn’t follow the expected script, especially with Vonleh out.
Indiana still managed to outrebound Ohio State 34-32 and Ferrell and Sheehey gave the Hoosiers just enough scoring options to overcome the loss of its second-leading scorer.
The game turned in a hurry.
With Indiana trailing 20-12, Ferrell and Sheehey both scored on layups, Hollowell made two free throws and Troy Williams scored on another layup to tie the score at 20. Following an Ohio State timeout, Sheehey knocked down a 3 to give Indiana the only lead change it needed, and Ferrell finished the 16-0 run with another 3 to make it 28-20 late in the first half.
The Buckeyes rallied quickly in the second half, closing a 33-25 deficit to 39-37 and then got as close as 48-47 with 9:22 to play.
But Evan Gordon and Sheehey answered with consecutive 3s right in front of the Hoosiers bench and the struggling Buckeyes never got another chance to take the lead against the determined Hoosiers.
"To play the way that we did without Noah, which we knew it was a possibility yesterday, we knew it was reality today, we had to answer the bell," Crean said. "We did."