Hoosiers bounce back with 83-73 win over St. John’s
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Less than 24 hours after a tough, last-second loss, No. 13 Indiana found a way to get back on the winning track.
Senior point guard Yogi Ferrell and freshman center Thomas Bryant had a lot to do with that in an 83-73 victory over St. John’s on Tuesday in the consolation round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
Bryant had a career-high 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting for the Hoosiers (4-1), who lost to Wake Forest 82-78 in the closing seconds of their opening-round game.
"I thought for the fact that we played less than 24 hours completely differently today was a great sign of the aptitude of our team, the attitude of our team, and the desire of our team," Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said. "I think that’s how it played out."
Indiana will play the winner of the Chaminade-UNLV game for fifth place on Wednesday.
"We didn’t play great. It wasn’t always pretty. They made baskets. But it’s not going to be when you’re playing against other competitive teams when you’re in this environment. But we played with great purpose," Crean said. "We went to a game plan that really was where we needed to end the game yesterday, and we didn’t end it that way, but we came at it and established it right away."
Federico Mussini and Ron Mvouika had 17 points each for the Red Storm (3-2), who played much better than they did in their 92-55 pasting from No. 19 Vanderbilt in the first round.
"I thought today’s performance was a gutty performance," first-year St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said. "I thought that we took care of the basketball. For the most part, we rebounded and competed. I thought it was a good bounce-back game, defense was much better, and I told the team if we play like that, we’ll be rewarded."
Ferrell had an answer every time St. John’s tried to close in in the second half. Four times the Red Storm got within seven points and three of those times Ferrell replied. He hit a short jumper, two free throws and a step-back jumper to keep St. John’s at bay.
"Teams can make runs, and when they make runs, you’ve got to find a way to stop the bleeding," Ferrell said. "We were upset with the loss yesterday, but we looked at this as another opportunity for us to go out and show everybody what we’re made of, and I felt like we did that today. We showed a lot of toughness. It starts off in the first half.
"Last game we played, we didn’t start off with that mindset that we were going to go out and try to beat these dudes. So I think that didn’t transition over into this game. I think this game we started off very well defensively and offensively."
The Red Storm got as close as 76-70 with 1:53 to play on two free throws by Yankuba Sima. James Blackmon Jr., who finished with 12 points, hit a 3 and after a St. John’s turnover he scored on a drive to put the game away.
The 6-foot-10 Bryant was the difference early.
"I just know if I just keep playing, keep running and posting up, that those guys will give me the ball, and they did," he said. "Luckily, I made some moves and got some buckets in there and just took it from there."
Troy Williams had seven points and nine rebounds for Indiana.
The Hoosiers led by as many as 17 points in the first half and took a 42-31 lead at halftime.
"It’s never from a lack of effort," Mullin said. "Sometimes other things creep in. A lot of it is a lack of experience; that you can’t fast forward. Experience is something you have to go through, and when you go through it, it’s going to be some painful nights, but I keep telling them, that’s what’s going to make us better."
St. John’s: This game started a little bit better than the opening round. In that game Vanderbilt opened by scoring the first nine points of the game. Against Indiana, St. John’s trailed 9-2 at the start. … St. John’s had eight turnovers against Vanderbilt. The Red Storm had that many at halftime against the Hoosiers. They finished with 11.
Indiana: Bryant had 15 points at halftime, two off his career high for a game. … Ferrell was 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. The rest of the Hoosiers were 6 of 14.
TALE OF THE TAPE
St. John’s trainer Ron Linfonte and Tim Garl, his counterpart at Indiana, are both in their 35th season at their respective schools. They are the two longest-tenured trainers in men’s Division I basketball.
St. John’s: plays loser of Chaminade-UNLV for seventh place on Wednesday.
Indiana: plays winner of Chaminade-UNLV for fifth place on Wednesday.