Here is an analysis of Sunday's 90-74 victory over Stony Brook at Assembly Hall. This analysis will become a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.
WHAT LOOKED GOOD: It was more like who looked good in this one. We knew Noah Vonleh was going to be strong and while what he has accomplished to this point still hasn't been against elite competition, his four-game start is truly impressive for a freshman. It's even more impressive when you take into account that Vonleh just turned 18 years old at the end of the summer. Sunday, he had 18 points, 15 rebounds and as Tom Crean said in the postgame press conference, Vonleh led IU with 15 deflections. Crean was trying to make a case for Vonleh having IU's first triple double since Steve Downing in 1971. But deflections isn't an official category. If it were surely one of IU's players from last year would have achieved the same thing. But Vonleh's performance has been impressive nonetheless. Vonleh was 6-of-10 from the field and 6-of-8 around the basket as two of his misses were from the 3-point range. Crean said he normally doesn't have a problem with Vonleh shooting 3's except in cases when he doesn't think the opposing team can stop him and that's how he felt Sunday. Besides Vonleh, Yogi Ferrell had another big game. One would think he would be a strong candidate for Big Ten player of the week honors. He had 26 on Friday night and followed it up with 24 on Sunday. Those were the first two 20-point games of his career. He hit 7-of-16 shots from the field, 3-of-7 from 3-point range and 7-of-10 from the line. He also had five rebounds and six assists in 35 minutes of play. One other player that stood out was fifth-year senior Evan Gordon. Gordon reached double figures with 12 points, shooting 4-of-6 from the field including his first 3-pointer of the season.
WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Two things jump off the page here. Indiana had 17 turnovers and those miscues led to 21 Stony Brook points. Seventeen turnovers isn't going to cut in by the time Big Ten play rolls around. Indiana still has six weeks to get better in that area but turnovers have been a concern. Jeremy Hollowell, still adjusting to his role as more of a guard in the offense, had four of them and Troy Williams had three. Both players need to be a little more under control at times. The other is obviously free throws where Indiana missed 19 Sunday. No typo there, it was actually 19 misses. Indiana missed 13 free throws in the first half alone … and still led by six points at the break. The Hoosiers were lucky in this one that free throw shooting didn't come back to bite them. That won't always be the case. The most frustrating thing for an IU fan is the knowledge that in the season opener IU hit 45-of-55 foul shots against Chicago State. Crean said after the game that free throw shooting is contagious. What those two games have shown is that it is contagious in both directions.
FOR STARTERS: Indiana has now used the same starting lineup in all four games: Will Sheehey, Jeremy Hollowell, Noah Vonleh, Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell. Against Stony Brook, the starters combined to score 69 points, pull down 28 rebounds, dish out six assists (all by Yogi) and commit 13 of IU's 17 turnovers. The starters also had six blocks and five steals. The five starting players made 20-of-41 shots from the field including 5-of-14 from 3-point range. The starters were 24-of-38 from the foul line.
NOVEMBER STREAK INTACT: Indiana has won 25 consecutive games in the month of November, the second longest active streak behind Syracuse.
INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here's a look at my own thoughts on three Indiana players from Sunday's victory over Stony Brook:
1. YOGI FERRELL: You have to really like Yogi's game right now. He wants the ball in his hands, he runs the offense with authority on the court, makes sure everyone is in the right place, and he just has supreme confidence. He looks confident driving it to the basket or pulling up for that 3-point shot which often times seems to be from the top of the key. It's safe to say that everyone has expected these kinds of performances from Yogi for a long time. The fact that he put together games of 26 and 24 points is no surprise to people who watched him grow up through the local system.
2. EVAN GORDON: I'll admit the first few games I wasn't completely sold on just how much Gordon would be able to contribute this season. Crean has talked him up, and I trust the IU coach, but I just wondered what intangible Gordon brought to the floor that Indiana didn't already have. I would have thought that it would have been important for Gordon to knock down the perimeter shot to give himself the best chance to get significant minutes. But after watching him blow by defenders for driving layups Sunday against Stony Brook I think it's obvious that Gordon will find a spot in the rotation. He's also a good defender. Sunday, besides the fact he scored 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting, I also really liked the fact that he did not have a single turnover in 23 minutes off the bench.
3. COLLIN HARTMAN: Hartman is another player that I questioned just what his role on thise team would be. I thought it might be a year before he had a chance to really shine. Sunday, he was one of IU's first subs into the game. He came in along with Gordon and Devin Davis at the 15:37 mark of the first half. It's not the first time this season in four games that he has been one of the first players off the bench. Hartman didn't score in 12 minutes but he came in and did some good things. He had three rebounds. He wasn't afraid to shoot the ball. He shot a 3-pointer from the right wing within the offense and also had a baseline jump shot. He missed both but the fact that he was confident enough to attempt them says a lot about his confidence. He was one of the three players that were brought into the media room after the game for postgame interviews.
NEXT UP: Indiana (4-0) is back in action Thursday night at Madison Square Garden when it faces the University of Washington in the final four of the 2K Sports Classic. IU and Washington will tip at 9 p.m. on ESPN2. The other game will be Boston College/Connecticut. IU will play either winner or loser of that game on Friday at 5 or 7 p.m.
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch