BY NATHAN BROWN, AllHoosiers.com
EvenYogi Ferrell's career-high 30 points wasn't enough to secure IU a win in the team's first conference game of the season.
After weathering an early storm caused by their own carelessness with the ball, the Hoosiers finally fell victim to their inability to hold onto the ball, falling 83-80 in an overtime thriller to Illinois in Champaign, Ill.
Ferrell shot 9-for-15 from the field Tuesday afternoon, including 5-for-8 from the 3-point line, but it wasn't enough to make up for IU's 23 turnovers – a season-high.
The Hoosiers fell behind 8-3 early before a 7-0 run the included a Noah Vonleh 3-pointer put IU back in front. Vonleh hit two 3-pointers en route to his 16 points and nine rebounds.
But once with the early lead, IU's inexperience began to kick in again, as a slew of turnovers began to hurt IU's cause. The Hoosiers turned it over five possessions in a row as they fell behind by as many as eight.
IU's 3-point prowess, though, kept them in contention. The Hoosiers connected on five in the first half, including Will Sheehey's long jumper as the clock wound down to end the first half in a 39-39 tie.
Early in the second half, the Hoosiers continued to knock down important shots from beyond the arc while cutting down the turnovers to take control. Illinois continue to stick around, led by Rayvonte Rice, who scored a team-high 29 points.IU led by as many as seven at 59-52 with 11:37 remaining, but just when you thought IU had temporarily fixed its turnover issue, they resurfaced along with a fatal shooting drought. Yogi Ferrell hit a 3-pointer with 6:48 left in regulation, and the Hoosiers wouldn't make another field goal until the game was nearly out of their hands. IU became careless with the ball late in the second half, including two costly turnovers from Ferrell in the closing minutes.
Illinois pulled ahead, but the Hoosiers still had the ball for the final possession of regulation for the win. Evan Gordon drew his defender in the air with a shot fake, but his floater fell short.
IU's shooting woes continued as they managed to knock down free throws to stay within reach, but Illinois reached a four-point lead with seven seconds left that all but sealed IU's first conference loss of the season. Ferrell knocked down an off-balance 3-pointer with three seconds left to cut the deficit to one, but it wasn't enough.
The Hoosiers (10-4) will take on Michigan State (11-1) in Bloomington on Saturday.