With only a few buckets from Indiana's most trusted scorers Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh, the Hoosiers were able to outlast Iowa at Assembly Hall Thursday night 93-86. Will Sheehey led the way with 30 points, but possibly even more surprising was how little a role Ferrell and Vonleh played on the offensive end as the Hoosiers had their highest output of the conference season.
IU's freshman forward finished with just four points – two of them from the free throw line – while attempting just two shots, zero of them coming the in the first half. Vonleh missed a layup with 17:35 left in the second half, and it took him until the 1:01 mark in the game to record a field goal – a put-back dunk off a Sheehey missed free throw.
Vonleh saw a double-team for most of the game as Iowa seemed to try and take him out of his rhythm while making the Hoosiers find other weapons to beat them with. Instead, it was Sheehey streaking down the court in transition and IU's guards driving the open lane, finding seams to get to the basket.
Tuesday against Wisconsin, Vonleh was one of the few weapons IU had going. He took 15 shots, making eight of them. Thursday he was neutralized, but it didn't seem to affect IU in the least bit.
Ferrell shot 2-for-6 from the field, both of his makes 3-pointers, to go along with two free throws for eight points. His four assists, though, were a huge key in finding Sheehey or his fellow guards halfway down the court open for the easy bucket.
Against Northwestern at home earlier in the season, the Hoosiers put up just 47 points in a loss the entire game, where the duo combined for 26 points. In the first half Thursday, IU managed to find other outlets; Ferrell and Vonleh combined for just eight of IU's 49 points.
Gordon shines despite little preparation for Hawkeyes
It's been quite a while since Evan Gordon played his three-game stretch at the start of Big Ten play when he started three-straight games, but Crean said Thursday night he's still been impressed with the drive and leadership his graduate student has brought to the team during his lone year of eligibility in Bloomington.
With the short turnaround between Wisconsin and Iowa, none of IU's players got much time to prepare for the Hawkeyes, but because of class conflicts, Gordon was forced to miss practice Wednesday and workout with assistant coach Tim Buckley instead.
Since his starts against Penn State, Wisconsin and Northwestern, Gordon had scored 20 points total over the past nine games leading into Thursday, but he logged 24 minutes against Iowa, scoring 12 points – his highest total since racking up 26 against Oakland Dec. 10.
"He has night classes. With the graduate school classes, we didn't have him yesterday," Crean said. "We didn't have him in the film session or in practice. I mean, we've got to keep letting him have off days. It was like an off day for him, but he did a great job."
Crean grabs 100th victory in IU career
With the victory, Crean grabbed his 100th win during his stint at IU, giving him a 100-94 record as a Hoosier coach. He trails Bob Knight (662), Branch McCracken (364) and Mike Davis (115) in wins with the program.
Crean has won 72 games over the last two-plus seasons with the Hoosiers after his squads secured just 28 wins in his first three seasons at the helm.