Notebook: IU responds to Ferrell's challenge

Yogi Ferrell said Indiana needed to stop being so "soft" after Wednesday's loss at Purdue. Tom Crean said the Hoosiers responded to that with their play Saturday against Rutgers.

Following Wednesday night's ugly blowout loss to rival Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana's Yogi Ferrell was asked what the Hoosiers need to do to improve their struggling defense.

"We just gotta stop being so soft, man," Ferrell said. "We don't play with any energy. We think it's gonna be easier than it is, especially guys who haven't been here and played in the Big Ten. They think it's easier than it is, and now we're learning the hard way."

In their first game since Ferrell's comments, the Hoosiers survived a scare from Rutgers and earned a 72-64 win at Assembly Hall on Saturday. Their defensive wasn't always good, but Indiana strung together big stops when it needed to.

Afterward, Indiana coach Tom Crean said the Hoosiers responded to Ferrell's challenge.

"They're a pretty connected group," Crean said. "They responded to a question of toughness. They responded to that, so I think that's good.

"If the season ended today -- and thank God it doesn't -- but this would be one of the hardest working teams that I've ever had the privilege of coaching, and they're young. They're a hard-working group. It's just a matter of maturing to the consistency level of how you stay efficient on the offensive end and how you keep going time and time against to the glass, those types of things. They're slowly but surely learning that."


Beginning with its win over Butler in the Crossroads Classic, Indiana is 6-1 in games decided by single digits. Over the same period of time last season, beginning with a loss to Notre Dame in the Crossroads Classic, the Hoosiers are 2-5 in those games.


"It's almost like he doesn't have a conscience. That's a good thing sometimes. He looks to drive, he's got great size. He's looking to finish at the rim with a dunk. He just stays in attack mode. When you're in attack mode at that size, good things are going to happen. He's going to make mistakes, but overall, if you've got confidence and skill level like that and you're in attack mode, good things will happen for you."

-- Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan on Indiana's Troy Williams Top Stories