Yogi Ferrell becomes Indiana's all-time assist leader as Indiana rolls past Illinois 103-69

On the night where Yogi Ferrell became Indiana's all-time assists leader, Indiana won easily over Illinois.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. --- Yogi Ferrell paced No. 25 Indiana's record-setting night as the Hoosiers earned their largest margin of victory over Illinois since January 2, 1991 in a 103-69 victory Tuesday night at Assembly Hall. 

"As far as personal performances, we had a lot of really good ones," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. "But I'll start with the obvious one with Yogi. Yogi, I said this to somebody the other day, his work ethic. Came in here really, really strong when he came here four years ago, and it has only grown." 

Ferrell finished with 16 points and nine assists in the win, Indiana's 11th-straight overall and sixth-straight in the Big Ten. The senior guard's second assist of the night, a no-look pass to Max Bielfeldt in the post with 11:19 left in the first half, gave him Indiana's all-time assist record and surpassed the previous mark of 545 by former IU guard Michael Lewis. 

The Assembly Hall crowd gave a standing ovation for Ferrell, whose arm was raised in the air triumphantly by Crean as if Ferrell had just won a heavyweight prize fight. 

"That's a great honor," Ferrell said after the game. "I played with a lot of great guys coming up: Victor Oladipo, Cody Zeller, Jordan Hulls, Christian Watford, that's what I like to be. I like to be a facilitator for my team, and I feel like I've gotten to have known my teammates very well all four years, the guys that are coming in here, in and out." 

Ferrell continued to find those teammates Tuesday night, committing just three turnovers as he directed the offense. He and his teammates pushed the tempo, getting 27 assists on 37 made baskets. 

Indiana's offense was especially deadly from the perimeter. The Hoosiers (16-3, 6-0 Big Ten) set the school record for 3-pointers made in a single game with 19 against the Illini. Freshman forward OG Anunoby's 3-pointer with 2:44 was the record-tying field goal, then freshman guard Harrison Niego broke it with a 3-pointer from the left corner. 

The 19 3-pointers are also tied with six other teams for most in a single game in the NCAA this season. 

Junior forward Troy Williams led Indiana with a game-high 21 points. His effectiveness in the offense could easily be attributed to playing mistake-free basketball. 

While the Hoosiers as a team finished with 11 turnovers, their third-lowest single-game total to date, Williams had zero. That total marks the first time all season he hasn't committed a turnover in a game after committing at least one in every prior game this season. 

The news was a pleasant surprise to Crean, who admitted he hadn't noticed that yet after the game.

"That's good," Crean said. "That makes the night even better." 

After Ferrell set the program assist mark with 11:19 left in the first half, Indiana went cold from the field. The Hoosiers went scoreless for nearly three minutes as the Illini mounted a 10-0 to cut the Indiana lead to one. 

Up 22-21, Indiana would close the final 7:38 of the first half with a 20-4 run. 

Bielfeldt provided Indiana with solid minutes Tuesday night, as his 16 points tied with Ferrell for second-most on the team. He scored 12 of his 16 in the second half, 10 consecutively, to put Indiana up by 30. 

That massive lead was indicative of Illinois' (9-10, 1-5) struggles in the second half. Kendrick Nunn's 3-pointer with 18:01 remaining in the second half cut the Fighting Illini defecit to 15. Nunn, who was Illinois' leading scorer entering Tuesday's game at 18.5 points per game, fouled out with 8:22 left. 

The Fighting Illini shot 22 of 51 from the field but just couldn't keep up with the Hoosiers. 

A tell-tale sign for Illinois head coach John Groce may have been when IU freshman center Thomas Bryant buried a 3-pointer - just his second made three all season and seventh attempt - a little over five minutes into the game. 

"It's a 40-minute game, but you hate to start saying it might not be our night when Thomas Bryant makes a 3 from the top of the key, or when Troy Williams drills two threes early in the game," Groce said. 

The Hoosiers led by as many as 38 points in the second half, which also featured Groce calling the team's final timeout with 13:18 left in that half. 

"I thought we were atrocious defensively from halftime on," Groce said. "I did not think we had enough pride at that end of the floor. I know they are tough to guard and I have watched them a lot." 

While Groce expressed disappointment, Crean exuded praise for his team being focused every day in the midst of its 11-game win streak.

"The thing I'm most proud of with our team is that, really, every day they come in here and they're locked into what we're doing at that present time," Crean said. "They take every opponent very, very seriously, and that's exactly what we did with Illinois." 

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