BLOOMINGTON, Ind. --- It was a forgettable week at Assembly Hall for Big Ten programs from the state of Illinois, and Northwestern was the latest example.
Just four days removed from a 34-point win over Illinois, Indiana blew out Northwestern 89-57 Saturday for the Hoosiers' 12th straight win. The overall streak is tied for their longest since the 2011-12 season.
"When we're playing like that and making simple plays on the other end, which still we've got to continue to learn how to do a better job of, but we have a chance to keep improving," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. "That's what their whole mindset is about."
The Hoosiers (17-3, 7-0 Big Ten) led by as many as 30 in Saturday's game, the third straight home game in which they've led by at least that many points. Their seven-game win streak to start conference play is their best start since 1993.
Senior guard Yogi Ferrell, who received a commemorative ball at halftime for becoming Indiana's career assits leader, finished with a team-high 17 points for IU. His efforts moved him into 10th on Indiana's all-time scoring list.
He also finished with just one turnover, and Indiana as a team had just 10 - its second-lowest single game total of the season.
Minimizing mistakes has been a direct result of the consequences Ferrell and his teammates face in practice this season. Ferrell said if the team commits more than a certain amount of turnovers, it has to run 17s. That involves running from sideline to sideline - one, two, three - in under 65 seconds. "We don't want to run those 17s," Ferrell said.
"We're just focusing on taking care of the ball, taking more pride in the ball and what we do with it," he said.
Similar to those three games, a quick start helped get the Hoosiers going early. Indiana opened the game with a 10-0 run and never lost the lead. The Wildcats (15-6, 3-5) came within four points of tying the game early in the first half after a layup by senior center Alex Olah.
However, Olah didn't get much assistance from his teammates beyond redshirt junior guard Tre Demps. Together, the two upperclassmen combined for 36 of Northwestern's 57 points, shooting 16 of 25 from the field collectively. The rest of the Wildcats shot a combined 14 of 32 overall.
Northwestern sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh, a Greensburg, Ind. native who entered Saturday's game as the team's leading scorer, struggled mightily. Hounded all afternoon by Indiana sophomore guard Robert Johnson, McIntosh finished with four points on 2 of 12 shooting from the field. He also added six rebounds and six assists.
"We were really locked in to making sure that we kept pressure on their guards, especially Bryant McIntosh, throughout the game," Crean said.
Indiana junior forward Collin Hartman scored eight of IU's first 10 points and finished with 11 on 4 of 6 shooting from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. Indiana as a team 46 percent from 3-point range.
"We all work hard all the time," Hartman said. "It's just a matter of being there and being in the right spot at the right time."
Among the notable 3-point field goals was a made basket from the left corner by freshman forward Juwan Morgan with 4:28 left in the first half. It was the first 3-pointer of his Indiana career.
Indiana also outworked Northwestern in many of the hustle categories. The Hoosiers had a 14-0 advantage in 2nd change points, 16-0 in points on turnovers, 11-4 fastbreak points 36-31 in bench points, and 40-23 in total rebounds.
"Coach Crean does a great job of keeping us ready, especially (with) Northwestern coming off that tough loss at Maryland," grad transfer forward Max Bielfeldt said. "You know they were going to come in here and really bring something extra. I thinkw e did a good job in handling that and showing that we're on a mission too and we're working for something as well."