This one wasn't as close as the score suggests.
Indiana defeated Michigan 80-67 Tuesday night at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. before a nationally televised audience on ESPN, overcoming an early first-half deficit to earn a key Big Ten road win.
Anyone looking at the Hoosiers' conference schedule could've easily seen how backloaded it was. Their trip to Ann Arbor marked the beginning of the most challenging portion of that part of the regular season schedule.
Sure enough, that would be the case early on for Indiana (19-4, 9-1 Big Ten).
After freshman center Thomas Bryant's layup gave the Hoosiers a 2-0 lead, Indiana missed its next six shots and turned it over three times. It quickly found itself in a 15-4 hole nearly five and a half minutes into the game.
But then bench players such as freshman forward Juwan Morgan began making critical contributions, and Indiana was down just four. It had been one, but redshirt sophomore guard Duncan Robinson quickly buried a 3 in response.
Robinson's 3-point field goal was the last field goal the Wolverines (17-6, 7-3) would score over the final 8:40 of the first half, as Indiana close that half on a 25-0 run. In that stretch, the Hoosiers shot 10 of 13 from the field. For those keeping track at home, the Hoosiers went on to outscore the Wolverines 41-9 after trailing by 11 early on.
Put another way: Indiana started 1 of 9 from the field only to hit 18 of its next 22 shot attempts.
The run spilled over into the start of the second half, as a 3-pointer by IU freshman forward OG Anunoby extended it to 28-0. Robinson's jumper with 18:36 remaining in the second half ended a Michigan scoreless streak that spanned nearly 10 and a half minutes.
Instrumental in that run was Indiana senior guard Yogi Ferrell, who finished with a game-high 17 points and added nine assists. Six of his 17 points came during that onslaught.
While Indiana was with its leading scorer in Ferrell, Michigan played its ninth-straight game without its in senior guard Caris LeVert. Wolverines head coach John Beilein had upgraded LeVert's status to day-to-day at the beginning of the week, potentially opening the door for him to return Tuesday night against Indiana. However, LeVert was unable to give it a go.
IU grad transfer forward Max Bielfeldt returned to Michigan for the first time since his senior night as a Wolverine and finished with five points and seven rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench.
The Hoosiers take their hot shooting on the road to Penn State this Saturday with a chance to earn win No. 20. Should they do so, it would match last year's win total.