Steven Branscombe / USA TODAY

Indiana blows Chattanooga 99-74, advances to second round of NCAA Tournament

A early second-half spurt paved the way for Indiana in its win over Chattanooga Thursday.

DES MOINES, Iowa --- Two No. 5 seeds fell already. Indiana made sure it wasn't the third.

The No. 5-seed Hoosiers defeated No. 12 seed Chattanooga 99-74 Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 

"We are extremely excited to be moving on," Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. "I thought our guys have done a tremendous job focusing all week on the task at hand which was a very good Chattanooga team." 

Senior guard Yogi Ferrell led the way for Indiana with a game-high 20 points and added 10 assists for his first career double double. 

"It's March," Ferrell said. "The best teams play in the NCAA Tournament. That's why they're selected for a reason and anybody can beat anybody on any given night." 

Ferrell''s passing success came despite facing a much-discussed Mocs' length and their ability to force turnovers. Their average height of 6-foot-4 allowed them to steal the ball on 10 percent of opponents' possessions and block 13.4 percent of opponents' 2-point shots, 31st and 23rd respectively among 351 Division I teams per Ken Pomeroy. 

IU struggled with this unusual length early on, committing six turnovers in the first half. Thought it committed close to the same number of turnovers in the first half, the __ total turnovers were around their average of 13.7 per game entering the matchup. 

The Mocs dared Indiana to press but soon gave up after the Hoosiers jumped out to an 11-point lead by the midway point of the first half. The trend continued as the Hoosiers used a 14-6 run to open the second half and extend their lead to 17. IU led by as many as 26 in the second half. 

Freshman forward OG Anunoby added a career-high 14 points for Indiana less than a week after matching his previous career of 13 against Michigan in last week's Big Ten Tournament. Anunoby finished 6 of 7 from the field, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range. On back-to-back defensive possessions, he stole the ball and dunked it in transition. 

"I just tried to come out and play hard and trusted my teammates," Anunoby said. "We all just tried to make the right plays."  

Anunoby's efforts were part of a balanced scoring attack which featured five different players finishing in double figures. 

Chattanooga boasted a similar balanced attack entering Thursday's game, with 10 different players reaching double digits at various points in the season. However, that balance was absent in the loss to Indiana.

Just three players reached double-digit scoring totals, while six finished with seven or fewer points. 

Indiana's offense received a boost with the return of sophomore guard Robert Johnson, who had been rehabbing an ankle injury since Feb. 20. He finished with seven points in 24 minutes off the bench.

"It felt great being with my teammates after missing a couple games," Johnson said. "Felt good being back out there and being able to help these guys win." 

Indiana faces the winner of Kentucky-Stony Brook on Saturday, but Crean was in no mood to look ahead regarding potential opponents.

"I'm sorry because they haven't played that game yet, so I would be remiss if I started talking about the potential opponent," he said. "But our preparation won't change on whoever the opponent is. We'll lock into it tonight and we'll lock into it tomorrow and we'll get ready to play on Saturday." 

IU was paying some attention to fellow No. 5 seeds being upset by No. 12 seeds earlier Thursday afternoon, but Anunoby said it didn't pop into the players' minds.

"We watched the Yale game, but we just tried to come out and play our game," Anunoby said. "We didn't worry about that." 


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