Indiana’s Senior Day Victory Over Maryland As Told By Twitter

Every Senior Day is special and that’s no different at Indiana University, but when that day is about celebrating one of the school’s greatest players as well as an unexpected Big Ten championship, that calls for an extra special celebration. That celebration came after Indiana defeated Maryland 80-62 to close out the regular season 17-0 at Assembly Hall and 25-6 overall.

Nothing captures the feeling of what happens in the moment quite like Twitter so for this article I’m going to let the social media site help tell the story of IU’s 2016 Senior Day:


Even though most of the celebrations were held until after the game, one thing was celebrated before the game. Troy Williams became the 49th Indiana player to score 1,000 career points during IU’s win over Purdue and, as per custom under Head Coach Tom Crean, was honored before the next home game.

The first half started slowly for the Hoosiers but IU eventually got in a rhythm. An 18-12 Maryland lead was erased and forgotten as Indiana closed out the half on a 29-10 run to lead 41-28 at half. That run included fantastic plays such no-look passes, an insane block, and a buzzer-beating three-pointer.

The second half had its share of highlights as well, including Williams’ ridiculous start to the half, Juwan Morgan playing point guard, and Nick Zeisloft’s insane playground pass.

Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell has given everything he has into this season, and one hustle play pretty much summed up his complete dedication near the end of his final home game.

After the finals seconds ticked off and Indiana finished the season undefeated at Assembly Hall, it was time for the senior ceremonies.

Jackson Tharp:

Max Bielfeldt:

Ryan Burton:

Nick Zeisloft:

Yogi Ferrell:

Last but not least, a few former Hoosiers also took to twitter to compliment this Hoosier squad and their seniors.

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Three Observations From Indiana’s Road Win Over Minnesota

The Indiana Hoosiers started out cold in The Barn but were able to get hot enough to defeat the Minnesota Golden Gophers 70-63. The Hoosiers (15-3, 5-0) found themselves in a nine-point hole early in the first half but were able to tie it up before halftime before ultimately winning a back-and-forth battle with the Golden Gophers (6-12, 0-6) in the second half. IU will try to improve upon this performance when Indiana hosts Illinois at 7pm this Tuesday. For now, let’s take a look at three things that really stood out to me as the Hoosiers improved to 5-0 in Big Ten play:

  1. Williams and Johnson Struggle Scoring Again: Both Troy Williams and Rob Johnson are good scorers but this season they haven’t been consistently good. James Blackmon Jr’s scoring made up for those games when neither Williams nor Johnson were feeling it offensively, but with Blackmon Jr. gone the Hoosiers have really struggled at times when they don’t get much from Williams and Johnson. On Saturday, those two combined for just nine points (seven for Williams, two for Johnson) as the Hoosiers scored a measly 70 points against a Minnesota team that had already given up 86 points to Penn State and 84 points to Nebraska. IU was still able to muster up enough points to beat Minnesota but against the elite teams in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers will need either Williams or Johnson (or maybe both) to be offensive threats for Indiana to have a chance to win those games.
  2. Zeisloft Finding His Stroke Again: To say Nick Zeisloft was in a shooting slump would have been an understatement. In the four Big Ten games before Saturday, Zeisloft was shooting a disastrous 4 of 25 (16.0%) from three-point range. However, in a game where many Hoosiers were struggling to make baskets, Zeisloft chose the perfect time to get out of his slump as he made 5 of 8 (62.5%) from deep against the Golden Gophers, including four in a row. Zeisloft, who shot 45.0% from long range last season, has actually been struggling for longer than just the Big Ten season. After a November where he made 18 of 33 (54.5%) from deep, Zeisloft has only made 12 of 40 (30.0%) over his last ten games (six of which were non-conference games) before this Saturday. Hopefully for the Hoosiers, Saturday was the day he found his shooting touch again.
  3. Yogi Ferrell Deserves More Attention In “Player Of The Year” Discussions: There are a lot of deserving candidates for not only the Wooden Award but also Big Ten Player Of The Year, but Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell should at least be acknowledged for both. Ferrell’s stats against Minnesota (20 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, and 2 steals) tells just how pivotal he was for the Hoosiers to be able to win, but the amazing thing is that these stats are becoming a common occurrence. Since the loss of Blackmon Jr, Ferrell has averaged a ridiculous 19.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.8 steals as he has led the Hoosiers to a 5-0 conference start. He’s also made most of his big plays in the second half when his team has needed a big play. Sure the turnovers are a little high (2.8 per game on the season and 3.8 during the last five games without JBJ), but there are few players in college basketball that mean more to their teams and he should start getting recognized for it.

Mistakes In Maui And How The Hoosiers Can Learn From Them

After starting the season with three dominating wins, the Indiana Hoosiers traveled to Hawaii hoping to add some games against top-tier opponents to their resume. Unfortunately the Hoosiers never got a chance to face the best teams as the Hoosiers stumbled to a 1-2 record and a sixth place finish in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

The Hoosiers lost in the first round of the tournament to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons 82-78 and thus were placed in the loser’s bracket for the rest of the trip. The two consolation games ended up being a 83-73 win over the St. John’s Red Storm and a 72-69 loss to the UNLV Rebels.

While the two losses hurt, it was how the Hoosiers lost those games that hurt the most and felt all too familiar.

All of the defensive improvement the Hoosiers showed during their first three games of the season vanished as opponents were able to score at ease, especially on post-ups and drives to the basket. The Hoosiers allowed 50 points in the first half to the Demon Deacons, 42 points in the second half to the Red Storm, and 41 points in the first half to the Rebels. In the case of the two losses, the Hoosiers did make defensive improvements at the start of the second half only to fall short when it came to the closing minutes.

Now while there was some troubling play this past week it doesn’t mean the Hoosiers are doomed to repeat what happened last season. In fact, if the whole team embraces reviewing these games and learns from their mistakes, the season will still have a lot of promise. Here are some of the mistakes that need correcting:

Consistent aggression: The Hoosiers played some of their most inspired defense during the first 10 minutes of the second half against the Demon Deacons. They contested every post-up and never allowed guards the opportunity to drive to the basket. However, whether it was fatigue or playing scared and trying not to lose the lead, the Hoosiers went away from that aggressive play. For a team that tries to wear out their opponent with their pace, I think the switch in mindsets (from being the trailing team to the team with the lead) is what tripped them up the most. Many teams become a lot less aggressive when they have the lead because aggressive play can lead to mistakes. However, despite the possibility of mistakes, aggressive play also puts a ton of pressure on the team that is trailing to be even more aggressive, thus making the opposing team likely to make even more mistakes. If the Hoosiers can continue to play their pace even when they have the lead they can make it harder for teams to come back on them.

Situational defense: I think we all learned this past week that this Hoosier team isn’t going to be a top 25 defense this season but that is OK. The Hoosiers don’t have to be defensively brilliant to reach their ceiling; they just have to focus on which situations require them to play to the best of their ability. Most of those situations occur in the final four minutes of games where a lot of Big Ten games will be won or lost. Knowing the situation is probably the biggest improvement this team can make. In the Wake Forest game, the Demon Deacons were able to drive to the basket simply because a defender was more focused on preventing a pass to the post than cutting off the driving lane to the basket. Preventing driving lanes is one of the best ways to stall out an offense that needs to score quickly and forces the opponent to rely more on jumpshots, which percentage-wise is an advantage for the defense. Knowing how to position yourself in those situations will require a lot of practicing and drills but it will make end-of-games situations a bit more favorable.

Crunch-time offense: This was maybe the most surprising development that happened in Maui. A lot of people expected the defense to be a recurring problem but several times the offense stagnated and thus let opposing teams take advantage of the Hoosiers’ suspect defense. The Indiana offense thrives on ball movement but more often than not the ball was only in one person’s hands for the majority of its late-game possessions and when the ball did move it was more for the sake of just moving the ball instead of trying to get someone open. Again I’m not sure if this has to due with nerves or not, but because the offense stops scoring in crunch time it places a lot of pressure on the defense to hold the lead or keep the deficit small. Some late-game plays may need to be drawn up during practice specifically for these types of situations going forward as it seems the Hoosiers can’t play at their usual pace during crunch time and thus feel uncomfortable in those situations.

There is no doubt in my mind that the coaching staff is already drilling the players on how to improve in these areas. As long as the players learn and implement these lessons going forward this team will be fine. After all, it’s only November.

Stats From The Boxscore:

Due to the drastically different play of some Hoosiers during this tournament, I decided to use this edition of Stats From The Boxscore to highlight some of the main players’ averages during the past three games and compare them to their first three games. There will be no analysis; this will just be for those who are curious about how differently some key Hoosiers played this last week.

  • Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell
    • First three games: 16.7ppg, 7.3rpg, 7.0apg, 1.33spg, 2.7tpg, 1.3fpg, 52.8% FG, 37.5% 3FG, 85.7% FT, 30.0mpg.
    • Three games in Maui: 14.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 7.0apg, 1.33spg, 2.3tpg, 1.3fpg, 40.6% FG, 25.0% 3FG, 73.7% FT, 35.0mpg.
  • James Blackmon Jr.
    • First three games: 18.7ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.0apg, 0.67spg, 3.0tpg, 0.7fpg, 55.3% FG, 55.0% 3FG, 100.0% FT, 24.7mpg.
    • Three games in Maui: 10.0ppg, 4.0rpg, 1.3apg, 1.67spg, 0.33bpg, 4.0tpg, 2.7fpg, 39.3% FG, 33.3% 3FG, 66.7% FT, 23.0mpg.
  • Troy Williams
    • First three games: 13.0ppg, 5.7rpg, 2.7apg, 1.67spg, 0.67bpg, 2.3tpg, 2.7fpg, 53.3% FG, 25.0% 3FG, 50.0% FT, 26.0mpg.
    • Three games in Maui: 10.7ppg, 6.0rpg, 3.3apg, 2.33spg, 1.00bpg, 3.3tpg, 2.0fpg, 54.5% FG, 40.0% 3FG, 75.0% FT, 27.3mpg.
  • Thomas Bryant
    • First three games: 13.0ppg, 7.3rpg, 1.0apg, 0.33spg, 1.67bpg, 1.0tpg, 2.3fpg, 80.0% FG, 20.0% 3FG, 66.7% FT, 22.3mpg.
    • Three games in Maui: 11.3ppg, 4.7rpg, 1.0apg, 0.33spg, 1.33bpg, 1.3tpg, 2.7fpg, 60.0% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 55.6% FT, 25.0mpg.
  • Max Bielfeldt
    • First three games: 7.3ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.00spg, 0.33bpg, 1.0tpg, 2.0fpg, 53.3% FG, 33.3% 3FG, 83.3% FT, 17.3mpg.
    • Three games in Maui: 9.7ppg,  3.0rpg, 0.7apg, 1.00spg, 0.33bpg, 1.3tpg, 3.3fpg, 80.0% FG, 66.7% 3FG, 25.0% FT, 20.0mpg.
  • Colin Hartman
    • First three games: 2.7ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.0apg, 1.67spg, 0.7tpg, 2.7fpg, 36.4% FG, 0.0% 3FG, 18.3mpg.
    • Three games in Maui: 3.7ppg, 2.7rpg, 0.7apg, 0.67spg, 0.67bpg, 1.3tpg, 3.7fpg, 42.9% FG, 42.9% 3FG, 100.0% FT, 17.7mpg.
  • Rob Johnson
    • First three games: 7.0ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.3apg, 0.33spg, 2.7tpg, 2.3fpg, 53.3% FG, 50.0% 3FG, 16.7mpg.
    • Three games in Maui: 7.0ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.0apg, 1.0tpg, 1.3fpg, 38.9% FG, 50.0% 3FG, 42.9% FT, 22.7mpg.
  • Nick Zeisloft
    • First three games: 9.0ppg, 1.3rpg, 1.0apg, 0.33spg, 0.33bpg, 0.3tpg, 1.3fpg, 64.3% FG, 64.3% 3FG, 19.3mpg.
    • Three games in Maui: 9.3ppg, 2.7rpg, 0.7apg, 0.33bpg, 1.0tpg, 0.7fpg, 56.3% FG, 57.1% 3FG, 100.0% FT, 20.3mpg.

Bryant Emerges As Indiana Takes Down Creighton

Going into the season there was hope among the Hoosier faithful that freshman center Thomas Bryant could create an impact on this Indiana team similar to how Cody Zeller impacted the 2012 Hoosiers. So far, things are looking bright.

Bryant had his best game of the season as he helped the Hoosiers blow by the Creighton Bluejays 86-65. Bryant finished with 17 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks as his emotion on the court made Assembly Hall really rock for the first time during the 2015-2016 season.

“I’ve always had that passion in me ever since I started playing in grade school”, said Bryant about the passion he brings to the court. “I wasn’t the most talented player, so I had to do something to separate myself from others, and the passion, the will to drive, and the will to play was the difference and I’ve always kept it with me.”

Bryant’s passion was one of the biggest selling points for Indiana Head Coach Tom Crean when he recruited Bryant.

“You knew that he had infectious energy”, said Crean, “and the more you watch him you see that he really is infectious to his teammates.”

He certainty was as James Blackmon Jr. scored a team-high 19 points and had seven rebounds while Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell yet again flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 15 points, nine rebounds, and six assists.

“I’m a laid-back-type of guy, but when I see him like that, that makes me want to bring more energy to the game”, said Blackmon Jr. about the effect of having Bryant with him on the court. “I feel like we’ve had (passion) from guys, but Thomas brings it on a whole other level.”

Indiana (3-0) also showed its passion on the defensive end as they shut down a powerful Creighton offense. The Bluejays came into this game averaging 98 points a game and shooting 39.7% (25 of 63) from three-point range. The Hoosiers held them to 65 points and just 16.7% (3 of 18) from deep.

Creighton (2-1) was led by Maurice Watson Jr. who finished with a game-high 21 points. However, the Bluejays’ two leading scorers Isaiah Zierden and Cole Huff (averaging 19.5 and 14.5 points respectively) were held to a combined eight points on just 3 of 12 shooting from the floor.

The Hoosiers now have to pack their bags and fly to Hawaii to take part in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Their first game will be Monday against Wake Forest at 5pm eastern, noon local time.

Stats From The Boxscore:

  • Thomas Bryant is shooting 80% from the floor this season. That’s crazy enough but did you know he hasn’t missed a two-point field this season? He is 15 of 15 on two-point field goals and 1 of 5 on three-point field goals.
  • Bryant set many career-highs against Creighton including points (17), assists (2), steals (1), and blocks (4).
  • Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell has scored double-digit points and has had more than five rebounds and assists every game so far this season. Here are his game logs:
    • Eastern Illinois: 13 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists
    • Austin Peay: 22 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists
    • Creighton: 15 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists
  • Ferrell’s nine rebounds against the Bluejays are a career-high.
  • Ferrell (1,429 points) also passed Ray Tolbert (1,427) for 19th on IU’s all-time scoring list. Next up on the list are Walt Bellamy (1,441) and D.J. White (1,447).
  • Both James Blackmon Jr. and Nick Zeisloft are shooting above 50% from three-point range this season. Blackmon Jr. is shooting 55% (11 of 20) while Zeisloft is shooting 64.3% (9 of 14).
  • The Bluejays were averaging 10 offensive rebounds per game heading into their matchup with Indiana. The Hoosiers didn’t allow a single offensive rebound in the first half and only allowed eight the whole game.
  • The Hoosiers scored 51 points in the first half against Creighton, marking the third consecutive half with 50+ points. Unfortunately the Hoosiers only had 35 points in the second half, thus ending the streak.

Hoosiers’ Second Half Shooting Streak Puts Away Governors

The Indiana Hoosiers made 15 straight shots in the second half as they pulled away with a 102-76 win over the Austin Peay Governors.

The Hoosiers only led 51-39 at half and saw their lead cut to 57-46 with 16:06 left in the second half. However, the Hoosiers caught fire as they made their next 15 shots. By the time James Blackmon Jr. had his layup attempt blocked by Kenny Jones, there was only 3:16 left in the game and Indiana was up 95-68.

Here is a rundown of those 15 made baskets:

  • Make #1 (15:30) – Max Bielfeldt’s missed three-pointer was the last missed shot by the Hoosiers before Indiana Coach Tom Crean started to empty the bench. It’s only appropriate that he also started the streak. Bielfeldt stole the ball right from Terrell Thompson and took it all the way to the basket for an easy layup.
  • Make #2 (14:37) – The next possession after a Governors turnover, Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell made a layup.
  • Make #3 (13:28) – Sometimes Troy Williams can drive to the basket with reckless abandon and that’s what this play looked like before Williams adjusted mid-air and slammed home a reverse dunk.
  • Make #4 (12:58) – Blackmon Jr. got a steal and threw it up court to an open Williams who smashed another one through the rim.
  • Make #5 (12:06) – Making four layup/dunks in a row isn’t that impressive, but when you make four three-pointers in a row following those four layup/dunks, that is extremely impressive. Nick Zeisloft makes the first of those threes.
  • Make #6 (11:16) – Zeisloft also makes the second of those threes. It’s worth mentioning that prior to this he had to exit the game due to dislocating his finger. Seems he’s perfectly fine.
  • Make #7 (10:13) – Ferrell joins in on the fun as he adds a three of his own off of a Blackmon Jr. assist.
  • Make #8 (9:53) – Ferrell returns the favor as he sets up Blackmon Jr. for what would be his first made three-pointer of the streak.
  • Make #9 (9:16) – We’ve seen close range and deep range, so why not mid-range? Ferrell makes a jumper to extend the streak.
  • Make #10 (8:40) – Blackmon Jr. decides not to follow the pattern of four shots of the same type in a row and instead launches a three. It’s okay since he makes it.
  • Make #11 (8:16) – Blackmon Jr. dishes it out to Zeisloft who makes his fifth three-pointer of the night, three of which have come during this streak.
  • Make #12 (6:58) – Blackmon Jr. follows it up with his third made three during the streak. At this point everyone in the crowd is either aware of the streak or knows that something rare is happening.
  • Make #13 (6:27) – Thomas Bryant gets a nice pass from Williams that Bryant turns into an easy layup.
  • Make #14 (5:18) – This time Robert Johnson feeds the big man down low as Bryant makes another layup.
  • Make #15 (4:41) – A great pass from Blackmon Jr. leads to another Williams dunk, which would be the final make of the streak.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of 15 straight made shots,” said Coach Crean about the streak. “I know in the 2003 NCAA Tournament in the old RCA Dome my Marquette team made 10 straight in overtime against Missouri in the final 32, and I never thought I’d see that again. Different environment, different time of year, but 15 straight is still very impressive.”

Ferrell led the Hoosiers with 22 points and in the process passed Jimmy Rayl (1,401 points) and Kirk Hanston (1,406 points) to move into 20th place on IU’s all-time scoring list. He also led the team with nine assists and six rebounds.

Blackmon Jr. finished with 20 points and four assists. Zeisloft added 15 points while Williams added 14 points for the Hoosiers (2-0).

Austin Peay (0-2) was able to keep it close in the first half thanks to the fantastic play of Chris Horton. The senior forward finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and four blocks, leading the Governors in all four categories. Khalil Davis and John Murry added 16 and 14 points respectively.

The Hoosiers have one more test before they get to travel to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational. They’ll face Creighton on Thursday at 7pm in Assembly Hall.

Stats From The Boxscore:

  • Troy Williams’ five assists were a career-high. He also added five rebounds, two steals, and a block.
  • Max Bielfeldt tied a career-high two steals in the Hoosiers previous game against the Panthers. This time he doubled his previous best as he caused four steals against the Governors.
  • Thomas Bryant made five of his six shot attempts making his shooting percentage for the season 90.0% (9 of 10).
  • Nick Zeisloft, Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell, and James Blackmon Jr. not only made a lot of threes, but they also did it by shooting effectively from deep. Zeisloft went 5 of 7, Ferrell went 4 of 5, and Blackmon Jr. went 4 of 6.
  • The Hoosiers made more three-pointers (16) than the Governors attempted (14).
  • Collin Hartman lost his starting spot to Bielfeldt but he still played very well, tying a career-high with three steals.
  • The Hoosiers and the Governors played a relatively clean game, only accumulating 30 combined fouls between the two teams. There were 48 combined fouls when Indiana played Eastern Illinois.
  • This is what happens when you make 15 shots in a row: Indiana shot 80.8% (21 of 26) from the floor in the second half, including 80.0% (8 of 10) from deep.