BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — With Indiana star freshman Noah Vonleh out of the lineup, two other Hoosiers stars elevated their game Sunday at Assembly Hall.
Guard Yogi Ferrell scored 20 points and forward Will Sheehey added another 19 points to propel Indiana past No. 22 Ohio State 72-64.
It is the fourth ranked team Indiana has defeated this season. The Hoosiers have now knocked off back-to-back ranked teams after defeating No. 20 Iowa on Thursday.
“This league is so tough that the only thing you can liken it to is a 15-round fight every night,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “We’ve been answering every round. We’ve been dealing with it in a good way. Really, really proud of the way our team played today.”
Ohio State has now lost back-to-back road games after losing to Penn State on Thursday.
“Right now I think that we are really lacking in confidence and in toughness in terms of playing through situations,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “Those are things that some how, some way, we have to get corrected.”
Crean tweeted about 30 minutes before the game was scheduled to tip that the Hoosiers would be playing without Vonleh, who is Indiana’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. Vonleh missed the game with inflammation in his foot.
Indiana managed to overcome not playing without their best big man, as it never trailed in the second half and led for about a quarter of the first half.
Sophomore forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea saw an increase in playing time, tying his career-high with 15 minutes played due to Vonleh’s absence. He scored eight points, which also ties a career-high, and also added five rebounds and three blocks off the bench.
“We knew this was going to be a big game and we needed to win this game,” he said. “Especially when we found out Noah wasn’t going to be playing, I knew my team was going to need me right now and I needed to pick it up.”
The Buckeyes got to within one of the Hoosiers with 9:22 to go in the second half on Sunday, but the Hoosiers answered quickly with back-to-back 3-pointers from guard Evan Gordon and Sheehey to take a 54-47 lead.
“Will’s been making big shots,” Crean said. “That’s the confidence that he has, as he should. That’s the confidence that his teammates have in him and they always have. That’s the product of just being in the right place at the right time because you’re always moving.”
Sheehey scored a career-high 30 points on Thursday, making his last two games the best two games he has played statistically all season. He also added six rebounds and four steals and shot 8-for-12 from the floor.
“He and Victor Oladipo along with Jordan Hulls changed the culture of this program,” Crean said. “There’s no doubt about it. He’s the only one left. That culture is still moving in a great place because of what he does and because of what guys like Yogi and others are doing more of. Will Sheehey is capable of a lot of things, and that’s what we want him to continue to understand and do.”
Ohio State would get back to within three at 53-56, but Mosquera-Perea caught a pass from Ferrell near the rim and made the layup while getting fouled by Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross, who fouled out on the play with 3:33 to go. Mosquera-Perea connected on the free throw to give IU a 59-53 advantage.
“We pride ourselves on defense,” Matta said. “We missed layups and we missed free throws, and then all of a sudden, we clammed up and we lost our defensive intensity. We lost our juice on the defensive end.”
Guard Lenzelle Smith, Jr. and Ross both scored 19 points for the Buckeyes.
At halftime, IU was in control with a 33-25 lead.
The Hoosiers went on a 16-0 run from the 7:54 mark to the 3:10 mark in the opening 20 minutes. During that run, Ohio State had two turnovers and missed four shots.
Indiana, meanwhile, scored points on six consecutive possessions.
Within that run, Ross was called for a technical foul at the 4:06 mark after shoving Indiana forward Austin Etherington after a play. Ross missed two
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