No. 25 Indiana is rolling in the way most envisioned at the start of the season.
The Hoosiers picked up a breezy 103-69 victory against Illinois at Assembly Hall on Tuesday, and broke a few school marks in the process.
For the game, the Hoosiers knocked down 19 3-pointers, breaking the school’s single-game mark for 3s in a Big Ten game. But more impressively, Yogi Ferrell passed Michael Lewis for the school’s all-time assist record at 546. Here is the pass to big man Max Bielfeldt that made it official.
There is the record! @IndianaMBB’s Yogi Ferrell sets the new @ourIndiana all-time assist record with No. 546! Wow! https://t.co/AqoYJ3uzs4
— Indiana On BTN (@IndianaOnBTN) January 20, 2016
Ferrell finished the night with 16 points and nine assists as the Hoosiers made a late first-half run to stretch the lead to 17 after a Malcolm Hill 3 with eight minutes left in the period made it 22-21. For his part, Hill did everything he could to keep the Illini close, finishing with 20 points and five rebounds on an efficient 6-of-11 shooting night.
But in the end, this one was all about Ferrell and the Hoosiers.
Indiana is now 16-3 on the season with a 6-0 mark in the Big Ten. It’s a pretty remarkable turnaround, given where the Hoosiers were early in the season. After a loss to Duke, the Hoosiers were sitting at 5-3 on the season with just as many defensive problems as they had last season, when they finished 214th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency. They’ve turned it around behind a better defensive scheme that puts defending penetration and walling off the paint above all else. It has also put Thomas Bryant in better situations where his lack of lateral mobility becomes less of an issue. That combination as well as the emergence of freshmen Juwan Morgan and OG Anunoby has allowed Indiana to become the most efficient defense in the Big Ten right now, according to KenPom.
However, this is still an offense-first team, and Tuesday night showed that again. With players like Ferrell, Bryant and Troy Williams — who led the Hoosiers with 21 points — Indiana is explosive, but also skilled and tall. It can create both full-court and half-court settings. It’s efficient, yet also able to get a shot at the end of the shot clock if need be. Basically, it’s everything you need to make a run in the Big Ten, and it’ll be interesting to see how this group continues to perform now that the schedule gets a bit more difficult.