The Crossroads Classic doesn’t carry the same pomp and circumstance as some other regional rivalries, but when both teams have it rolling, Notre Dame-Indiana is as entertaining as any other in-state rivalry in college hoops.
The Bankers Life Fieldhouse was rocking as Indiana stormed back from a double-digit deficit to win 80-73, finishing the game on a 17-2 run. Notre Dame shot the ball well for the first 25 minutes of the game and built a comfortable 15-point lead, but then Tom Crean starting switching Indiana around on defense, and a 1-3-1 zone ended up working well, getting the Irish out of rhythm with empty possessions.
On the other end, the Hoosiers were stroking it from deep, taking bites out of the lead with every three. Indiana shot 10-for-20 from behind the arc as a team, with Yogi Ferrell, James Blackmon and Robert Johnson each stepping up with timely buckets during the second half charge.
The second half run was triggered by some high-energy play from Troy Williams. The junior came out of the locker room and provided a spark early with a few quick buckets and finished as the team’s leading scorer with 18 points while adding 10 rebounds and three steals.
Williams’ performance in the win against Notre Dame adds evidence to the case for the 6-foot-7 forward as one of Indiana’s most important pieces for success this season. Williams was named CBS Sports Player of the Week for his double-double average as Indiana got right against IPFW and McNeese State, and his determination powered another win as the Hoosiers are starting to resemble the team we expected after a rocky 5-3 start to the season.