- Associated Press - Sunday, January 26, 2014

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell was weary of all the missed shots, the turnovers and Indiana’s inability to seize control Sunday.

So the sophomore point guard got aggressive.

He scored nine points in a key 12-0 second-half run, then made six free throws in the final 66 seconds to help the Hoosiers end a two-game losing streak with a 56-46 win over Illinois.

Yogi in the first half managed the game at a high level,” coach Tom Crean said. “In the second half, he was able to take it over at certain points, and that’s what you want.”


It was no easy task for Ferrell, who scored a career high 30 points in his first matchup with the Fighting Illini and came into the game as the Big Ten’s top scorer in conference play.

This time, Ferrell and freshman Noah Vonleh were the prime targets of Illinois’ defense. Vonleh finished with only four points and 14 rebounds while Ferrell managed only two shots in the first half, missing both, and went into the second half with just two points.

Over the final 20 minutes, it was a different story.

Ferrell repeatedly drove to the basket, found open teammates and made big play after big play. He finished with 17 points, five assists, four rebounds and one steal. What changed?

“I was picking my spots a little better,” Ferrell said. “They kind of boxed me in a little bit (in the first half), so I’d drive and pretty much kick and let those guys feed.”

The Hoosiers (13-7, 3-4 Big Ten) needed everything Ferrell and his teammates could muster in a battle between two teams scrapping to get back into the Big Ten hunt.

Since upsetting previously unbeaten Wisconsin on Jan. 14, the Hoosiers had lost at home to Northwestern and at No. 3 Michigan State.

Illinois’ resume was even worse.

After opening the conference season with back-to-back wins, the Fighting Illini (13-8, 2-6) have lost six straight - the longest skid coach John Groce has endured since dropping seven in a row when he was on North Carolina State’s staff in 2000.

With so much at stake, Crean expected the game to get ugly. It did.

Illinois shot just 33.3 percent from the field, got only four offensive rebounds and only two points on fast breaks. Rayvonte Rice had 20 points and four rebounds, the only Illini player to score in double figures. And it marked the second time this month that Illinois failed to score 50 points.

Story Continues →