- Associated Press - Sunday, February 23, 2014

EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) - Indiana used solid defense, timely shooting and a little focused passion to turn the tables on Northwestern.

Everything came together at the right time for the Hoosiers as they got scoring from five different players during an 18-4 run midway through the game, then held on for a 61-56 win over the Wildcats on Saturday night

Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell, Troy Williams, Noah Vonleh and Will Sheehey each had 12 points as the Hoosiers (15-11, 5-8 Big Ten) ended a three-game losing streak and extended injury-depleted Northwestern’s (12-16, 5-10) slide to five.

“Tonight our spirit was just so good,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “It’s being locked into one another and taking good shots, and getting back knowing what the other team wants and not allowing them to get an easy look.”

Sheehey, Williams, Ferrell and Vonleh, along with Stanford Robinson, all connected during the run that propelled Indiana to a 12-point lead in the second half and an eventual win.

“Everyone just did what they do,” Sheehey said. “Troy was flying around and being athletic. Noah was making himself a presence in the lane and Yogi was ran the team defense. I think everyone just contributed.”

The Hoosiers’ run started with a 6-2 spurt to close out the first half. Indiana lead 32-30 after 20 minutes after Vonleh hit a layup as time ran out.

The Hoosiers opened up their widest advantage 7:25 into the second when Robinson hit a pair of free throws to make it 44-32. Northwestern shot just 1 for 8 from the floor to open the half and connected at 38.8 percent for the game.

Indiana avenged a 54-47 loss to Northwestern at Bloomington, Ind. on Jan. 18. The Hoosiers hadn’t won since a 63-53 upset of Michigan on Feb. 2.

The Hoosiers were done in by a 19-1 run by Purdue run midway through their last game, a 82-64 loss to the Boilermakers last game last Sunday.

Northwestern’s Tre Demps, who made his first start this season as part of a juggled Wildcats lineup, finished with 19 points. Alex Olah added 17 and 11 rebounds despite playing with what Northwestern coach Chris Collins called “double sprained ankles.”

Collins was forced to shuffle his lineup as his second-leading scorer, JerShon Cobb, missed the game with a foot injury.

That allowed Demps, who entered the game as the Wildcats third leading scorer, to make his first start this season. He had come off the bench in all of Northwestern’s 27 previous contests, averaging 10.9 points per game.

Collins used just seven players for most of the game.

“I’m so proud of my team,” he said. “We just battled. We fought the whole game.

“I thought Alex Olah was tremendous,” Collins added. “The guy has been in a walking boot. Not on one foot, but on both feet all week. We didn’t know if he was going to play up until an hour before the game.”

Guard Dave Sobolewski, who had averaged fewer than 2 minutes in Northwestern’s last six, also started.

Demps closed it to 54-50 with 2:21 left when his layup was counted on a goaltending call, but Williams replied with a layup on the next Indiana possession.

Sheehey’s 3-pointer with 52 seconds left made it 59-51 and iced it.

“That’s‘ the crux of the game,” Crean said. “Those were big plays at crucial times.”

Northwestern’s losing streak dates to a 55-54 win at Minnesota on Feb. 1.

Indiana’s last scheduled game, versus Iowa on Tuesday, was postponed several hours before tipoff after an 8-foot piece of metal fell from the ceiling at Assembly Hall. The game will be made up on Thursday.

Neither Indiana nor Northwestern was able to open more than a four-point lead in the first half, or take control in a back-and-forth opening period marked by missed open shots, and bouts of scrappy play and loose ball control.

Olah led all scorers in the first with 12 points. Northwestern’s beefy 7-foot center was 5-for-8 from the floor, and a couple of times looked surprised that he had an open shot. Demps added nine points, including two 3-pointers.

Both teams came out cold, each missing on its first four shots from the floor. Indiana’s Sheehey dropped in a layup 3:52 in for first field goal of the night.

Northwestern moved ahead 9-8 on Drew Crawford’s 3-pointer at 6:36 the Wildcats held the advantage until Gordon’s 3 later made it 17-16.

Indiana flashed a little flair late in the first with four straight dunks, three by Williams, to start its late run. The Hoosiers then took charge early in the second.

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