Indiana gave up 86 points last night, had a combined 12 points of output from Yogi Ferrell and Noah Vonleh, but still came away with the win. I'm as baffled as you are. The Hoosiers finally had someone besides those two step up and it turns out that Indiana can be very good when the rest of the cast helps out. Without the help of Indiana's two leading players, the rest of the squad was able to pump out 93 points on 1.12 points per possession. That's pretty darn good.
I want to try and emphasize how big of a victory this is for the rest of the squad for a moment. Yogi and Noah in the rest of the season have combined for 47% of Indiana's possessions. That means almost one in every two times down the court, either Noah Vonleh or Yogi Ferrell shoots, assists, turns over the basketball. Last night? They combined for half of that, or 21% of possessions. Specifically, Vonleh only had a usage rate of 9% and that was almost entirely on him. He just did not have a good game.
Who did have a good game? Will Effin' Sheehey, that's who. The senior took 28 games but he finally broke out of that shell that we expected him to leave behind to start the year. Sheehey scored in a large variety of ways and it was quite impressive. He hit two threes (shot 7 though), was splashing jump shots with ease (11 of 13) and ran more out routes than Cody Latimer. As impressive as Sheehey was, a lot of credit does need to go to his teammates. Sheehey has taking off in transition and his team did a magnificent job of finding him on the run.
Along with Sheehey in the huge game at key moment category are Stan Robinson and Jeremy Hollowell. Though Hollowell's numbers in the stat sheet weren't super attractive at games end (7 pts, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals for an 87 ORtg) he was all over the place and was aggressive without being reckless. If Hollowell had played all year like he did last night he'd still be starting.
Stan finally took advantage of his minutes and busted out of his recent slump by dropping a career high 17 points with a 136 ORtg. He was 5 for 6 from the floor but more importantly hit 7 of his 10 free throws. For a guy that has struggled greatly in the past at the line, he was great in clutch situations last night. Again, if we can get more of this Stan every night there's potential to be very good, but likely we'll have to settle for next year.
In the end, Indiana is still kicking. It's good to see they aren't completely dead, only mostly dead. The hyper optimists among the fan base would point out that winning out would likely throw the Hoosiers back onto the bubble and possibly in the tournament, as it would mean 5 wins over top 25 squads. However, that's pretty darn optimistic. Ohio State, though struggling at times can play with anyone. Nebraska has been hot of late and Michigan is still going to be defending home court as the likely outright Big Ten champions. Could it happen? Sure. But likely not. Still it's fun to dream.
Next up the Hoosiers host an Ohio State squad on Sunday who was swept by Penn State last night. Pomeroy gives them a better chance against the Buckos than he did last night, but they're still going to be underdogs. Let's see if Indiana can make it 4-1 as home underdogs.