Indiana turns the tables on Butler at the Crossroads Classic
INDIANAPOLIS – Situations were made for the team in navy blue to come out with another storybook ending in this venue.
It’s happened three other times since the Crossroads Classic began in 2011-though the first two would fall into the category of historic.
Andrew Smith’s putback with a second left in regulation helped Butler beat Purdue in the first game in the four-team Hoosier State one-day tournament. It was an overtime layup by Alex Barlow that gave the Bulldogs an upset of then undefeated and top-ranked Indiana the next year.
After a more calm win over Purdue in 2013 the Bulldogs seemed poised to do the same again to Indiana on a few occasions Saturday afternoon when they met in the first of two games at the Classic.
A star player was getting hot, a big deficit was tied and then overcome. It was just like the past for Butler at Bankers Life Fieldhouse-and it looked as if a new player was going to emerge.
But that’s when the Hoosiers had their own superstar come to the forefront to knock this storyline off track.
Yogi Ferrell used his 20 second half points and pesky defense on Kellen Dunham to help Indiana outlast Butler 82-73 Saturday afternoon in the opening game of the 4th Annual Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Every one of the junior guard’s 20 points came in the second half when the Hoosiers outscored the Bulldogs 44-35 en route to their 9th victory of the season.
"Guys were trying to tell me to take over the game and I was trying to drive, kick, and do whatever it takes to find my teammates," said Ferrell. "I was trying to rebound, drive and find my own shot to get the team going."
But in the end it was taking away someone else that really spurred the Hoosiers onto victory. Dunham enjoyed one of the best 20 minutes of basketball this season when he hit 4-of-6 shots from the floor along with all nine free throws he took to score 18 points. His three-pointer capped an 11-1 run by the Bulldogs at the end of the first half to tie the game at 38.
Ferrell was limited to nine minutes after getting two quick first half fouls as the Hoosiers tried to be aggressive in stopping Dunham.
"He is very adept and good at drawing fouls, so you're not really going to guard a young man like that with the kind of ability to create that contact the whole game," said Crean of defending Dunham. "We rolled the dice having (Ferrell) start the game that way, and unfortunately the calls didn't go our way."
That changed in the second half when Ferrell cleaned up his defense of Dunham and it produced results. The guard played all but one minute of the final 20 and held Butler's forward to just 2-of-7 from the field in the second half and just five points. Most impressive was the fact that Dunham never had a free throw attempt and Ferrell never was whistled for a foul.
"He scored a lot of points at the free throw line in the first half and I tried to limit that," said Ferrell of his second half defense. "I tried to put more pressure on him in the second half by staying on his hip and getting around ball screens to prevent him from getting to the basket."
Dunham's struggled hurt the Butler offense which shot just 36 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes and hit just two three-pointers.
"I thought that they did a great job defensively all game," said Dunham of Indiana. "They changed one or two things, so that made it a little more difficult in the second half, but nothing that we shouldn't be able to handle."
It wasn't just Ferrell that led the second half charge but also Troy Williams who led the team with 22 points while also while also collecting eleven rebounds. Hanner Perea had nine himself as the Hoosiers outrebounded Butler 48-40 including five more offensive rebounds.
"We didn't play what I would call a 40-minute game, we had some lulls at the end of the first half after we got up by ten that we'd certainly like to have back," said Crean. "But we learned from it and we responded in the second half."
Especially the star who wasn't wearing Navy Blue in this venue.