Indiana’s freshman point guard, a year removed from his high school sharpshooter days, found his shooting touch while the Penn State Nittany Lions lost theirs.
The result — Wednesday night’s 72-49 victory.
Seventh-ranked Indiana improved to 17-2 overall, 5-1 in the Big Ten, a half-game behind first-place Michigan State. Penn State is 8-11 and 0-7.
Ferrell entered the game averaging 6.6 points and 34.9 percent shooting, 24.2 percent from three-point range.
So what did he do against Penn State?
He morphed into Jordan Hulls. He hit six of seven shots, three of them beyond the arc, for a career-high 15 points. If the cost came in his assist numbers (he had just two assists, half his season average), it had no negative affect on this game.
It was a night for offensive resurgence.
Case in point:
*IU hit eight straight three-pointers in one stretch and finished 11-for-20, which was almost better than it shot free throws (21-for-37). The 11 three-pointers tied a season high.
*Victor Oladipo went 2-for-2 from three-point range and scored a game-high 19 points. He shoots nearly 70 percent from the field, more than 52 percent from beyond the arc.
*Will Sheehey regained his shooting touch for 12 points. He’d scored a total of 14 points in his previous four games.
*After four straight mediocre second halves, IU dominated the final 20 minutes.
*Maurice Creek returned to action after being out since the Dec. 15 Butler game with a foot injury. He didn’t score, going 0-for-2 from the field, but at least he played.
The Hoosiers dominated despite an offensively ineffective Cody Zeller. He was 0-for-4 from the field, 2-for-4 from the line for a season-low two points. His previous low was six points against Georgia.
IU controlled the first half. The offensive catalyst was Ferrell, who scored five early points as the Hoosiers bolted to a 7-0 lead.
The defense held Penn State to 29.6 percent shooting while forcing seven turnovers. The result – IU build leads as large as 15 and led at halftime 33-19.
The Hoosiers scored the first eight points of the second half to go ahead 41-19.
The rout was on.
Now the schedule gets tougher. Big Ten leader Michigan State comes to Assembly Hall on Sunday. Then there’s a trip to rival Purdue next Wednesday. And then comes a Feb. 2 showdown with No. 2 Michigan.