BLOOMINGON – Yogi Ferrell is fine with being the facilitator rather than the scorer. Of course, he's also fine with doing both.
On Sunday, the Hoosiers' sophomore point guard embraced his dual role against Ohio State's Aaron Craft, one of the nation's best defenders and, the numbers suggest, one of the best defensive guards in Big Ten history.
The result was a 72-64 win over No. 22 Ohio State. Ferrell had 20 points and four assists, much of it coming against Craft's defensive pressure. Given Craft has 324 career steals, which ties Illinois' Bruce Douglas for the most in Big Ten history, that pressure is formidable.
But Ferrell delivered as he has so often this season. He leads IU in scoring (17.8 points) and assists (108).
In Thursday night's victory over No. 20 Iowa, Ferrell had just eight points and four assists while teammate Will Sheehey took charge with a career-high 30 points. Sunday provided a return to high-scoring form given it was Ferrell's team-leading 10th 20-point game of the season.
The Hoosiers (17-12 overall, 7-9 in the Big Ten) needed it with freshman forward Noah Vonleh sidelined by an inflamed left foot. Sheehey added 19 points and six rebounds.
Here are some of Ferrell's thoughts:
On Hanner Perea's performance:
“Hanner played well. He always comes in and gives us great energy. He played hard today and we needed it. He caught a couple of tough passes from me and Evan (Gordon) and earned a couple of 1-on-1s. We need him as a shot blocker and a defender, but now that Noah is out, he has stepped up his game.”
OnWill Sheehey's performance:
“That's what a senior leader does. He steps up to the challenge. He's done that for us in both games. He's pretty much carried us. His energy in practice has carried over to the past few games. His talk before the game in the huddle was great. We're going to need him to step it up. I think he can do that.”
On going 3-1 in las eight days:
“We're coming along great. We've got to keep the ball rolling. We're already looking at our next opponent (Nebraska on Wednesday). We've got to just get out there and keep playing.”