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February 25, 2014

Yogi, Noah both strong but can't do it alone

MADISON, Wis. - Indiana did arguably the best job it has all season of making Noah Vonleh a consistent part of its offense.

He scored 18 points, one shy of his career.

Yogi Ferrell scored 24 points, his fifth game of 20 or more in Big Ten play.

Outside of those two, however, Indiana didn't get much offensively from anyone else after the first three minutes of Tuesday's 69-58 conference loss at 14th-ranked Wisconsin.

Senior Will Sheehey scored Indiana's first seven points in the first three minutes. The final 37 minutes, Ferrell and Vonleh combined for 42 points, the rest of the IU team nine, seven from Stanford Robinson and two from Jeremy Hollowell.

"We were getting the ball to the guys who could score," IU coach Tom Crean said. "Stan got a few. We didn't have as much balance as Wisconsin does, but Wisconsin has a lot more balance in their offense that way. If Noah hadn't gotten the shots, would you be asking me why he hadn't gotten more touches?

"He got 15 shots. He got to the rim. He didn't get to the free throw line, but we were going with what was working, getting to the rim off drives, shots, posting some. They did a good job in their post defense. It'll be interesting to watch that on film and see what we could have done better there, but there were some shots we didn't make.

"We took a couple quick ones, but we didn't get the put back opportunities the way we have. That's a credit to them, and we may see we weren't on the glass as well as we need to be consistently. Some of that was the way I was coaching. We had three guards out there more than we usually do. Some of that was probably the problem, and a little bit with our rebounding, too."

Vonleh tied his career-high in field goal attempts with 15, and the 6-foot-10 freshmen made a career-high eight baskets. He did that while defending 7-footer Frank Kaminsky, who went 3-for-10 from the field for 10 points.

Vonleh didn't shoot a single free throw - just the second time in 27 games this season that has happened - but IU barely got a chance at the line the entire game.

Indiana shot three free throws to 24 for Wisconsin. The three free throw attempts are Indiana's second-fewest since the start of the 1997-98 season. IU was averaging 26.1 free throw attempts per game this season.

The Hoosiers' nine points off the bench were their second fewest in Big Ten play this season. The Hoosiers got just seven points off the bench in their 60-55 loss at Nebraska.

A game after scoring 12 points in 23 minutes in a win at Northwestern, freshman Troy Williams started against Wisconsin, played 22 minutes, fouled out without scoring and got beat defensively several times in the second half on drives. Redshirt sophomore Austin Etherington was scoreless in 15 minutes in his third start of the season. Senior Evan Gordon played 24 minutes off the bench and didn't score.

Wisconsin, which has won 12 in a row at home against Indiana, put all five starters in double figures on the way to scoring 50 points in the second half after scoring a season-low 19 the first half.

Indiana had four players - Ferrell, Vonleh, Sheehey and Williams - scored 12 points each in Saturday's 61-56 win at Northwestern.

After the first three minutes on Tuesday, Wisconsin essentially took away everyone except Ferrell and Vonleh, and IU had zero fast-break points after halftime.

"We got some offensive boards, but we didn't get the put backs that we need," Crean said. "And because we weren't getting stops, our break wasn't as efficient in the second half and we we're going against a set defense more, which they're very good at. And we missed some shots. I think we'll look at the film and see we missed some shots we were making."

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