BLOOMINGTON – Indiana might have beat Nicholls State 79-66 on Friday, but from the look on coach Tom Crean's face, the buzz in the building and the play on the court, that didn't seem too clear.
The Hoosiers (9-3) struggled against the Colonels (3-6) in Assembly Hall.
The Colonels, who are ranked 321st out of 351 Division I basketball teams in offensive and defensive efficiency, looked good during the first eight minutes thanks to IU blunders.
The Hoosiers committed seven turnovers before the 12-minute mark, made just three baskets and couldn't muster a lead until 12:45 remain in the half.
IU experimented on offense and defense, which might have contributed to the miscues.
It tested out its full-court press, which it had not used this season, and worked in a few more high-post sets. Coach Tom Crean also changes his lineup quite a bit.
Luckily for the Hoosiers, the Colonels had the highest foul rate in the country entering the game – and it showed early. IU got into the bonus with 11:32 left in the half and hit the double-bonus with 7:48 to go and a 19-11 lead.
That didn't do much to satisfy Crean, though. The coach lit into his team during several timeouts.
Both teams had 11 turnovers in the first half. And until sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell decided to take over the game with 8 minutes left in the second half, IU continued its messy play.
The Hoosiers had three assists in the first half, and the 6-foot guard came up with seven in the second half.
From 9:02 left in the half to the final 4:54, IU did not miss a shot and committed just one turnover. The Hoosiers put up 14 points in that span and, for the first time in the game, looked as dominant offensively as they were expected to be against the Colonels.
Ferrell finished with 16 points, eight assists, three rebounds and four turnovers.
IU committed a season-high 20 turnovers and allowed Nicholls State to shoot 45.9 percent from the field. If not for a 26-of-35 performance on the free-throw line, the Hoosiers could have been pushed much harder.
Senior forward Will Sheehey had 14 points and sophomore forward Jeremy Hollowell also had 14.