Indiana came into this season as a program in turmoil. Tom Crean was already on the hot seat due to a lack of an NCAA Tournament bid in 2013-14. Then came the news that Devin Davis had been injured in a car accident due to the recklessness of teammates Emmitt Holt. Suddenly, it seemed Crean had "lost control" of his program. Another sub-par season could be the end of the coach's days in Bloomington.
Storyline of the Night
Things got better when the season started. Boosted by the outstanding play of freshmen James Blackmon Jr. and Robert Johnson, not to mention the continued brilliance of Yogi Ferrell, the Hoosiers jumped out to a 4-0 start to their campaign, including a win over No. 22 Southern Methodist.
After a win over Lamar, Indiana didn't appear to have a serious threat on its schedule until a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against Pitt on December 2. However, the Eagles of Eastern Washington plans of rebooting Indiana's 43-game non-conference home winning streak.
Game of the Night: Eastern Washington at Indiana
This one was close throughout thanks to the inability of the Hoosier defense to keep Eastern Washington away from the basket. The Eagles shot 52 percent from the field and were led by a career-high 27 points from senior guard Drew Brandon, who also filled the box score with eight rebounds, five steals, and four assists.
Indiana had plenty of offense for itself with Yogi Ferrell scoring 27 points with seven helpers and Troy Williams slamming home a number of thunderous dunks on his way to 19 points. However, Eastern Washington had an answer thanks to contributions from Tyler Harvey (25 points) and Australian big man Venky Jois (20 points, 14 rebounds). A Parker Kelly three-pointer on the senior's first shot attempt of the night proved lethal, putting Eastern ahead 82-78 with 33 seconds remaining. The Eagles would go on to win 88-86.
For more on this one, check out Scott Manning's Indiana breakdown.
Arizona State vs. Maryland
Dez Wells proved to be the hero in this one, as his go-ahead bucket with 40 seconds left on the clock gave Maryland a two-pont lead it would not relinquish in a 78-73 win over Arizona State. On the other hand, the Terps wouldn't be in position to advance to the finals of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City if not for the efforts of fantastic freshman Melo Trimble.
The phenom put the team on his back with four three-pointers and a game-high 31 points. The outstanding combination of inside and outside scoring is something that Maryland fans should cherish for as long as they can. In this game, Trimble's efforts were just enough to counter a Sun Devil three-point bench barrage led by Jonathan Gilling and Bo Barnes. The two combined to go 12-for-17 from beyond the arc and score 38 points, but the Terps stayed cool at the end to pull out the win.
Maryland will play Iowa State in the Classic final tonight.
Purdue vs. Kansas State
A trip to Maui was anything but relaxing for the Boilermakers, as they got smacked by Kansas State in a 88-79 defeat. The Purdue offense was humming thanks to five three-pointers and 21 points from Kendall Stephens as well as 19 points in just 20 minutes from freshman center Isaac Haas. Unfortunately, it all wasn't enough to keep Kansas State at bay. Sophomore guard Marcus Foster his five treys of his own for Burce Weber's squad, while Stephen Hurt grabbed four offensive rebounds off the bench to help keep possessions alive and send Purdue to its first loss of the season.
The Wildcats move on to face Arizona today. Purdue gets Missouri in the losers' bracket.
Michigan vs. Oregon
Freshman forward Ricky Doyle scored a career high 10 points to go with three offensive rebounds and a convincing 70-63 win for Michigan over Oregon at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn. Joseph Young led the Ducks with 20 points, but he hit on just under a third of his shots. Overall, Michigan held Oregon to just 39-percent shooting from the field.
Also contributing for Michigan were usual suspects Zak Irvin (19 points, three treys) and Caris LeVert (18 points, five rebounds). The pair paced a Wolverine offense that shot 46 percent from the field and committed just eight turnovers. Michigan will stay in Brooklyn to face No. 12 Villanova tonight.
Brown at Illinois
Although Illinois trailed Brown at halftime 35-31, the Illini quickly took off on a 9-0 run on the way to 58 second-half points and a 89-68 victory over the Bears. It was a classic tale of two halves for John Groce's squad, as he saw his team finish shoot 31 percent from the field in the first half but finish the game at 48 percent.
Seton Hall transfer Aaron Cosby led the way with 18 points while Ravonte Rice pitched in 15 and grabbed 10 rebounds to boot. Brown's Steven Spieth led all scorers with 21 points, but the Bears weren't able to keep up with the relentless Illini in the second half.
Pepperdine at Iowa
After a disappointing New York trip that saw the team lose to ranked opponents Texas and Syracuse, Iowa returned home and treated its fans to a too-close-for-comfort win over Pepperdine. Although the Hawkeyes never trailed, they also never threatened to blow out the Waves. Aaron White had 17 points and nine boards in the 72-61 Iowa win.
It was another balanced scoring night for the Hawkeyes, who saw five players score at least six points with three of them in double figures. However, they still only managed to shoot 41 percent from the field. Streaky senior Josh Oglesby was the biggest offender with 1-for-7 field goal shooting. It was just his second game of the season without a three-pointer made.
Santa Clara at Michigan State
Gavin Schilling recorded career highs of 14 points and 11 rebounds in just 18 minutes, and the Spartans rolled over Santa Clara, 79-52. Michigan State led 40-14 at halftime in a game that was never really in doubt thanks to a defensive effort that led to the Broncos shooting just 29 percent from the field. On offense, Tom Izzo's team handed out 22 assists on 29 made baskets with Travis Trice pouring in 19 points and dishing out eight helpers. Denzel Valentine was one of two Spartans in double figures with his 13 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists.