Yogi Ferrell scored the game's first nine points as Indiana rolled past James Madison in its NCAA Tournament opener.
DAYTON, Ohio (WDRB) – On Thursday, media members tested the Indiana University basketball players with trivia questions about their opening opponent in the NCAA Tournament, James Madison.
On Friday, the Hoosiers made certain they did not become the answer to a stinging college basketball trivia question. Tom Crean's team played like the Number One seed in the East Regional, dispatching No. 16 seed James Madison, 83-62, at the University of Dayton Arena. A one-seed has never lost to a 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
By winning, Indiana moved into a third-round game on Sunday against Temple. The Owls defeated North Carolina State, 76-72, getting 31 points from guard Khalif Wyatt, the leading scorer in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Indiana freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell was dazzling, scoring 16 points with eight rebounds and six assists. Will Sheehey had 15 off the bench. Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller each scored 11 while Jordan Hulls ended a shooting slump, making a pair of three-point shots and finishing with 10 points.
"Yogi didn't look like a freshman playing his first NCAA Tournament game because he's not," IU coach Tom Crean said.
The Hoosiers got serious before the game even began. As Temple and North Carolina State finished the final three minutes of their opening game, Indiana strength and conditioning coach Je'Ney Jackson had his players run up – and back down – a steep ramp that stretches back about 50 yards from the court. Then Jackson gathered the players in a huddle for a stern pep talk.
Then the game began and Ferrell, Indiana's freshman point guard, scored IU's first nine points on three drives and a three-point shot. James Madison quickly asked for a time out.
That stopped the Hoosiers' momentum briefly, but Ferrell scored five more points to push Indiana to a 16-3 lead. And when Ferrell did not score, he made certain that Cody Zeller did. Both of Zeller's first two baskets were dunks off drive-and-dish plays by Ferrell, who was playing in his first NCAA Tournament game.
Ferrell wasn't the only Hoosier who came out firing. Indiana made five of its first nine three-point shots while surging to a 29-10 lead. Ferrell had two. Former Eastern High School guard Remy Abell had one. So did Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo.
The Hoosiers shot 57.1 percent in the first half while building a 43-22 lead. And the Hoosiers did not let up much in the second half.
Now IU will play Temple for the first time in 10 years. The Owls, a nine seed, earned several quality wins this season. Temple defeated Syracuse and also beat Saint Louis by 10. They finished tied for third in the Atlantic 10 Conference, which has had a strong NCAA Tournament.
One key factor Sunday will be the condition of Wyatt, who injured his left thumb and left the game for several minutes.
"When it first happened I thought it was worse than it really was," Wyatt said. "It was just a little jammed thumb, I guess you could call it. So [I] just wrapped it out there and tried to get back out there as quick as I could … It was sore, but it was all right."