By Andy Proffet
CNHI News Service
DAYTON, Ohio —
Leave it to the kid to lead the Hoosiers.
Yogi Ferrell scored the game’s first nine points and finished with 16 points and a career high-tying eight rebounds as Indiana routed James Madison 83-62 on Friday in the NCAA Tournament’s second round.
The Hoosiers’ lone freshman starter, Ferrell was flawless from the field in the first half of his first tournament game, hitting all six of his shots in the first half for 14 of IU’s 43 first-half points.
“It was a lot of fun,” Ferrell said of his hot start. “I was able to pick my spots, I felt like I was in a groove.
“If I couldn’t get a score, I was going to try to hit someone else.”
Indeed, when Cody Zeller became the first Hoosier other than Ferrell to score, his dunk came off an assist from Ferrell.
“That’s what a point guard’s supposed to do,” said Maurice Creek, Indiana’s redshirt junior who also played in his first NCAA Tournament game. “He’s supposed to contribute for himself and contribute for others, and he got layups, wide-open 3s, knocked them down, and he got other people wide-open shots. That’s what great point guards do.”
Ferrell finished with six assists and one turnover for IU (28-6), which was never threatened with being the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed.
“We know that anything can happen in the NCAA Tournament,” Ferrell said. “We’ve already seen some pretty crazy things happen. So going into this game, we were not going to take this team lightly.”
The Dukes didn’t take Ferrell lightly; they just didn’t realize how fast he was on the court.
“Until you’re on the court with them, my guys couldn’t really catch up to the speed of the game, and I thought we did a better job in the second half,” JMU coach Matt Brady said.
“The speed that they play is unbelievable,” Dukes guard Devon Moore said. “It was definitely hard at the beginning of the game, facing that type of speed because we’ve actually never seen anything like that.”
Ferrell himself had 14 points in the game’s first 5:26.
The Dukes (21-15) didn’t score their 14th point until there was 5:42 left in the first half.
“They ran faster than any team we ever played,” JMU’s Andre Nation said. “They threw the first punch, and then they threw another punch, and they kept throwing them, and we weren’t throwing any back.”
Nation’s layup off an Indiana turnover to start the second half cut the Dukes’ deficit to 43-24, but Christian Watford hit 1 of 2 free throws to put IU back in front by 20, and James Madison wouldn’t get any closer the rest of the way.
“That’s what you want to do every game, jump out on teams, let them know that you’re there all night,” Will Sheehey said. “I think they were a little shocked to see it’s a different league than what they’ve been playing in.”
Five Hoosiers scored in double figures, with Sheehey (15), Zeller (11), Victor Oladipo (11) and Jordan Hulls (10) joining Ferrell. Watford had nine points as the Hoosiers shot 29-of-55 (52.7 percent) from the field.
Nation scored 24 points to lead the Dukes. Charles Cooked added 18 points.
The Hoosiers will face No. 9 seed Temple in Sunday’s third round. The Owls (24-9) led by as many as 18 points in the second half against North Carolina State, but had to hold off a Wolfpack comeback to win 76-72.
Khalif Wyatt led the Owls with 31 points, clinching the victory with two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining after Lorenzo Brown’s jumper brought the Wolfpack within 74-72.
“My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball, and they trusted me to make two shots at the end,” Wyatt said. “The N.C. State guys were talking a little bit. So I just had to block it out and come through for my teammates.”
Jake O’Brien added 18 points and Rahir Hollis-Jefferson scored 12 for the Owls, whose shooting cooled off in the second half against N.C. State. After shooting 16-of-30 in the first half to build a 38-22 halftime lead, the Owls were just 8-of-20 in the second half.
But Temple made 20-of-31 free throws after halftime to secure the victory.