Bloomington, Ind. — Indiana coach Tom Crean has simplified his game plan.
He expects the Hoosiers to move the ball, move without the ball and play with confidence.
The combination is working perfectly. On Saturday, Yogi Ferrell scored 17 points, had six more assists and led No. 25 Indiana to an 89-57 blowout over Northwestern, the Hoosiers’ 12th consecutive victory.
“The more simple we can make our passing and the more active we can be in our cutting, the better we are. And we’re moving the ball, there’s no question about that.” Crean said. “Really the last week, we’ve done a good job of being on time, on target and that’s so crucial.”
There’s little to quibble with right now.
The Hoosiers (17-3) are off to their first 7-0 Big Ten start since 1992-93. They’ve won consecutive conference games by more than 20 points for the first time since January 2007.
Indiana has matched its longest winning streak since Crean’s arrival in 2008 and is one win from matching the school’s longest winning streak since Bob Knight was fired in 2000.
Players are having fun with it, too.
During a pregame ceremony to honor Ferrell as the school’s new career assists leader, the senior guard smiled. He smiled again when he got knocked to the court during the game and was even laughing during the postgame news conference.
“He (Ferrell) gets a pretty good amount of assists, I don’t know if you’ve heard,” Max Bielfeldt joked after scoring 13 points and grabbing four rebounds.
The Wildcats (15-6, 3-5) found out it’s a major pain to play these suddenly hot Hoosiers.
Alex Olah scored 19 points and Tre Demps added 17, not nearly enough to prevent a third straight loss.
“They have a lot of guys who can put pressure on you with their driving ability and everyone can shoot,” coach Chris Collins said. “I mean they’ve made 32 3s in the last two games. It’s incredible shooting.”
That was far too much for Northwestern.
Indiana scored the first 10 points, used an 11-0 run late in the first half to extend the lead to 41-22 and after the Hoosiers opened the second half by scoring the first six points, they led 49-26.
Northwestern never led, couldn’t get closer than four points in the first half or 18 in the second half.
Illinois 76, (at) Minnesota 71, OT: Malcolm Hill had 28 points and 10 rebounds to lead a late surge by Illinoist, ending an eight-game losing streak on the road for the Fighting Illini. Maverick Morgan added 14 points, Kendrick Nunn scored 13 and Michael Finke grabbed 16 rebounds for the Illini (10-10, 2-5 Big Ten), who used a 16-0 run that started with 2:03 left in regulation to take over the game.
Joey King had 20 points and Nate Mason added 19 points for the Golden Gophers (6-14, 0-8), who lost their ninth straight. They tied a program record with 36 attempts from 3-point range, making 11.
Jordan Murphy, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds, made a layup with 4:03 left to give the Gophers a 59-55 lead.