Yogi Ferrell went for 20 points and 10 assists and O.G. Anunoby chipped in with 14 points off the bench as No. 5 Indiana steam-rolled No. 12 Chattanooga, 99-74, to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013.
The Mocs kept things close through much of the first half, but a 13-4 run late in the half combined with a blistering start to the second half was too much for Matt McCall’s team to handle.
This was a promising win for the Hoosiers after the way that they flamed out in the Big Ten tournament, losing to Michigan in the quarterfinals in a decidedly uninspired performance. Chattanooga isn’t a great team — not without star guard Casey Jones — but they were built by Will Wade, a disciple of Shaka Smart, and they won games at Illinois and at Dayton this season. This wasn’t a case of the Hoosiers rolling over an overmatched and scared low-major league winner.
There are two key numbers to look at in this one:
For starters, Anunoby was once again terrific. He’s typically known for his athleticism and his presence on the defensive end of the floor, but he’s making some strides offensively. Getting 14 points out of him is a nice boost, and with the potential of squaring off with No. 4 Kentucky on Saturday, they’re going to need Anunoby to help slow down Jamal Murray and Tyler Ulis.
The other part is that Robert Johnson returned to the lineup. He’s been banged up in recent weeks, but he saw action and was quite productive, going for seven points and six assists. His presence gives the Hoosiers more depth and lineup versatility.
Again, that’s something that IU will need if they draw Kentucky next.
And as long as you’re not a Stony Brook fan, that’s precisely what you should be rooting for.
Especially now that Yogi Ferrell is trying to be Jamal Murray;