NEW YORK (AP) — Indiana’s young team has already figured one thing out: Go get those rebounds.
The Hoosiers continued their remarkable early season rebounding, grabbing 50 to Washington’s 29 in a 102-84 victory Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
“We always want to establish attacking the rim,” said sophomore guard Yogi Ferrell, who had 20 points and five assists as the leader of this young team.
This was the first road game for the freshmen and they responded well.
Troy Williams had 22 points and eight rebounds, and Noah Vonleh had 18 points and nine rebounds at Madison Square Garden.
“I was a little surprised at how poised they were in our first road game in one of the most hectic places in the world,” said senior Will Sheehy, who had 16 points and five assists. “I was really proud of them.”
The Hoosiers (5-0) will play No. 18 Connecticut (5-0) for the championship on Friday night.
“The bottom line will not be about the physical part of it but to get better mentally in a short time,” Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said. “They’ve really got to talk basketball to get ready.”
Indiana, which came into the game outrebounding opponents 52.2-33.5, had nearly as many offensive rebounds (20) as the Huskies had total rebounds.
C.J. Wilcox led Washington (2-2) with 23 points, Andrew Andrews added 15 and Perris Blackwell had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“We don’t have five guys going to the basket every time,” Wilcox said. “They had everybody going every time and we struggled blocking them out a lot.”
Indiana led 50-37 at halftime and started the second half on an 8-3 run with Ferrell scoring the last five points.
Washington closed to 63-53 on a layup by Nigel Williams-Goss with 12:40 to play. Indiana opened it up from there, dominating inside, and led by as many as 22 points.
Washington had one last flurry to pull to 90-79 with 3:21 left, but that was as close as the Huskies got.
“We knew Indiana was a really good offensive rebounding team, but what they did decided the game on the boards,” Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Vonleh and Williams established themselves tonight. That’s tough to overcome if a team does that to you on the offensive boards.”
This was the first meeting between the schools since Dec. 27, 1978, a 71-67 Indiana victory. The Hoosiers lead the series 3-1.
The loss was the sixth straight in Madison Square Garden for the Huskies. Their lone win was in their first appearance on Dec. 30, 1941, 42-38 over NYU.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.