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Top-ranked Indiana passes first real test with overtime win over Georgetown

The most relieved player in the Barclay’s Center after top-ranked Indiana’s 82-72 victory over Georgetown was the freshman point guard whose ill-timed missed free throws put the Hoosiers in jeopardy of their first loss.

Yogi Ferrell clanked two huge foul shots against Georgetown in the final 46 seconds, helping the Hoyas scrape back from a seven-point deficit to force overtime on a driving basket from Otto Porter late in regulation. The Hoosiers regrouped and responded in overtime, surviving thanks in part to seven points from Ferrell in overtime including a game-clinching off-balance 3-pointer.

Indiana’s impressive showing in overtime enabled the Hoosiers to win the Legend’s Classic and survive their first true test. Georgetown entered the season unranked after losing three of its four top scorers from last season, but the soon-to-be-top 25 Hoyas appear formidable again thanks to a patient offense led by breakout star Otto Porter and a perimeter-heavy supporting cast.

On Monday night, Georgetown ruined a potential UCLA-Indiana title game by thoroughly outplaying a Bruins team that looked out of sync against a zone and is still adjusting to having Shabazz Muhammad in the lineup. The Hoyas threatened to topple the Hoosiers as well on Tuesday, answering each Indiana punch and throwing a few blows of their own thanks to 20 points from guard Markel Starks, 15 from Porter and 12 and 11 apiece from Greg Whittington and Mikael Hopkins.

Where Indiana won the game was with its offensive balance, something we may say often this season.

Cody Zeller bounced back from a foul-plagued subpar performance against Georgia with a solid 17-point, eight-rebound effort, but the national player of the year candidate was more mortal than superhuman during this tournament. He got help from the shooting and steady play of Jordan Hulls (17 points), the outside shooting of Remy Abell (two big threes) and the ability of Ferrell to get to the foul line (14 points, 9 of 11 on free throws).

Indiana shot 46.9 percent from the floor, sank 10 of 17 3-pointers and returned to Bloomington 5-0 on the season and 1-0 against worthy challengers. It wasn’t a dominant 48 hours from the nation’s top-ranked team, but the Hoosiers showed enough growth to walk away satisfied.

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