Yogi Ferrell, pictured above playing for Park Tudor, had 10 points and two crucial late steals to help the Indiana All-Stars fend off a pesky Kentucky All-Star squad Friday night, but the Indiana signee said he and his teammates will need to put in a better performance Saturday night to avoid an embarrassing upset at Banker's Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — After grabbing two late steals and propelling the Indiana All-Stars to a 90-85 victory against the Kentucky All-Stars, IU signee Yogi Ferrell had little positive to say about the group's performance.
It wasn't him or teammate Gary Harris, a Michigan State signee, posturing after a game that wound up being much closer than anticipated. It was genuine disappointment in a sloppy game by one of the deepest and most talented Indiana senior classes in recent history.
A team with nine high-major players and 13 Division I pledges, the Indiana All-Stars offered the group down south a porous defense to cut through time and time again, until Ferrell's crucial steals — one a self-made and-one play and the other a picked-off pass by the opponent's basket that led to a fast-break slam — put the game away. Kentucky shot 43.5 percent from the field, a number far too high in the minds of the future Big Ten guards.
"I think we definitely did let down," Ferrell said of the Indiana All-Stars, who led by 16 near the end of the first half. "They were setting screens and executing really well, and we just weren't playing defense."
Ferrell, who ran the point for most of the contest’s final minutes, had a game-high six assists to go with 10 points, but he coupled that with four turnovers.
His fellow future Hoosiers had relatively quiet games. Ron Patterson scored nine points on 3-of-7 shooting and added two assists and three rebounds. Jeremy Hollowell made only one bucket in six tries and lost the ball two times.
It wasn't much prettier for the rest of the Indiana group, which shot 34 percent in the second half and committed 14 turnovers in the contest. That Kentucky, a group with only two Division I commits, stayed as close as it did was inexcusable to the Indiana All-Stars.
To his group's credit, Harris said, Indiana was able to bounce back from its dropoff in the second half. However, Saturday's game in Indianapolis will require much more focus.
"We obviously didn't want it to be this close," said the 6-foot-4 shooting guard, who is headed to Michigan State. "We could have played a lot better."
Harris, Ferrell and the rest will roll into Bankers Life Fieldhouse with a chip on their shoulder after a frustrating, sloppy game. The Kentucky All-Stars will counter that with the confidence that their team play can help them contend with the top-tier talent that waits for them in the Circle City on Saturday night.
Kentucky Mr. Basketball Nathan Dieudonne, a Boston University signee, managed 24 points, as he burned Indiana in the paint, while teammate Tamron Manning shot 4-of-5 from 3-point range and posted 23 points of his own. Both of those threats, along with the general sloppy play noted by Indiana coach Craig Teagle, will have to be quelled in the traditional corresponding home game for his team.
"It always seemed like it went: careless turnover, and then we didn't protect the rim," Teagle said. "You give Kentucky confidence, or you give any team confidence, and all of a sudden you've got adrenaline flowing and the momentum. And they seize that."
Dieudonne said much the same, and he expects his team will keep it close again in Indianapolis and prove his team's strong showing Friday was no fluke.
"They're just basketball players, too," he said. "Obviously, we showed them we could still play with them."