Yes, it was ugly. Yes, Penn State gave it away at the free throw line. No, it doesn’t matter. Indiana got its first road win of the year. You take conference road wins any way you can get them.
Indiana moves to 7-2 overall on the season and gets off to an important 2-0 start in Big Ten play. With a home game against Illinois waiting when conference play resumes later this month, IU has a strong chance at a 3-0 start.
Each team looked as though they might run away with the game. Penn State got off to a 9-0 lead and IU missed 10 of its first 11 shots. Indiana would lead by as much as 14 in the second half. But as Pat Chambers teams always seem to do, the Nittany Lions chipped away at the lead and had a chance to tie or take the lead on the game’s final possession.
Indiana hosts Louisville at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
THREE KEYS TO THE GAME.
1. Romeo Langford takes it to another level in 1st half. After the Northwestern game all the buzz revolved around Langford’s late game heroics. But the 1st half against Penn State was different. Playing against one of the best defenders in the Big Ten, Langford was special. When his perimeter shot is going down, he is virtually unstoppable. Penn State clamped down in the second half, but Langford’s 15 points in the first segment gave IU some early separation, and for the first time this year, he looked like a top 10 NBA Draft pick. Much like the Arkansas game, Langford did not appear to be phased by playing on the road.
2. Durham and Phinisee have a big night on the road. A major key to winning on the road is good guard play. That is especially true against a team like Penn State that applies a lot of defensive pressure. Al Durham and Rob Phinisee, a sophomore and freshman respectively, were exceptional. Combined they had 24 points, 7 assists and 2 turnovers. Each had big moments down the stretch to lead the Hoosiers to victory.
3. Lamar Stevens held in check. Stevens came into the game averaging more than 22 points per game. Several different Hoosiers drew the assignment, but it was Justin Smith that did the bulk of the work here. Smith struggled mightily on offense, but he led the effort on Stevens as the Hoosiers effectively made other people beat them.
FINAL BOX SCORE
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