Indiana 67, Penn State 61: a closer look at the Hoosiers' win.

Here's the box score, and here are the Big Ten standings:


Big Ten Conference Standings

(updated 1.22.2010 at 4:55 AM EST)


 

After one third of the Big Ten season, Indiana stands at 3-3, in a four way tie with Purdue, Minnesota, and Michigan.  IU's next six opponents are Iowa, @ Illinois, Purdue, @ Northwestern, Ohio State, and @ Wisconsin.  A record of better than 4-8 after the next third of the season will require a bigger upset than in any of IU's three conference wins to date.  Still, there it is, a superficially respectable record after a decent number of Big Ten games. 

How did IU win its first Big Ten road game in nearly two years?

Well, in a slow-paced game (64 possessions), IU took good care of the ball for the second consecutive game (18.7 percent).  IU held Penn State to atrocious shooting numbers (37 percent from the field, 18 percent from three) and blocked 8 shots.  Penn State's Talor Battle struggled, and other than Andrew Ott, who added 13 points, Battle had no help.  One surprising and encouraging item: the box score link above includes, and the very bottom of the page, a "first half box score."  For once, IU was consistently respectable across both halves.  IU's 44 percent shooting from the field and 71 percent from the line were nearly identical from half to half.  Free throw shooting, around 71 percent, was similar.  IU did shoot 55 percent from three point range compared to 36 percent in the first half, but that's basically a difference of one make/miss per half.  IU has 6 turnovers in the first half and 6 turnovers in the second half.  Consistency can be overrated (Penn State's consistent 60 percent free throw shooting is no accomplishment, for instance).  Still, considering IU's pattern of playing a great first half and then white-knuckling it until the end, this is some sort of progress.  IU did surrender its lead (the Hoosiers led by as many as nine before PSU caught them at 40-40 with 13:44 remaining), but IU never allowed Penn State to take the lead, and rather than clenching up as against Illinois and Minnesota, IU went on an 8-2 run and never came closer than three points.  In the last 80 minutes of regulation that IU has played, the Hoosiers have never trailed, and have led for all but 2:38. 

Who provided the key individual performances?

  • Off the bench, Devan Dumes led the Hoosiers with 15 points in 26 minutes of play, including 3-7 from behind the arc.  He was instrumental in keeping the Hoosiers' second half lead intact with some late-in-the-shotclock heroics.
  • Verdell Jones III added 14 points, a total that included a couple of key scores late in the game.
  • Christian Watford continues to improve.  He scored 11 points on 5-9 from the field and had 9 rebounds.  In the last three games, Watford has had 8, 10, and 9 rebounds.  He had eight or more rebounds in only three of IU's first 15 games.  

Now, the Hoosiers must ready for Sunday night's game against Iowa.  Iowa is bad, but the game strikes me as a bit of a trap for IU's young team.  We will see.

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