The Hoosiers haven't played a complete game in Big Ten play to date, but who can complain about 5-0? Had the Hoosiers won the first half by 13 and the second half by three, there probably would be little consternation about this game, but the final score doesn't reflect the reality that this was a tightly contested game for the first 29 minutes or so.
In examining the box score, I was surprised that Penn State shot only 46 percent in the first half. The Lions were 6-8 from three point range, accounting for more than half of PSU's 34 first half points. IU shot very well throughout the game, but didn't play effective defense in the first half. The pace of this game was 63 possessions per side according to Pomeroy. While Penn State isn't a defensive powerhouse, it's worth noting that one game after turnovers on over 35 percent of their possession, the Hoosiers took much better care of the ball. IU turned the ball over only 10 times, and the 15.8 turnover percentage is IU's third-lowest of the season. Certainly, that says something positive about Sampson and his staff. Eric Gordon, after turning the ball over 7 times at the Barn, did so only once against Penn State.
As I noted in the preview, Penn State is an excellent rebounding team. The Lions entered the game with an offensive rebounding percentage of 39.1 and allowing an ORP of only 30.2. While IU's offensive rebounding was poor (26 percent), the Hoosiers were much more effective on the defensive end, limiting Penn State to 25.4, well below it season average. In the Minnesota wrap-up, I noted IU's absurdly high assist percentage in that game (18/22, compared to about 53 percent on the season). IU again exceeded its average on Sunday, with 18/29 (62 percent).
- When Jamarcus Ellis shoots well, it just isn't fair, given how well he does everything else. The only blemish on Ellis's line is 3 turnovers. Otherwise, he scored 12 points on 5-6 from the field, had 8 assists, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals.
- Eric Gordon was his efficient self, with 25 points on 17 shots. Uncharacteristically, Gordon shot only 4 free throws (third lowest total of the season), but made up for it with 5-11 from three point range.
- DJ White scored 22 points on 8-11 from the field. He had only 7 rebounds, so the double-double streak did not continue, and had three turnovers, but DJ turned in another solid performance.
- Armon Bassett scored 17 points on 8 shots, including 5-6 from three point range.
- Lance Stemler continues to shoot well. Stemler took only one shot but made it from three point range, and added 5 rebounds and no turnovers in 28 minutes.
- AJ Ratliff still hasn't rediscovered his shot. Ratliff was 0-2 from three point range, dragging his season average down to 20 percent. Ratliff shot 41 percent from behind the arc last season and 44 percent as a freshman (but only 31 percent as a sophomore). Hopefully AJ will be back soon, particularly in time for Wisconsin. Ratliff's return to offensive efficiency will be a key storyline of the Big Ten season. Eric Gordon has sometimes found himself in foul trouble. At his best, Ratliff can replace a significant portion of Gordon's offense if Gordon finds himself on the bench.