Heading into the night, the Northwestern at Purdue game appeared to be the Big Ten headliner, a pair of ranked teams trying to keep pace with the conference leaders. But it was the other game that stole the show, as Indiana and Penn State needed three overtimes to determine a winner.
Let’s recap the night’s action.
Big Ten Game of the Night:
-Indiana 110, Penn State 102 (3 OT)
The longest game in the history of Assembly Hall had a little bit of everything, but in the end, Indiana had enough to pull out a triple-overtime win over visiting Penn State.
It was a much-needed win for the Hoosiers (15-8, 5-5 Big Ten), who ended a two-game losing streak and climbed back to .500 in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions (12-11, 4-6) have dropped four of their last five games to fall back in the conference standings.
The game was intriguing throughout. Indiana’s Thomas Bryant got it going early, even pulling out a Juwan Howard-esque “Cabbage Patch” dance following a first-half 3-pointer that came minutes after finishing off an alley-oop.
Bryant led Indiana to a 46-37 halftime lead, but it was the Nittany Lions who held a 72-70 lead in the closing seconds of regulation. However, Indiana freshman big man De’Ron Davis stepped to the free-throw line with 3.9 seconds remaining and hit two free throws to send the game to overtime.
Penn State nearly put Indiana away again in the first overtime, but Josh Newkirk came up big with a buzzer-beating layup to send the game to second overtime tied at 80-80.
Penn State needed the clutch free throws in the second overtime, as Tony Carr stepped to the line and hit a pair with 4.5 seconds left to tie the game at 93-93.
There were no big shots in the third overtime period, as Newkirk made the eventual game-winning 3-pointer with 3:05 to play, then the Hoosiers pulled away with a 9-0 run to open up a 104-95 lead.
Bryant finished with a career-high 31 points on 13-of-18 shooting for Indiana. The sophomore center added 11 rebounds, two assists and one steal. Robert Johnson also had a double-double for the Hoosiers, continuing his solid season with a career-high 27 points and 11 rebounds. The junior guard, who is taking on a lead role with the injury of leading scorer James Blackmon Jr., wasn’t perfect, committing eight turnovers and shooting 1-of-5 from behind the arc. But Blackmon shot 10-of-17 from behind the 3-point line while playing a team-high 50 minutes.
While Bryant and Johnson need to score for the shorthanded Hoosiers to be successful, Indiana found another scoring option in Newkirk. The junior guard, who is averaging 7.1 points per game on the season, broke out for a career-high 27 points against Penn State, shooting 9-of-14 from the field, including 4-of-8 on 3-pointers. Freshman guard Devonte Green also stepped up with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists despite shooting 3-of-11 from the floor. Davis added 9 points, eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals off the Indiana bench.
Penn State freshman forward Lamar Stevens scored a team-high 26 points on 9-of-17 shooting, while adding eight rebounds and committing six turnovers. Carr also had a big added 23 points, 14 assists and five rebounds. Freshman forward Mike Watkins came off the Penn State bench to shoot 6-of-7 from the field and tally 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks. Shep Garner added 16 points, as Payton Banks chipped in 12 points.
The ball-handling deficient Hoosiers committed 23 turnover, but made up for it by grabbing 13 offensive rebounds and shooting 52.6 percent (41-for-78) from the floor.
Both teams struggled from the free-throw line, with Penn State shooting 58.6 percent (17-for-29) and Indiana shooting 68.8 percent (22-for-32).
Indiana reached the 100-point mark for the fifth time this season, but went over the century mark for the first time since a 103-56 win over Delaware State on Dec. 19. The Hoosiers were scoring just 57.5 points per game during their two-game losing streak.
The Nittany Lions had their most points ever in a Big Ten game, reaching the 100-point mark for the first time since notching a 104-57 win over Gardner-Webb on Dec. 19, 2009.
Penn State took Indiana to the wire in both matchups this season, as the Hoosiers also earned a 78-75 win at Penn State on Jan. 18.
-Purdue 80, Northwestern 59
There was little drama in Wednesday’s nightcap, as No. 23 Purdue jumped ahead early and never looked back in a home rout of No. 25 Northwestern. The win propelled the Boilermakers (18-5, 7-3) into a third-place tie with the Wildcats (18-5, 7-3) in the Big Ten standings.
The game got away from Northwestern midway through the first half, as Purdue went on a 12-0 run to open up a 21-10 lead, then went on to take a 45-23 lead into halftime.
The Wildcats outscored the Boilermakers 36-35 in the second half, but never really threatened in what was their most lopsided loss of the season. Northwestern’s four previous losses were all by single digits.
Caleb Swanigan broke Purdue’s single-season record with his 19th double-double of the year, collecting 24 points and 16 rebounds in another dominant effort. The sophomore forward shot 7-of-11 from the field, 2-of-4 from the 3-point line and 8-of-9 from the free-throw line.
Vince Edwards added 17 points for the Boilermakers, shooting 5-of-7 from behind the 3-point line. Dakota Mathias added 13 points, while Isaac Haas had 11 points.
Purdue’s 80 points is the most points that Northwestern has given up this season. The Boilermakers shot 48.0 percent (24-for-50) from the floor, 52.2 percent (12-for-23) from the 3-point line and 80.0 percent (20-for-25) from the free-throw line. The Boilermakers had 17 assists on 24 made field goals and outrebounded the Wildcats 41-30.
Northwestern saw its six-game winning streak come to an end, as the Wildcats were held to their fewest points since a 61-52 loss at Michigan State on Dec. 30. The Wildcats shot just 35.0 percent (21-for-60) from the field, 14.3 percent (2-for-14) on 3-pointers and 68.2 percent (15-for-22) on free throws.
Bryant McIntosh provided the bulk of the offense for Northwestern, finishing with 22 points, four rebounds and four assists. Freshman guard Isiah Brown was the only other Wildcat in double figures, scoring 11 points on 4-of-14 shooting.
The Boilermakers checked one game off the list in a difficult stretch that will see them visit No. 17 Maryland on Saturday and Indiana on Thursday, Feb. 9.
The teams will meet again when Northwestern hosts Purdue on March 5, the final regular-season game for both teams.