The Indiana Hoosiers picked up a nice road win on Tuesday night over Penn State as they hung on 64-62 behind 17 points from Romeo Langford.
It was not a particularly pretty game of basketball, especially offensively, but Indiana held Penn State to 37 percent shooting and 23 percent shooting from three-point land.
The Hoosiers controlled most of the second half, leading by as much as 14, but Penn State used a 10-1 run over the final 3:58 to give themselves a chance for the victory. A final possession that seemed doomed from the start ended a chance for overtime or a game-winner.
Now let’s take a look at what we can take away from Indiana’s victory.
What We Learned:
1. Indiana’s Freshmen Can Win Big Ten Road Games
With the health of Jawun Morgan somewhat in question, Indiana turned to its fantastic freshmen class to deliver on the road.
And they did.
Langford scored 15 of his 17 points in the first half and served pretty much as Indiana’s offense for the first 20 minutes. His final line was 17 points on 6-13 shooting along with six assists.
In the second half, Indiana turned to point guard Robert Phinisee for some offensive production. Phinisee ended up with his first double-digit scoring effort since November 14th scoring 12 points, passing out five assists and grabbing five rebounds.
I should mention that Morgan did play and ended up scoring 10 points in 26 minutes, but the story of Indiana’s freshmen closing out a road victory in Big Ten play should be encouraging for the Hoosiers moving forward.
2. Rasir Bolton Continues To Emerge For Penn State
Indiana was not alone in impressive freshmen play as Penn State had another great game from Rasir Bolton.
The 6-foot-2 guard scored 17 points on 6-14 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. It continues a solid four-game stretch in which Bolton has averaged over 13 points a game.
More heartening to Penn State fans is the manner in which Bolton got his 17. The Nittany Lions were down by 11 with just under four minutes to go, and Bolton almost single-handedly brought them back. He scored nine of Penn State’s 10 points to give the Nittany Lions a chance at a tie or win. His fearless and confident play is a solid complement to Lamar Stevens bruising play inside the arc.
3. A Tale Of Two Teams In Close Games
A look at Indiana and Penn State’s seasons gives an insight into the razor-thin margin between wins and losses in college basketball.
The Hoosiers have won their first two Big Ten games by a combined four points, and have to be feeling good through this initial two-game conference stretch. Indiana now sits at 7-2 overall, and some of these early wins could come back to pay dividends in March.
On the other hand, Penn State is 4-4 overall and has three losses by a combined seven points. Both Big Ten losses have come by margins less than eight, and the Nittany Lions feel like they may have some soul searching to do to close out some of these close games.
Both teams return to non-conference play as the Nittany Lions take on Colgate from Happy Valley, and Indiana plays Louisville from Bloomington.