Penn State Vs. Indiana: Nittany Lions Get 69-60 Win In Conference Opener

Penn State beats Indiana and looks forward to Michigan.

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Penn State Vs. Indiana: Lions In First Place After Win

Live it up, Nittany Nation. Your team is first in the Big Ten...for now.

Penn State came away with a 69-60 win in its conference opener against Indiana on Monday night at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. behind big efforts from a trio of seniors, and sits atop the conference standings in very early conference play.

Jeff Brooks, coming off a two point performance in Penn State's loss to Maine last week, led the way for the Nittany Lions against the Hoosiers with 23 points and eight rebounds. Talor Battle contributed 19 points, six boards and three assists while David Jackson chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds.

The three players teamed to score 57 of the Lions' 69 points and grabbed 22 of the team's 27 rebounds. Not very good for the old scoring distribution statistics, but good enough for Penn State to establish some momentum in conference play early on, contrasting with last year's 12 consecutive losses to begin the league season.

The Lions led by as many as 14 in the first half, as Jackson and Brooks both broke into double figures early on, however, as the second half wore on, the Hoosiers continued to steadily chip away at the Penn State lead, and eventually took the lead with about 11 minutes to play in the game. They led by as many as three points, but with about 2:30 left, the Lions, led by Battle, hit a few shots to take a lead and the Hoosiers were forced to foul from there, never able to recover.

For Penn State, the win keeps its flickering NCAA tournament hopes burning for now. It's one upset in what will have to be a string of them in order for the Lions to have any hopes of dancing.


Penn State Vs. Indiana First Half Notes

Penn State takes a nine point lead into the half against Indiana in the Lions conference opener at Assembly hall. Let's take a look at the important developments.

  • Jeff Brooks and David Jackson have stayed out of foul trouble. Jackson picked up his second foul late in the half, but was on the floor until the last minute or so. Given that, no surprise both guys have been important in staking Penn State to an early 34-25 lead, as both have 13 points to lead all scorers.
  • Talor Battle has six points for Penn State. The rest of the team beyond him, Jackson and Battle has a combined two points. Yay for depth.
  • In case you haven't heard already, guard Taran Buie has been suspended for a violation of team rules. We'll get your more information when it becomes available, but this is a bad development for an already thin Penn State bench.
  • Both teams are 5-10 from the perimeter. That's good news for the Penn State offense, but bad news for the defense. The Hoosiers are only averaging 38% from deep on the season, so the Nittany Lions are once again allowing a team to shoot well above it's regular percentage from 3-point territory.
  • Surprisingly, Penn State got out rebounded on both ends in the half and still managed to take a comfortable lead into the locker room.
  • Penn State held Indiana's leading scorer, Christian Watford, to just one point in the half. Watford is averaging 18 per game, so that's good news for the interior defense. It's also surprising as Penn State has been playing a lot of 3-2 zone which favors interior post players.

Penn State Vs. Indiana: Lions Open Conference Play With Hoosiers

Coming off a crushing loss to Maine at home last week, Penn State will look to snap a two-game losing streak when it opens Big Ten play against Indiana tonight at 6:30 in Bloomington against the Hoosiers on the Big Ten Network.

Indiana is 9-4 so far this season, but 0-4 against top-100 teams, according to Ken Pomeroy, and 2-4 against top-200 teams. The Hoosiers only have two players, forward Christian Watford and guard Verdell Jones III, averaging double-figure scoring, though they do have six players who average more than seven points per game.

At 7-4, Penn State needs to take advantage of what looks to be a vulnerable opponent if it wants to have any postseason hopes whatsoever. A win in this game would keep the Lions alive for another day. A loss with a much more difficult Big Ten schedule ahead would be very damaging.

The Lions are likely hoping to keep forward Jeff Brooks on the floor in this game. With him safely out of foul trouble, Penn State has dropped only one game this season, a road loss at Mississippi. With him in foul trouble, Penn State has gotten blown out three times against Maryland, Virginia Tech and Maine.

Penn State will also be looking for some contributions off the bench. Sixth and seventh guys Billy Oliver and Taran Buie have had some good moments in the early going, but they've also tended to disappear on offense at times and take bad shots. Look for them to stay within the offense a little bit more as things tighten up in league play.

One final note, Talor Battle is expected to play in this game after injuring his hand against Maine. The senior guard was x-rayed following the game, but they came back negative and he should be good to go this evening.

For more on this game, check out Black Shoe Diaries.

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