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.