Small crowd. Lots of turnovers, especially in the second half. Little Big Ten atmosphere. No matter, fifth ranked Indiana played through a sloppily-played second half to overwhelm Penn State 74-51 at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pennsylvania on Monday.
The Hoosiers improve to 14-1, 2-0 in the conference, with both league wins coming on the road. Penn State falls to 8-6, 0-2 in the Big Ten.
IU was never really challenged, holding Penn State to 35% shooting in the first half, and only 29% in the second half. The Hoosiers also came up with ten steals, with Player-of- the-Year candidate Cody Zeller the chief thief with four takeaways. The lone categories where IU came up short were 17 turnovers, and in the rebounding category, where the Nittany Lions held a slight 35-33 advantage.
"We had a few turnovers and missed some free throws, but the bottom line is we defended," said Hoosiers head coach Tom Crean. "These guys came in and really got after it, made defense the forefront. We're really starting to show some maturity."
Offensively, the Hoosiers shot the ball well, hitting 52% from the field and 50% on 8-of-15 three point attempts. Senior forward Christian Watford led a well-balanced IU scoring attack. Watford scored 16 points and collected 8 rebounds, Zeller contributed 15 points and 6 boards, senior guard Jordan Hulls added 14, and Victor Oladipo had ten points.
Ross Travis led Penn State with 14 points. Jermaine Marshall added 11 for the Nittany Lions.
Indiana now returns home for a two game homestand in the comfortable confines of Assembly Hall. First up is a matinee date with Minnesota on Saturday, followed by a Tuesday night visit by Wisconsin.