(Photo Credit: IndianaHQ)
BLOOMINGTON, IN — Indiana defeats the Northwestern Wildcats 68-66 after a thriller in Bloomington. Romeo Langford led Indiana with a team-high 20 points in his 36 minutes of action. The freshman tagged up another 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.
In a defensive first half, the Wildcats kept up competitively with Indiana as the teams traded bucket for bucket. Indiana and Northwestern both turned the ball over 9 times in the first half, but would clean up their acts with only 2 turnovers in the second half for Northwestern and 3 for IU.
The battle of the bigs between Dererk Pardon and Juwan Morgan resulted in a combined 22 points between the two in the first half. Pardon scored 12 with his 5 of 5 FGs and collected 4 boards. Juwan produced 10 points and pulled down 6 rebounds.
No different was the second half of the contest. Pardon finished the game with 24 points, 4 off from his season high. Juwan finished the game with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Back and forth. Back and forth. Both teams milking each possession and using up as much shot clock as possible. Choosing to slow down the pace, Archie Miller and Chris Collins navigated the game like a chess board, possession by possession.
The officials in this game also did not want to go home for the afternoon, calling a total of 36 fouls. Fans in Assembly Hall were unhappy with the five offensive fouls called on Indiana on ball screens.
The biggest news came at the end of the game as Indiana senior forward Juwan Morgan came off gingerly on a play going into a timeout. Indiana trainers attended to his right leg at the break and had to help him off the court. With 3:30 left to play in the game, the team looked to Romeo Langford to lead the team after the break.
Romeo just did that. He scored on the very next play on a nicely executed high screen action drawn up by Archie. Romeo would later have a great defensive play, deflecting a ball out of bounds that hit Vic Law before leaving the court. Indiana took possession of the ball with 32.2 seconds left in the game. The next possession led to an wide open Justin Smith that laid in an easy bunny.
Cold-blooded Vic Law drained a prayer from 30+ feet out to keep the Wildcats within 1. Phinisee was immediately fouled on the next possession. He missed the first and hit the second. Northwestern heaves a half court shot. No good. Indiana wins and moves to 1-0 in the Big Ten.
(Source: IU Athletics)
Indiana hits the road to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions on Tuesday, December 4th. This will be the team’s first conference road game and will match up against a Top 40 Penn State team according to Kenpom rankings. The Hoosiers look to get their first away game win of the season, after losing to Arkansas and Duke at their respective homes.
Additionally, the game in State College, PA may have more importance for tournament selection, given that there is a chance of a road win against teams ranked between 1-75 counting as a Quadrant 1 win. Penn State was ranked 75 in the first debut of the NET rating.