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Rapid Reaction: Indiana holds off Northwestern for first Big Ten win, 68-66

It took late game heroics, but Indiana earned its first Big Ten win of the season, holding off Northwestern, 68-66.

Any Big Ten win is important and this could be a crucial victory for the Hoosiers come March.

Now to the three takeaways.

Carrying the load

It was once again Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford leading the way for Indiana. Both were fairly efficient from the field and hit big buckets when IU needed them. When Morgan exited with 3:30 left to play, he had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Morgan finished eight-of-13 from the field. As for Langford, he had a nice bounce back game after a rough night at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Tuesday. He finished with 20 points on eight-of-13 shooting.

These two carrying the load is becoming a familiar sight for the Hoosiers. It isn’t surprising, but especially when Morgan leaves the game, it would be nice for Indiana to have a third scorer to turn to when a bucket is needed.

Losing Juwan Morgan?

At the under-four media timeout, Juwan Morgan was down on the ground being tended to by the Indiana training staff. For a team that has already been very hurt this season, losing Morgan would be an even bigger loss for the Hoosiers moving forward. Because he stayed out of foul trouble Saturday, he was able to be a much bigger part of what Indiana wanted to do.

Immediately after the game, it is unsure how severe the injury to Morgan is. The Hoosiers would have to rely much more on a guy like De’Ron Davis should Morgan be forced to miss time. That could be an issue for the Hoosiers as Davis is still getting back to full fitness after tearing his Achilles last season.

Late game execution

This was the second time this season where Indiana was tested all the way down to the final buzzer. The Hoosiers didn’t past their first test at Arkansas, losing 73-72, and Langford’s bucket with 40 seconds left was big. Without Morgan on the floor, Langford stepped up as the go-to scorer for the Hoosiers, and he delivered.

When Indiana needed a stop, down the stretch, they got one. Langford deflected a pass that then hit Northwestern’s Vic Law on the way out of bounds with 32.2 seconds left. Then it was Rob Phinisee finding Justin Smith for a dunk to put IU up four. Then it was Phinisee to put the game on ice with a free throw. It was a hard earned win, but a Big Ten win is a Big Ten win.

Josh Eastern

I am a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: jeastern@thehoosiernetwork.com. Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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