Indiana basketball pulled out a 64-62 win on the road Tuesday night at Penn State.
In a game where the Hoosiers led by as many as 13 points in the second half, the Hoosiers found a way to win on the road and are now 2-0 in conference play. Here are our three takeaways from the game.
Hoosiers Win Ugly
Entering Tuesday night, Indiana fans had a feeling this road game at Penn State would be a challenge. Over the last seven meetings between the two schools, the largest margin of victory was eight points in a triple overtime Indiana win back in 2017. Tuesday was no different at the Bryce Jordan Center.
As Indiana found themselves up 15 with 13 minutes to play in the game, that lead slowly faded. The Hoosiers didn’t make a field goal in the final 3:58 of the game and were outscored 10-1 in that span. Luckily for IU, Penn State was a dreadful 11-26 from the free throw line as that allowed Indiana to stay in the game and ultimately win.
Phinisee Steady In The Backcourt
While Romeo Langford breezed through the first half with 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting, the Penn State defense slowed his roll in the second half. Langford was held to just two points on three shot attempts in the final 20 minutes, but his freshman counterpart Robert Phinisee played big.
After coming off two dismal performances against Duke and Northwestern where the freshman point guard accounted for more turnovers (6) than points (5) and assists (3), Phinisee shined bright in his first Big Ten road game.
Stepped up when it mattered most!
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) December 5, 2018
The Lafayette, Ind. native was held scoreless for the first 19:58 of the game, but a layup at the end of the first half sparked a 12-point night on 4-of-9 shooting. More importantly, he finished with five assists; five rebounds and only had one turnover.
“Really just being aggressive,” Phinisee said. “Coach wanted me to get downhill and get to the basket to open up things and I just made plays.”
Phinisee was solid defensively, as well, all game and that showed especially on the game’s final possession. The freshman point guard didn’t allow Penn State’s leading scorer Lamar Stevens to get a shot attempt off on an inbounds play with two seconds to play as Indiana secured the road win.
“Coach actually drew the play up so we knew what was coming,” Phinisee said about the final inbounds play. “Justin got held up on the screen, we just switched it and I made a play on the ball.”
This game came down to the final possession, and @IndianaMBB clamped down to improve to 2-0 in B1G play.
Indiana 64, Penn State 62, pic.twitter.com/nP7SdbVWVu
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 5, 2018
Turnovers Almost Cost Indiana Late
It looked as if the turnover bug was starting to go away for Indiana, but in the second half, it returned for the Hoosiers.
After the Hoosiers only turned the ball over twice in the final 15 minutes against Northwestern and had just five turnovers in the first half tonight, Penn State’s defense caused problems in the second part of the game.
IU committed 16 turnovers on the night with 11 coming in the second half. Phinisee was able to stay steady with just one on Tuesday, but every Hoosier that played, other than Evan Fitzner, turned the ball over at least once.
Penn State cashed in for 16 points off Indiana’s turnovers tonight as Devonte Green had four to lead the Hoosiers and Justin Smith had three. If Penn State would have at least been 50-percent from the free throw line in the game, the late turnovers would have cost the Hoosiers.