IU drops Big Ten opener
RIVERS ON DEFENSE â€” IU guard Jeremiah Rivers (right) moves in position to cut off an opponent in a recent game. IU fell to Penn State Monday in the Big Ten opener. (DDD Photo by Les Conrad)
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Jeff Brooks had a career-high 23 points and Talor Battle added 19 to help Penn State hold off Indiana 69-60 on Monday night.
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The Nittany Lions (8-4, 1-0 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak with their second straight win at Assembly Hall — a venue where they had lost 15 straight before finally winning a game two years ago. The two teams met only once last season, in State College, Pa.
Indiana (9-5, 0-1) has lost three straight and saw its nine-game home winning streak end. Verdell Jones had 15 points and freshman Victor Oladipo scored 14 points in his first career start.
Penn State, the worst shooting team in the Big Ten coming into the game, started 7 of 10 from the field. The Nittany Lions used four straight 3-pointers in a 12-3 run and followed that with nine straight points to take a 25-11 lead midway through the first half. Penn State led by as much as 30-16 before Indiana finally started to rally.
Oladipo made 1 of 2 free throws, Jones hit a 3 and Jeremiah Rivers scored on a putback to get the sluggish Hoosiers within 30-22.
It was the first real burst of energy for Indiana — but not the last.
After trailing 34-25 at halftime, and the Hoosiers charged back quickly in the second half.
Jones made a 3 to trim the lead to 35-30, and Jordan Hulls hit another 3 with 16:58 to go to make it 39-36. Rivers’ layup with 12:43 left got Indiana within 45-42, and then Maurice Creek finally got started.
Creek’s leaning 2-footer made it 45-44, his 17-footer cut the deficit to one and then he drove the baseline for a layup to give Indiana a 48-47 lead with 8:46 to go. It was Indiana’s first lead since 5-2.
Brooks, who pestered Indiana all night, followed that flurry with back-to-back baskets, and the Nittany Lions never trailed again.
Indiana did get within 53-52 with 4:04 to go when Jones made 1-of-2 free throws and had a chance to regain the lead but Jones missed a long jumper inside of three minutes.
Penn State answered with a 9-2 run that made it 62-54 to seal the outcome.
David Jackson had 15 points and eight rebounds for Penn State, while Hulls had 13 points for Indiana.
Hoosiers forward Christian Watford finished with three points — failing to reach double figures for the first time this season.