Game Analysis: IU 79, Penn State 76

The Hoosiers got a win they desperately needed on Saturday in State College. Read more here.

Here is an analysis of Saturday's 79-76 win over Penn State on the road, the Hoosiers' first conference victory of the season. This analysis is a regular part of our AllHoosiers.com coverage of Indiana basketball this season.

WHAT LOOKED GOOD: The Hoosiers, down the stretch. Indiana played like a poised veteran team on Saturday and were able to earn a big win after falling behind by 15 points on the road early. They slowly chipped away at the deficit, and eventually earned the lead in the second half.

Down the stretch, Indiana put together good offensive possessions and were able to match big buckets by Penn State. Tom Crean went with some different lineups down the stretch -- he had Jeff Howard and Austin Etherington playing heavy minutes -- but it worked out. Howard made 4-of-6 free throws and pulled down three offensive rebounds, and Etherington made a huge 3-pointer from the corner that put Indiana ahead 73-72 late.

The Hoosiers also made all of their critical free throws, finishing the game 29-of-35 (83 percent) from the foul line. That was a weakness of this team earlier in the season, but the Hoosiers have quickly corrected the problems. Noah Vonleh was 7-of-8 from the line, and Yogi Ferrell was 5-of-6. Even Stanford Robinson, who normally struggles at the line, made all three of his attempts.

WHAT NEEDS TO IMPROVE: Indiana still needs to improve its careless turnover issue, but it was a little better on Saturday. The Hoosiers turned it over only 13 times, and I believe just five times after halftime. Troy Williams had three of those turnovers, but they all came during one stretch in the first half. He was much better after halftime.

You could also say the Hoosiers need to work on coming out ready to play from the start. Sure, Penn State made some difficult shots early, but the Hoosiers found themselves behind by double figures before they really started to play. That can't happen against some of the conference's better teams.

FOR STARTERS: For the first time since the Evansville game, Crean went with a different starting lineup. Sophomore Jeremy Hollowell was out of the lineup and did not play a second in the game. The reason Hollowell did not play is unknown, but I'm guessing we'll learn more when Crean addresses the media after the game.

In Hollowell's place, Crean went with Evan Gordon, who joined Yogi Ferrell, Troy Williams, Will Sheehey and Vonleh in the starting lineup.

INDIVIDUAL OBSERVATIONS: Here's a look at my own thoughts on a few Indiana players from Saturday's win over Penn State:

1. NOAH VONLEH: Vonleh was a beast, playing his best game since the 2K Classic in Madison Square Garden and perhaps his best of the season. Vonleh scored a career-high 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting and also pulled down six rebounds. He knocked down both of his 3-pointers as well, giving him five makes on 11 attempts this season. He's made four 3s in the Big Ten season thus far (two against Illinois).

Vonleh carried the Hoosiers early when everyone else struggled to make shots from the field. He scored Indiana's first 12 points.

2. YOGI FERRELL: He struggled with his shot all day, but Ferrell made some big plays when the Hoosiers absolutely needed them. He finished with 15 points on 4-of-13 shooting with seven assists to only one turnover. Ferrell buried four big free throws late as well to help hold the Nittany Lions off.

3. WILL SHEEHEY: Sheehey was scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting at halftime, but he didn't let that bother him. Sheehey was 3-of-5 from the field in the second half for nine points. He also pulled down five rebounds.

4. Stanford ROBINSON: Robinson is going to become a fan favorite at Assembly Hall. He plays hard, is crafty around the rim, and normally takes care of the ball. He had nine points off the bench on Saturday, adding four rebounds and an assist.

NEXT UP: Indiana will host No. 4 Wisconsin on Tuesday at Assembly Hall. The Badgers are unbeaten and have had the Hoosiers' number in recent history. IU will look to move to 2-2 in the Big Ten. The game will be televised by ESPN.


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