Upon Further Review - Penn State

HoosierNation.com takes a look back at Indiana's 84-74 win at Penn State, its first road win of the season. We name the game's MVP, look at what were some of the most impressive and surprising things to come out of the win, and hear what the players and coaches had to say afterwards...

Game MVP - Rod Wilmont. If it wasn't for Wilmont's 20-point, eight-rebound first half, this game likely would have been over by halftime. Wilmont knocked down six of his seven 3-pointers in the opening half, twice enabling IU to battle back from 12-point deficits. Wilmont scored half of IU's 40 first-half points and kept the Hoosiers within one at halftime, positioning his team for its second half surge that eventually produced a hard-fought road win. Wilmont finished with career-highs of 25 points and 12 rebounds, and he attempted a school-record 17 3-pointers. He also did a solid job when he was on Geary Claxton, as the Lions' leading scorer and rebounder finished with 17 points and eight rebounds.

Biggest Surprise… Indiana's ability to battle back from double-digit deficits twice on the road. Any momentum the Hoosiers had generated from back-to-back, 20-point homecourt wins was gone by the first television timeout Saturday. Penn State raced to a quick 8-2 lead in the game's first three minutes and the cushion was double digits 5 ½ minutes in. But IU managed to shoot its way back into the game twice in the opening half, overcoming deficits of 17-5 and 32-20. The Hoosiers had to wait 30 minutes to get their first lead of the game, and once they had it they never relinquished it. They are now an impressive 3-3 in games they've trailed at the half this season.

What I Found Most Impressive… Armon Bassett overcame a very poor first half to be an integral part of the Hoosiers' second half turnaround. Bassett scored three points on 1-of-5 shooting to go along with zero assists and one turnover in the first half, but bounced back with an 11-point, three-assist, zero-turnover effort in the second half. His 3-pointer from the top of the key put Indiana up for good, 58-55, with 9:20 remaining, and he hit another with the shot clock set to expire with 3 ½ minutes left that put IU on top by eight, 69-61. When the Nittany Lions began pressuring fullcourt in the closing minutes, Bassett didn't hesitate to attack the pressure and got an easy bucket for Mike White on one trip. While his 1-of-3 free-throw shooting in the closing minutes wasn't what he'd hoped for, it was impressive to see a true freshman struggle in the opening half of a game on the road, yet manage to re-group at halftime and be a big part of IU's resurgence in the final 20 minutes.

What I Found Most Concerning… If there's one thing IU has been able to hang its hat on this season its defense, but it wasn't nearly as good Saturday, particularly in the first half. Indiana created only seven Penn State turnovers, tying its season-low. Penn State shot a respectable 43.1 percent from the floor, and in the closing minutes was able to get point blank layups to stay in the game. A big part of IU's defensive struggles was the fact a handful of players landed in foul trouble early on, but Indiana will need to be much better on the defensive end if it hopes to win at some of the more hostile environments in the Big Ten. The 14 3-pointers were an aberration, and not something Coach Kelvin Sampson's team can count on to keep them in games.

Turning Point: With the game tied 55-55, D.J. White got the ball in the post and then kicked it out to Armon Bassett, who hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give IU the lead. Moments later, A.J. Ratliff added another to push the lead to six. After Geary Claxton converted a pair of free throws, Ratliff hit another 3, this time from the top of the key with the shot clock winding down to extend the margin to seven with less than eight minutes remaining. Penn State would get no closer than five the rest of the way.

Quotable: "Whether you are playing man-to-man or zone, you have to find the guys who are beating you. And I think that's been the frustrating thing for us where we've had some games this year where a guy gets going a little bit like Wilmont had it going during the first half. We never got into him, we never found him." – Penn State Coach Ed DeChellis.

"You can credit Sampson or whoever you want to credit. But they kept crashing the boards and getting second shots. It's been our Achilles' heel sometimes. They did a good job of crashing and we couldn't do anything about it." – Penn State forward Jamelle Cornley on IU's 18 offensive rebounds, which led to a 24-13 edge in second-chance points.

"Shooting a lot of threes against a zone is never a bad thing if you can shoot them. If a team zones you, usually they are taking something away, but they're also giving something up.." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

"In the zone, the more they pack it in, you're going to have to make threes. I don't mind playing against zones because we have good three-point shooters. Instead of taking four, five or six passes and trying to get the ball inside to D.J., I tell our kids if you are open, shoot it. We run some things where we set middle ball screens and get our guards into the lane, but the more you penetrate and kick it out, the more susceptible they are to offensive rebounds because they have to help out. There's also not a lot of block out assignments. They're blocking out an area versus a specific person. That was a big plan for us, play sic ‘em on the offensive boards." – IU Coach Kelvin Sampson.

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