And a quick look at the final score — Hoosiers 81, Nittany Lions 65 — suggests Ed DeChellis' team did in fact have its hands full against a team that had won 27 in a row at home going in.
But the game did not unfold quite the way most expected. Penn State actually played some of its best ball of the season through the first 30 minutes, trailing by a bucket (56-54) entering the final 10 minutes.
But then IU got hot, using a 25-6 run to blow it open. And the Lions went cold, missing 12 of their final 18 shots as they were promptly run out of the building.
I thought we played very smart and very good basketball or 31 or 32 minutes, DeChellis said on his post-game radio show. When things started to get sideways, we just couldn't score to put the fire out.
If there was a turning point in the game, it may have happened with just over 15 minutes remaining. The Lions were up 44-41 and Battle made a strong baseline drive. He kicked out to veteran guard Danny Morrissey, who was alone on the arc, but Morrissey's shot drew all iron.
The Hoosiers transitioned smoothly down the floor, and Armon Bassett found himself with essentially the same open look Morrissey had at the other end. He buried it to the tie the score, 44-44.
That the score was knotted was not necessarily a big deal. The Lions kept it tight for the next five minutes. That PSU blew a chance to take a six-point lead, and instead saw IU make a shot that got the home crowd back in the game, was important.
In improving to 16-1 overall and 5-0 in the Big Ten, the Hoosiers received typically strong performances from freshman guard Eric Gordon (25 point) and senior center D.J. White (22 points). But they also got 17 points from Bassett (5 of 6 from the arc) and a dozen points and eight assists from guard Jamarcus Ellis.
Penn State, meanwhile, was a two-man show in falling to 10-7 (2-3) with its third-straight loss. Battle scored 20 points while Cornley had 19 and seven rebounds, but no other Lion reached doubles.
Penn State's new starting lineup saw rookie Jeff Brooks replace Claxton at small forward and redshirt freshman David Jackson getting the nod at center. The duo combined to shoot 3 of 10 from the floor and grab five rebounds.
The Lions are now starting three players with freshman eligibility. The other rookie is Battle.
PSU has never beaten Indiana in Bloomington, a streak that now covers 15 games.
Penn State plays host to Purdue Wednesday. The game tips at 7 p.m. and will be carried by the Big Ten Network.