The Minute After: Penn State

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Thoughts on a 72-49 win over the Nittany Lions:

I. When Indiana is making 3-pointers like it did on Wednesday night, few teams in the country, if any, are beating the Hoosiers. Especially at Assembly Hall. After connecting on 5-of-12 attempts from distance in the first half, Indiana came out firing on all cylinders in the second half. The Hoosiers hit their first six 3-point attempts and hit eight in a row in total if you go back to the first half.

The perimeter barrage came from a variety of sources. Will Sheehey was back in mid-season form. The junior from Stuart, Fla., led IU with eight first-half points. And after his first few looks went in, Sheehey looked like the guy capable of carrying this team in stretches with his scoring and energy off the bench.

Yogi Ferrell knocked in a few in what was perhaps his best shooting display this season. He finished with a career-high 15 points. Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls were on target, too. Oladipo’s improved perimeter game continues to blossom and he’s now shooting 55.1 percent on threes this season. He finished with a game-high 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.

II. The defense was another storyline worth noting. Penn State, fresh off of totals of 71 in a loss to Michigan State and 64 in a loss to Nebraska, could only muster up 49 points against a defense that was ranked in the top 20 nationally in terms of efficiency entering the game. As the Big Ten schedule moves along and the Hoosiers enter a brutal stretch of games in February, defense is going to have to be the calling card, particularly on the road.

In total, the Nittany Lions shot 17-of-50 from the field and Indiana never really allowed them to establish any flow or momentum. After an 8-of-27 first-half shooting performance by Penn State, the Hoosiers kept the intensity dialed up for the second half and finished the game strong, which hasn’t always been the case in recent games. With a major battle looming Sunday at Assembly Hall with the Spartans, it was important for Indiana to put together a solid 40 minutes. For the most part, that happened.

III. Other observations:

· The bench: A better night overall than we’ve seen of late for Indiana’s bench. Maurice Creek returned from a foot injury and while he didn’t contribute much offensively, he’s back and could give this team a lift as a spot up shooter. Hanner Mosquera-Perea had an impressive first-half block, but is still a work in progress in the halfcourt game. Still no Derek Elston, who again sat out with a nagging knee injury. Sheehey, who we already mentioned, put together a performance that IU fans grew accustomed to seeing during the non-conference portion of the schedule. Remy Abell, however, continues to struggle and finished with two points and three turnovers.

· Guests inside the hall: Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, the mother and father of Tom Crean’s wife Joani, Ravens coach John Harbaugh and 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh were in attendance, as was former St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa. Also in the house: A pair of 2014 recruiting targets in Park Tudor wing Trevon Bluiett and JaQuan Lyle.

  • twarrior87

    I just assumed CTC was trying to get Perea minutes in a game where we didn’t need Zeller to win.

  • twarrior87

    I thought it made sense to not have our starters in for long stretches of time. Guys like HMP, Hollowell, Creek, Remy, need to get extra minutes where they can and this was a game where we were able to give them minutes and still dominate. We could have won this game by 40 if they played the starters longer, but I would rather these other guys get minutes where they can b/c we may need their depth down the road.

  • twarrior87

    Not sure you can say Yogi will never be a dead eye shooter… he’s only a freshman and has nailed some big time shots already this year. He shot very well last night. He’s got some years to improve, if he has half the work ethic of Oladipo I think he can be a great shooter. Look what Vic did in one off season. I used to cringe when he would take a 3pt shot, now I pretty much expect it to go in as he’s shooting 50%+ from behind the arc this year.

  • DeeLyle

    Yeah, you’re right. I thought a small amount of playing time was permissible, but even 1 minute counts as a full season.

  • DeeLyle

    Just realized Jurkin has played a total of 7 minutes this year, which makes him ineligible for a redshirt.

  • Ole Man

    ROFL! Thank you….

  • AJ_IU_ColtsFan

    Well, don’t read too much into a throwaway line. What I meant was that his history in high school showed that his role tended to be less a Steve Alford type of shooter and more a drive and dish ball distributor. That’s really all I meant, that his natural game was to concentrate on feeding and enabling his teammates, not to haunt the perimeter and threaten to break out and bury you with threes.

    I’m sure he can improve. In fact, I’d say that he’d better improve, since the college game is that different a level from high school.

    And really, I don’t care if I end up being proven wrong in that statement. If he eventually becomes more than an occasional outside threat, that does nothing but help the team. A PG who can bury you if you play off him is an asset, and I sure as hell wouldn’t complain if he suddenly turned into the second coming of Reggie Miller from behind the arc (yes, I know Reggie and Steve Alford were shooting guards, not PGs. I’m just trying to make a comparison of shooters, not positions). Any shooting skills he improves will do nothing but good for the team.

  • marcusgresham

    Some day before I die I want to utter that very same phrase, but I want to do it in October or November.

  • marcusgresham

    I think Zeller looked ill.
    Do remember two plays, though, to gauge his effort–one was the blocked shot that absolutely swatted the hell out of and the second was him flying damn-near down the runway to the locker room past Penn State’s bench chasing after a ball.

  • marcusgresham

    I think Zeller looked ill.
    Do remember two plays, though, to gauge his effort–one was the blocked shot that absolutely swatted the hell out of and the second was him flying damn-near down the runway to the locker room past Penn State’s bench chasing after a ball.

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