UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Turnovers proved to be the key statistic at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday night as No. 22 Indiana fell to unranked Big Ten foe Penn State, 68-63. The loss dropped the Hoosiers to 19-5 and 9-2 in the conference.
Indiana turned the ball over 15 times, while the Nittany Lions only coughed it up on seven occasions. Penn State forward Brandon Taylor, who notched a game-high 24 points, attributed Indiana’s trouble with keeping possession to the Lions’ ability to speed the Hoosiers up and get them out of rhythm.
However, Indiana coach Tom Crean didn’t see it that way.
“I saw a different game,” Crean said. “I saw us have some unforced turnovers. But, he might be right. He’s the winner, they get to see what they see and I’ll watch the film and see what we have to get better at. I thought a couple times we just tried to make some plays that weren’t there.”
The last time Penn State played at home in the Bryce Jordan Center was January 21 against Wisconsin.
Saturday night, Indiana will visit Penn State in hopes of picking up its 10th conference victory, which would keep them atop the Big Ten standings and surpass last season’s conference win total of nine.
No. 22 IU will be coming off of a huge road victory over Michigan that included an incredible 28-0 run. It was a statement win against a top 50 team that could set the Hoosiers up for a run at the Big Ten regular season title.
Tom Crean’s weekly radio show was taped in advance again, as the Hoosiers were already on the road to Ann Arbor to take on Wolverines Tuesday night. During the shortened show, Crean touched on a few topics.
“There is no doubt they are a very good basketball team,” Crean said. “They really shoot the ball. What they have been doing really well is defensive rebounding. They are right there or near the top of the league in defensive rebounding percentage and they are getting their break going.
It wasn’t pretty, but Indiana found its way back in the win column Saturday by knocking off Minnesota 74-68 in Assembly Hall.
The win moed the Hoosiers at 18-4 overall and 8-1 in Big Ten play, a half game in front of Iowa. Freshman Thomas Bryant was the star for IU, leading all scorers with 23 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
“It’s challenging, especially when you’re going a little undersized like we were a bit,” Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said. “He really, really hurt us. I thought that Troy Williams really hurt us too with his speed. You can’t simulate their speed. They’re talented and they played hard, they cut fast, they’re really tough.”
Indiana returned home from Wisconsin with its first loss in Big Ten play, falling in overtime to the Badgers by three. Now, the Hoosiers will look to pick up their second win of the season against Minnesota, which visits Assembly Hall Saturday.
The Golden Gophers have struggled in conference play and are yet to pick up a win (0-9). However, Tom Crean believes you can’t just go by their poor record when looking at the Gophers.
“Minnesota is getting better, and again this is not a game where you play their record, you play what they’re capable of,” Crean said. “They’re right there and they’ve been in, including ours, all of these games that they’ve played and they’ve come down to the wire or overtime or the last couple of possessions. I know our guys are locked in, and we’ll need every bit of that.”