On a night where Indiana didn’t play it’s best, the Hoosiers were still able to defeat Penn State by a score of 74-70.
The Hoosiers were led by Juwan Morgan who produced yet another stellar performance. Morgan recorded his fifth double-double of the season as he finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Like Saturday, Morgan once again had success from long range, shooting 2-5 from distance.
Miller was pleased with the scoring output from Morgan but put even more emphasis on the job the junior did on the glass.
“I think Juwan just having some confidence in the wide open shots is good,” said Miller. “I think the numbers that I’m looking at are the 11 rebounds and the 21 points. He had some really good post-ups and some really good finishes as well.”
Josh Newkirk has gotten off to a slow start in conference play, but on Tuesday night, the senior guard finished with 16 points and 4 assists. Newkirk did a good job of attacking the paint and was rewarded with eight trips to the free throw line. Newkirk knocked down 7 of his 8 free throw attempts in the contest.
“The big thing for Josh: four assists and no turnovers while playing 30 minutes,” said Miller. “Josh is a great kid and a great teammate. Eventually, good things happen to guys like him that just stay with it every day.”
Indiana also received a fantastic performance from its bench on Tuesday night who outscored Penn State’s bench 25-1. Devonte Green and Collin Hartman were the biggest reasons for that as both finished in double figures. Green finished with 13 points and Hartman chipped in 10 points on the night.
For Green, it was the first time in a few games he looked really comfortable on the floor. Archie Miller attributed that to Green allowing the game to come to him rather than forcing things from the get-go.
“I think the big thing for him is to get himself eased into the game and play like he did tonight,” said Miller. “He was very comfortable out there. Devonte, he’s a tough guy. He’s stubborn. I think the one thing about him is he’s very intelligent and he knows the better he plays, the better we’re going to be.”
Penn State was led by the duo of Tony Carr and Lamar Stevens. Carr finished with a game-high 28 points, and Stevens scored 20 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the loss.
Juwan Morgan fueled the Hoosiers to a hot start on Tuesday night. The junior forward knocked down two three-pointers and added a basket in the paint as his quick eight points helped the Hoosiers to a 12-8 lead at the first media timeout.
With 10:11 to play in the first half, a Devonte Green layup put the Hoosiers up 23-16. However, the Hoosiers would go through a scoring drought that lasted nearly six minutes after that. The scoring drought allowed the Nittany Lions to take their first lead of the contest on a Lamar Stevens layup with 5:40 to play in the opening half. Indiana didn’t score again until Collin Hartman converted a 4-point play with 4:41 left in the half.
The 4-point play from Hartman got the Hoosiers back on the right track as Juwan Morgan rattled off six straight points in the last three minutes of the half to help the Hoosiers regain the lead. After Robert Johnson added a pair of free throws, the Hoosiers took a 35-31 lead into the halftime break.
The Hoosiers came out of the halftime break ready to play as they were able to push their lead to double figures. A Robert Johnson three gave IU a 47-36 advantage. The senior guard was able to score 6 of Indiana’s first 12 points in the second half.
During the middle part of the second half, the Nittany Lions started to feed the post and had some success in doing so. Mike Watkins was held scoreless in the first half but was able to take advantage of his size and get some things done down low. Watkins’ nice moves down low helped the Nittany Lions trim the deficit and go into the under eight media timeout trailing 56-51.
Coming out the media timeout, Penn State was able to make it a one-possession game as Tony Carr connected on a pull-up jump shot from the elbow. However, Indiana would answer the Penn State charge by scoring the next five points and led 61-53 after Devonte Green knocked down a three with 6:20 to play.
With 4:07 to play in the game, Tony Carr knocked down a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to five at 61-56. On the next possession, Juwan Morgan drove to the basket and finished through contact. After the under four media timeout, Morgan finished off the three-point play by converting the free throw, and the Hoosiers pushed their lead back to eight at 64-56.
Indiana would let Penn State hang around over the course of the last two minutes, and Penn State even made it a two-point game with 2 seconds to go. However, Devonte Green didn’t give the Nittany Lions a chance to tie or win the game as he knocked down a pair of free throws in the final seconds.
The win moves the Hoosiers to 3-2 in the conference and 10-7 overall. Indiana will return to action on Sunday when they host Northwestern. The game is scheduled for a 4:30 tipoff.