No. 12 Indiana shoots past Penn State

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 08, 2012
The Penn State crowd collectively gasped after the 3-point shot left Indiana guard Matt Roth's hands. The way the Hoosiers were shooting from long range all game, it was as if the fans knew the basket would be good before the ball even sailed through the hoop. Roth and backcourt mate Jordan Hulls combined to hit 12 of No. 12 Indiana's season-high 16 3-pointers to help the Hoosiers snap a 16-game Big Ten road losing streak and hold on for an 88-82 victory over the Nittany Lions on Sunday. ''It's a testament to how well we moved the ball,'' Roth said. ''We had a lot of inside-out stuff to get us started. That's always nice to get that shot when you're shooting 3s and it's coming from the middle.'' Whether they were spotting up from the top of the key, the wings or the corners, the shots fell at a blistering 66 percent clip (16 of 24). Hulls had a career-high 28 points while Roth, who was 5 of 6 on 3s, finished with 22. Cheered on by a healthy sprinkling of fans wearing Indiana red, the Hoosiers (15-1, 3-1) won a regular-season road conference game for the first time since a 67-61 win at Penn State on Jan. 21, 2010. Yet Penn State still hung around despite the hot shooting, and with point guard Tim Frazier (21 points) on the bench the last 1:34 after fouling out while scrambling for a loose ball. Down eight points with 1:22 to go, the Nittany Lions (9-8, 1-3) forced two straight turnovers to highlight a late run to get within 84-82 with 21 seconds left on two free throws by Matt Glover. But Roth hit two foul shots and Nick Colella missed a last-gasp 3 for Penn State. ''The key for us is that commitment to tough practices. The commitment to have energy ... but most of all the commitment to improvement,'' Indiana coach Tom Crean said. ''I don't think we were playing great by any stretch.'' Penn State fans reserved some of their biggest cheers for new football coach Bill O'Brien, who received a standing ovation after being introduced at center court during a first-half timeout. A chant of ''We are ... Penn State!'' echoed through the stands as he exchanged handshakes with students. Whatever the reason, the Nittany Lions were pumped up, too, diving all over the court for loose balls and elbowing for rebounds under the boards. It still wasn't enough for rebuilding Penn State to overcome the nation's best 3-point shooting team. ''We have to continue to get these guys better, and we have to continue to change the mentality that losing is not acceptable. It will never be acceptable,'' first-year coach Patrick Chambers said. ''There are no moral victories.'' Ross Travis' two foul shots cut the lead to 77-70, but things looked bleak for Penn State after Frazier fouled out. The Nittany Lions still clawed back, though Hulls and Roth combined to go 8 for 8 from the free throw line over the final 33 seconds. ''We knew we were going to have to play at a very high level,'' Crean said. ''It was going to be a rebounding game, a toughness game.'' Indiana outrebounded Penn State 33-28 but got outscored 36-10 in the paint and 18-7 in points off turnovers. It sure helped Crean to have Hulls bombing away from long range. Fourth in the nation in 3-point shooting (55 percent), Hulls hit 7 of 9 3-point attempts including 5 of 6 in the first half to give Penn State's guards fits. The Hoosiers answered from the perimeter almost every time Penn State got within four or five points. Roth hit 3s on consecutive possessions - the first of which led to the audible worries from the crowd - to put the Hoosiers up by 11 points late. ''They were able to get open and get shots. They had a lot of drives where we had to drop down and help and we left the (3-point shooters) open,'' said Frazier, who had seven assists. Jermaine Marshall added 20 points for Penn State. Christian Watford and Cody Zeller both added 10 points for Indiana, which has won three straight.
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