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The Indiana Hoosiers were able to cap off a back and forth game with a 68-66 victory over the Northwestern Wildcats and move to 1-0 in BigTen conference play. What a wild game it was Saturday afternoon in Bloomington. Neither team was really able to gain control of the contest, as the largest lead for both teams was five points. The play was really kind of choppy, and it never felt like there was really a good game flow. I won’t spend too much time on officiating, it was bad, but a large part for the choppy play. There were 36 fouls called in the game. Almost one foul per minute. Or if you want to get real particular, it was 0.9 fouls per minute in this game. We all came to see a good basketball game, not the officials, but I digress.
Neither team, for the most part, could take advantage of the other’s miscues. There were only 24 turnovers total in the game (NU-11, IU-13). Both teams pride themselves on defense, and it was absolutely a slug fest type game today. For Northwestern, Derek Pardon really had his way with the Hoosiers in the game. Pardon spent most of the game matched up against Juwan Morgan. Pardon was easily Northwestern’s best player today, he played 39 minutes and recorded a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds on an efficient 11-15(73%) and surprisingly his +/- was -3. As his field goal percentage shows, Pardon was hitting about everything he threw towards the basket. But Indiana was able to maintain their composure and make some plays of their own.
Although the team looked more engaged than what they did Tuesday night at Duke, this team still just looks out of sync offensively. That’s probably the problem. There is no sync with this team right now. Injuries playing a large part in that when you are missing 3-5 guys in practice. Most Indiana fans were holding their breaths at the under four tv timeout, as Juwan Morgan lay on the floor in pain. Morgan spent most of the tv timeout on the floor and had to be carried off the floor to the bench as he could barely walk on his own. At this moment we haven’t received any update in regards to the specifics of the injury. Morgan recorded a double-double in the game, tallying 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Romeo Langford led the Hoosiers in the scoring department with 20 points. Langford also had the play of the game. In an offensive set after a timeout, Romeo caught a pass on the left wing and took it over the top of the key to go off of a ball screen and was able to get free to into the lane and put up one of his patented floaters that of course went in. That play gave the Hoosiers a lead they wouldn’t relinquish at 65-63. Without their senior leader, a young Indiana team led by their best player, was able to show some poise and resolve to come out on top. After a flurry of missed shots, Vic Law was able to toss up a prayer that was certainly answered as he banked in a three point shot to bring the Wildcats within one, 67-66. The ball was in-bounded to Robert Phinisee and he was immediately fouled. Phinisee was able to sink one of the two free throws, and Northwestern’s Ryan Taylor sailed a half court shot wide left, which sealed the Hoosiers win to open up the BigTen slate.
All eyes will turn to the injury report, as Indiana fans hope Juwan Morgan doesn’t miss significant time. Talk about going from bad to worse for a team that has been snake bitten by injuries so far. The Hoosiers are back in action Tuesday night as they travel to Penn State to take on a Nittany Lion squad that will be a tough out once again.