In its first two Big Ten games of the season, the IU men’s basketball team let its opponents’ leading scorers run amok.
That was not the case in State College, Pa., Saturday, as the Hoosiers won their first conference game of the year 79-76 against the Nittany Lions. IU (11-5, 1-2) held Penn State’s (9-8, 0-4) leading scorer, Tim Frazier, to 10 points on 2-of-7 shooting from the field.
Going into Saturday’s game, the graduate student guard was averaging 17.1 points per game, and he had scored 20 points in his previous game against Minnesota.
However, where the Hoosiers really limited Frazier was his assist mark. Frazier entered the game against IU averaging 6.9 assists per contest, the best average in the Big Ten and fourth best in the nation.
When he left the game after fouling out late in the second half, Frazier had no assists. Although Frazier’s assist numbers were down to 4.67 assists per game in Big Ten play, he managed 8 assists in his most recent game against Minnesota.
Frazier entered the game fifth in steals in the Big Ten at 1.8 per game. Again, Frazier did not record a steal against the Hoosiers. In all, Frazier was below his season averages in points, assists, steals and rebounds.
After the game, Penn State Coach Pat Chambers spoke about Frazier’s performance and his last two fouls.
“He’s a fifth year senior,” Chambers said of Frazier. “He has to know better … he has to be smarter than that. We need him on the floor.”
IU sophomore guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell spent time guarding Frazier in his team’s victory. Though Ferrell’s 15 points were a tad below his season average of 17.5, he dished out 7 assists to lead all players.
Ferrell said his team never wavered or got down on itself, despite trailing by as many as 15 points in the first half.
“We felt like we made a great stretch at the end of the first half,” Ferrell said. “You know, in fact, we weren’t playing so great. Especially those last couple minutes, I felt like we got crucial stops.”
Ferrell finished by saying that if the Hoosiers play together, they will be OK.
Ferrell was also able to hold on to the ball against Penn State, committing just one turnover. In his previous two games against Big Ten foes, Ferrell had turned the ball over six and five times, respectively, in losses. Frazier, meanwhile, turned the rock over three times, and IU scored nineteen points off turnovers to Penn State’s 14.
After the game, IU Coach Tom Crean complimented Frazier’s skill set and compared him to IU senior forward Will Sheehey.
“Tim Frazier is not just a veteran in college basketball,” Crean said. “I would imagine coaching him is a lot like Will Sheehey. They have a tremendous mind for the game.”
IU overcame Frazier and his basketball prowess en route to its first true road win and first conference win of the year.
“They really earned the victory today,” Crean said. “When two teams fight like that you can’t say that you deserved it, but when you get it the way we did you can say that we earned it. I think that’s important.”
Follow men’s basketball reporter John Bauernfeind on Twitter @JohnBauernfeind.