Penn St.-Indiana Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- Indiana is mired in a three-game losing streak as it heads into a matchup against the last team it beat.
The 11th-ranked Hoosiers can end their skid Sunday when they host a Penn State team that has lost its first three Big Ten road games by double digits.
Indiana (15-4, 3-4) has not won since an 88-82 victory at Penn State (10-10, 2-5) on Jan. 8. Jordan Hulls had seven 3-pointers and a career-high 28 points for the Hoosiers, who made a season-high 16 shots from beyond the arc.
Hulls and the Indiana 3-point attack have been lacking since. The junior guard has made 4 of 17 3s during the losing streak, with the Hoosiers shooting 33.3 percent from long range in that span.
The most disheartening defeat was Wednesday's 70-69 road loss to a Nebraska team battling with the Nittany Lions to avoid the Big Ten basement. Hulls, shooting 87.8 percent on free throws, missed the front end of a critical one-and-one with 24 seconds to play.
Coach Tom Crean, however, insists he is not going to panic.
"I'd be in there throwing stuff around, angry, screaming if I felt like we didn't care or I felt we couldn't get better," Crean said. "That's not the case at all. They care and we can get better. That's exactly the attitude we're taking toward this."
Star freshman Cody Zeller led Indiana with 18 points. The Hoosiers shot 51.0 percent and limited the Cornhuskers to 37.7 percent from the field but still somehow lost.
"That's a tough one to swallow," Zeller said. "Every game in the Big Ten is tough. I thought we played better, but it wasn't enough, I guess."
Zeller is averaging 19.0 points during this losing streak after he was limited to 10 and five shots in 24 foul-plagued minutes against Penn State.
That victory marked the Hoosiers' second in their last eight games against the Nittany Lions, who were 0-15 in Bloomington before capturing their two most recent visits.
"Indiana happens to be the next game on the schedule and it happens to be on the road," first-year Penn State coach Pat Chambers said. "I expect another battle."
Penn State has dropped its first three conference road games by an average of 14.0 points. The Nittany Lions, though, enter with some momentum after upsetting the Big Ten leader in Thursday's 54-52 win over No. 22 Illinois.
Tim Frazier, among the Big Ten leaders with 17.9 points per game, scored the go-ahead basket on a floater in the lane with eight seconds left. Frazier had 12 points and nine assists, and continues to lead the conference with 6.7 assists per game.
"He has earned the right to make those and take those shots," Chambers said. "He's done a great job with leadership. He's been just incredible, his effort in his play throughout the whole season."
Frazier made 7 of 23 shots for 21 points in the first meeting. Penn State shot 30.4 percent on 3-pointers while Indiana was at 66.7.
Those numbers weren't surprising since the Hoosiers are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the country at 45.0 percent while the Nittany Lions are last in the Big Ten at 31.1.
Updated January 21, 2012