Bloomington, Ind. — Indiana coach Archie Miller promised to make changes Saturday.
He doubled down with one move: giving Rob Phinisee his first start of the season and bringing Devonte Green off the bench. It worked perfectly.
Phinisee gave the Hoosiers the offensive jolt they needed early by making his first three 3-pointers, and Green delivered the finishing touch with 11 points in the final 10 minutes to send Indiana past No. 11 Ohio State 66-54. The Buckeyes have lost four in a row.
"It always comes down to guard play and to beat the best, you have to have good guard play," Miller said. "I thought we had very good guard play today. Rob got us going on both ends of the floor, and Devonte played well, too."
After Wednesday's lackluster effort against Northwestern, Miller wasted no time making his decision.
On Friday, he told the oft-injured Phinisee, last year's starting point guard, and the streaky Green he was making the move — and both responded as Miller hoped.
Phinisee delivered a shooting flurry and Green provided a lift off the bench with nifty moves and critical baskets. Indiana won its second straight and picked up its second victory over a ranked opponent.
"There's nobody in our locker room who doubts the necessity he (Green) is to our team," Justin Smith said. "He can score, pass, defend. He's a very big part of our team and he's showed that in our two biggest wins this season."
While Indiana may have changed directions, Ohio State's offensive struggles continued.
After rallying to a 34-31 halftime lead, the Buckeyes gave it away by missing their first shots of the second half. And when the Hoosiers overcame their own scoring droughts, they somehow scraped together a 14-1 run that gave them a 57-46 lead with 5:49 to play. Green closed it out.
Andre Wesson scored 15 points to lead Ohio State (11-5, 1-4) and Kaleb Wesson finished with 11.
"Tough second half for us," coach Chris Holtmann said. "Give Indiana credit for making timely shots and really defending well. But we have to find a way to figure some things out here quickly."
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(At) Illinois 54, Rutgers 51: Ayo Dosunmu scored 18 points and Kofi Cockburn added 11 and grabbed 17 rebounds and Illinois held off Rutgers.
The win propels Illinois into second place in the Big Ten Conference and ties its season win total from a year ago, when the Illini went 12-21 and 7-13 in the conference.
Dosunmu stepped up big in the final two minutes for Illinois (12-5, 4-2). He scored four points (all at the free-throw line) to seal a defensive battle that saw Rutgers (12-4, 3-2) grab the lead early in the game.
"Coach has that trust in me down the stretch," Dosunmu said after the game. "I like to seize the moment."
Jacob Young led Rutgers with 16 points. Ron Harper Jr. added nine for the Scarlet Knights.
Illinois went on two 6-0 runs in the second half to close the gap against a fierce Rutgers defense. Both teams played exceedingly well defensively.
Rutgers was 20-of-59 (34%) from the field to Illinois' 18-of-63 (29%).
Cockburn, a 7-foot freshman, hit his seventh double-double of the season for the Illini,
Both teams shot poorly in the first half. Rutgers was 9-of-27 from the field (33%) while Illinois shot a paltry 6-of-31 (19%). Rutgers led 21-18 at the break. Cockburn had five points and 10 rebounds in the first half.
"We shot 19 percent in the first half and found a way to win it against a good Rutgers team," Illinois coach Brad Underwood said. "I'm proud of our guys today. This shows the growth we've been seeing all year."
Rutgers has a reputation this season of owning the boards, particularly on the offensive end. But Illinois used its big men, Cockburn and 6-foot-9 forward Giorgi Bezhanishvili, to out-rebound the Scarlet Knights 48-42 overall and 16-10 on the offensive end.
"We work hard on our rebounding during every practice," Underwood said, "It paid off for us today. Kofi in particular stepped up for us."
Wisconsin 58, (at) No. 20 Penn State 49: Micah Potter scored 18 of his career-best 24 points in the first half and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading the Badgers over the 20th-ranked Nittany Lions.
Brad Davison had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Wisconsin (10-6, 3-2 Big Ten), which lost 71-70 to Illinois on Wednesday night. Kobe King added 10 points.
Potter was 9-for-14 from the field in 28 minutes. The Badgers finished with 31 bench points, compared to 15 for the Nittany Lions.
"We scrimmage a lot," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "A lot of times the second five beats the first five so practices get a little fiery once in a while. It's competitive."
It was a sorely needed performance considering what's coming up on Wisconsin's schedule. The Badgers face No. 12 Maryland on Tuesday night, and then visit No. 8 Michigan State on Friday.
Lamar Stevens had 19 points and 13 rebounds for the Nittany Lions (12-4, 2-3), who had won 13 in a row at home. Izaiah Brockington scored 15 points.
It was Penn State's lowest scoring game of the season.
"We didn't invent a new defense today," Gard said. "We did what we always do but we did it better."
Wisconsin never trailed and led by as many as 12 with 14:13 to play.
Myreon Jones gave Penn State some life when he hit an off-balance 3-pointer that sparked a 10-2 run that cut the Badgers' lead to four.
But the Nittany Lions missed their next three shots, all 3-pointers, and Wisconsin got baskets on back-to-back possessions, with a 3 from Davison putting the game out of reach.
"We've got to make shots," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "If you would've told me we would hold Wisconsin to 58 points, I would've said we win the game."
Both teams got off to a sluggish start. It took nearly five minutes for either team to find the basket.
The Badgers went 0 for 7 from the floor before Potter hit a layup. Potter then hit two 3s and another layup before Stevens snapped Penn State's 0-for-12 skid with a turnaround jumper.
Brockington made a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left to cut Wisconsin's halftime lead to 31-22.
(At) Northwestern 62, Nebraska 57: Miller Kopp scored 15 points, and Northwestern snapped a five-game losing streak, hanging on to beat Nebraska.
Northwestern (6-9, 1-4 Big 10) led by as much as 18 in the first half and came out on top after things got close in the final minutes.
Kopp missed three consecutive 3-pointers late in the game. And the Wildcats missed the front ends of three straight one-and-ones before Nebraska's Cam Mack banked a 3 from the right to cut it to 60-57 with 51 seconds left.
After the Wildcats' Pete Nance missed from beyond the arc, Pat Spencer appeared to tip a potential tying 3 from the wing by Dachon Burke Jr. Kopp then made two free throws with nine seconds left to seal Northwestern's first win since Dec. 15 against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
Spencer scored 14, and the Wildcats matched a season high by making 10 of 29 3-pointers, though they cooled off in a big way after a scorching start. They went from making 8 of 14 in the first half to 2 of 15 in the second against a tighter defense.
"It was just a really good win," Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. "A lot of times, people don't realize the commitment that goes in for these players in between games, what they have to do with their bodies — whether it be strength and conditioning, lifting weights, eating right, sleep. Oh yeah, they go to Northwestern as well. ... You put that kind of investment into it and you don't get to taste some success, it can be hard."
Nebraska (7-9, 2-3) simply came out flat after a win over Iowa that might have been its best performance. And coach Fred Hoiberg took the loss in his first game in the Chicago area since the NBA's Bulls fired him early last season.
Mack scored 11 for the Cornhuskers, who shot just 31.3% and made 9 of 30 3-pointers.
"This team, we knew, was going to have urgency today," Hoiberg said. "We did not come out and match that early in the game. But what positive can we take? The second half."
Northwestern led by as much as 18 in the first half and took a 42-27 edge to the locker room after the hot start from beyond the arc by a team that ranked 11th in the Big Ten in 3-point accuracy.
Spencer scored 14, A.J. Turner 11 and Robbie Beran added 10 points. Back-to-back 3's by Kopp made it 42-24 before Kevin Cross hit one for Nebraska with just under a minute left in the half.