Lang­ford lifts Hoosiers

Fresh­man stand­out makes pres­ence felt in Big Ten opener

Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday) - - SPORTS - BY CAMERON STE­WART

BLOOM­ING­TON, Ind. — In­di­ana got its Big Ten season off to a good start with a 68-66 vic­tory Satur­day against North­west­ern.

Fresh­man phe­nom Romeo Lang­ford scored 20 points, and Juwan Mor­gan added 17 points and 12 re­bounds for the Hoosiers (6-2, 1-0 Big Ten). Mor­gan left the game with an ap­par­ent in­jury to his right leg with 3:20 left and In­di­ana lead­ing 61-58. There was no im­me­di­ate word about his con­di­tion.

The Wild­cats (6-2, 0-1) appeared to have mo­men­tum on their side af­ter ty­ing the score at 63 with 2:06 left. But af­ter the Hoosiers called a time­out, coach Archie Miller seemed to give Lang­ford some oneon-one ad­vice.

Did he tell Lang­ford that this was his time?

‘‘I feel like that was al­ready stated with­out say­ing,’’ Lang­ford said.

The score still was tied with 39 sec­onds left when Lang­ford sank a floater over two North­west­ern de­fend­ers to give In­di­ana the lead for good.

Lang­ford, how­ever, wasn’t fin­ished. On the Wild­cats’ next pos­ses­sion, he de­flected a pass that went off a North­west­ern player for a turnover.

Af­ter the game, Miller had high praise for Lang­ford.

‘‘He had his best all-around game, with­out ques­tion, of­fen­sively and de­fen­sively,’’ Miller said.

Wild­cats coach Chris Collins was im­pressed by Lang­ford, too.

‘‘He is a ter­rific scorer and player,’’ Collins said. ‘‘He made a lean­ing 14-foot shot un­der pres­sure. That’s what re­ally good play­ers do. Credit to him for a big-time play.’’

Der­erk Par­don had 24 points and 10 re­bounds and Vic Law 16 points and nine re­bounds for North­west­ern.

The Hoosiers sur­vived a poor shoot­ing per­for­mance from three­p­oint range (3-for-11) and strug­gles at the free-throw line (11-for-19) by at­tack­ing the bas­ket. They made 63 per­cent of their two-point shots and scored 42 points in the paint.

No team led by more than two pos­ses­sions at any point, with the largest lead of the game be­ing five points.

The back-and-forth na­ture of the game served as a re­minder to Miller of what’s to come in Big Ten play.

‘‘We go to Penn State on Tues­day, and that’s go­ing to be very, very dif­fi­cult,’’ he said. ‘‘And I just can’t imag­ine play­ing in this league in Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. I just don’t see a team that’s not very good.’’

DOUG MCSCHOOLER/AP

North­west­ern for­ward Miller Kopp dives for a loose ball dur­ing the first half Satur­day against In­di­ana.

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