Langford lifts Hoosiers
Freshman standout makes presence felt in Big Ten opener
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.’’
Northwestern forward Miller Kopp dives for a loose ball during the first half Saturday against Indiana.