4 storylines for IU’s game at Penn State

1. Locking down Lamar
Penn State’s Lamar Stevens has earned a reputation as a mid-range assassin. The junior forward is the Big Ten’s second-leading scorer, averaging 22.4 points per game. He’s scored 10-plus points in six of Penn State’s seven games so far, and also leads the Nittany Lions with 8.6 rebounds per game. Stevens is Penn State’s primary scoring threat and is averaging 23 points in his past two games vs. Indiana.

2. Supporting Stevens
Pat Chambers has a complaint. The Penn State coach made it clear after the Lions’ 66-59 loss at Maryland on Saturday that his team needed more reliable scorers beyond Stevens. Senior guard Josh Reaves has come close to filling the secondary scoring role for Penn State, though he’s struggling with consistency. Although he posted 17 points at Maryland, all of those came during Saturday’s first half. In Penn State’s previous two games, Reaves totaled only 10 points against Bradley and Virginia Tech.

3. IU needs secondary scorers, too.
Indiana has leaned on Juwan Morgan and Romeo Langford perhaps a bit more than it would’ve liked through the first month of action. The Morgan-Langford duo has accounted for 38 percent of IU’s total scoring through eight games, while others need to be more efficient. Forward Justin Smith is another player struggling with consistency early this season. The sophomore has the highest turnover rate (25.5 percent) of IU’s major contributors and has been hit-and-miss from the field as he tries to pick his spots.

4. Comfortable in close games
Saturday’s narrow victory over Northwestern may have been the first of many closely contested Big Ten games for IU this season. If the first month is any indication, the league is deeper than it was a season ago. When the league placed seven teams in last week’s Associated Press top 25, it marked the first time the Big Ten had that many ranked teams since Feb. 9, 1999. IU and Penn State have played a series of close games in recent years. The past seven games played by the two programs have been decided by an average of 3.8 points.