BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- It was a long time in coming.
Tom Coverdale scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half as 21st-ranked Indiana gained a piece of its first Big Ten Conference title in eight years with a 79-67 victory over Northwestern.
The Hoosiers shook off a sluggish start -- Northwestern jumped to an 17-6 lead -- to snap a two-game losing streak and clinch a share of their 20th Big Ten title. Only Purdue has more with 21.
Indiana (19-10, 11-5 Big Ten) tied Wisconsin atop the standings, but the Badgers have the top seed in the Big Tournament, which opens Thursday in Indianapolis. The Hoosiers will be seeded either second, third or fourth.
"This team has worked really hard this season," said Hoosiers coach Mike Davis, who won his Big Ten title in his second year at Indiana. "It's a great feeling to add a Big Ten championship to our accomplishments." Ohio State (10-5), which plays at Michigan on Saturday night, and Illinois (10-5), which is at Minnesota on Sunday, can create a four-way for first by winning their final regular-season games.
Jarrod Odle recorded a double-double in his final appearance at Assembly Hall with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Appropriately enough, Odle scored the game's final basket with seven seconds remaining.
"The Big Ten championship has been a long time coming," Odle said.
"We had the talent to put it all together. We had a chance to win it outright but we didn't do that. We still got a piece." "We still have a long way to go until our season is over," added fellow senior Dane Fife, who scored eight points in his final home game. "All I know is that we have Big Ten rings and a trophy to prove we are champions." The Hoosiers battled back to take a 33-32 halftime lead and took control early in the second half behind Coverdale, who scored 10 points in the first four minutes. He made a pair of 3-pointers and two jumpers to give the Hoosiers a 45-37 lead with 16:30 to go.
Coverdale's third 3-pointer of the half gave the Hoosiers a 59-45 lead with 9:06 to go. Indiana built the lead to as many as 17 before holding off a late run by Northwestern.
"Fife and Odle have been leaders all season and it is good to see them go out like this," Davis said.
The Wildcats (16-12, 7-9) closed to 73-67 on Drew Young's 3-pointer with 1:18 remaining before Indiana ended the contest with a 6-0 spurt Tavaras Hardy scored 24 points and Winston Blake added 13 for Northwestern, which has the seventh seed in the Big Ten tournament.
The Wildcats lost their final three regular-season games.
After shooting just 37 percent in the first half, Indiana responded by shooting 53 percent over the second 20 minutes and finished at 46 percent (26-of-57). Jared Jeffries added 15 points and nine rebounds.
"The game was wonderful," said Jeffries, a sophomore. "A lot of people might say we should have won by more, but Northwestern played with a lot of pride. They didn't lay down and die." Long's foul shot capped an 8-0 spurt that pulled the Wildcats within 71-62 with 2:40 remaining. After Odle's two foul shots, Long converted a layup and a 3-pointer pull Northwestern within six.
The loss prevented Northwestern from finishing at .500 in conference play for the first time since 1967-68 (8-6). The Wildcats missed a chance to tie the school record for wins in the regular season.
Northwestern was 17-11 in 1983-83 before losing in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.