BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (Ticker) -- Indiana marked the start of Big Ten Conference play by continuing its domination of Penn State.
Jeff Newton and freshman Bracey Wright scored 17 points apiece as the 15th-ranked Hoosiers overcame a slow start to defeat the Nittany Lions, 78-65, in the conference opener in both teams.
Newton also grabbed 12 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season. The senior forward rebounded from a rough outing in Indiana's last game against Charlotte, when he scored just two points on 1-of-7 shooting and committed five turnovers.
The Hoosiers (11-2) improved to 20-1 all-time against Penn State (5-7), including 11-0 at Assembly Hall.
"I was happy that we won when I saw that we made only four 3-pointers (4-of-17)," Indiana coach Mike Davis said. "Penn State is a team that switches on screens and that takes away some of our open looks on the perimeter."
The Nittany Lions were in control early, however, opening an 18-10 lead midway through the first half. Newton ignited the Hoosiers with a 3-pointer that started a 9-0 run. Tom Coverdale's jumper gave Indiana its first lead at 19-18 with 9:54 to go in the half.
"Penn State gave us a good game," Davis said. "That's the best I've seen them play this year. If Penn State can play like that from here on out, they can win some games in the Big Ten."
The Hoosiers held a double-figure lead for the last 10 minutes of the contest. Wright, who has reached double figures in every game this season, converted a layup with 4:39 left to give Indiana its biggest lead at 73-55.
"We have really got to find that grit," Indiana guard Kyle Hornsby said. "I don't think we have that right now. If we are going to win the Big Ten, we have really got to find that grit, that toughness to really dig in and find a way to win."
Coverdale chipped in with 14 points for Indiana, which improved to 10-1 in its last 11 conference openers at home. Hornsby added 12, including seven straight early in the second half.
"They said that (Penn State) had trouble guarding penetration," Hornsby said. "I didn't take advantage of that in the first half, and I really tried to play within myself. In the second half, I think everybody was making an effort to find shots."
Brandon Watkins had 21 points for the Nittany Lions, who were worn down in the second half after only trailing 35-32 at the intermission.
"I thought we had some shots go down but in the second half, we got some good looks and didn't get them to go down," Penn State coach Jerry Dunn said. "Kyle Hornsby was the difference the first five or six minutes of the second half."
The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for Penn State, whose victories came against Northeastern, Bucknell, St. Francis of New York, Robert Morris and Buffalo.
Sharif Chambliss contributed 12 points for the Nittany Lions, while Jan Jagla recorded a double-double with 11 and 10 rebounds.
Indiana shot 43 percent (28-of-65) while holding Penn State to just under 43 percent (26-of-61). The Hoosiers also forced 16 turnovers and blocked six shots.
"I thought our intensity on defense was good tonight," Davis said. "They got some easy baskets, but every time they did it was because one guy relaxed and that player scored against him. We didn't let up in the second half."