INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana beat Penn State 75-58 in the first round of the Big Ten tournament, but the Hoosiers suffered what could be a major loss late in the first half.
Guard Verdell Jones III drove and came to a jump-stop but his right knee gave way. He went down to the floor, writhing in pain. He declined a wheelchair but had to be helped off the court.
Jones is merely Indiana’s sixth-best scorer (7.8 ppg), but he’s a senior who is lauded for his leadership and passing ability. And he did hit two crucial shots in Bloomington to sink Northwestern on Feb. 15.
Indiana can only hope he will be OK one week from now for the start of the NCAA tournament.
As for the game, the Hoosiers advanced to a quarterfinal matchup with Wisconsin (approx 1:30 p.m. Friday) by holding the Nittany Lions to 34.5 percent shooting. Guard Tim Frazier did score 26 points but needed 24 shots to do it.
Jordan Hulls scored 20 points for the Hoosiers. Cody Zeller has 19 points and 10 rebounds, hitting 11 of 15 foul shots.
Indiana went to the line 36 times, hitting 29. Penn State went 12-for-16 from the charity stripe.