Bloomington, IN – Cody Zeller scored 23 points and grabbed ranked Indiana avoided a fourth consecutive loss to 66 victory at Assembly Hall.
Indiana matched its win total in conference play from the past three seasons combined (8-46).
John Shurna posted a game-high 29 points for Northwestern (15-10, 5-8), which has dropped two in a row on the heels of a three-game winning streak.
Drew Crawford had 18 points in defeat.
The Wildcats opened the second half on a 12-2 run and led 43-39 on a Shurna tip-in. Reggie Hearn drained a three-pointer to put Northwestern up 54-49 with 11:18 remaining, but Indiana drew even behind five straight points from Oladipo.
It remained a one-possession game until Verdell Jones III scored on a driving layup to give Indiana a 67-63 lead with just under three minutes to play. After the teams traded buckets, Oladipo swatted away Dave Sobolewski's shot before securing a Shurna miss.
"I'm glad we earned the win with some key defensive stops," said Indiana head coach Tom Crean.
Jones then hit a jumper from the left wing to seal the win with 29.4 seconds remaining.
"They made big plays when they had to make big plays," said Northwestern head coach Bill Carmody.
Northwestern got off to a good start on the road, grabbing a six-point lead on two occasions in the game's first nine minutes. Indiana, though, rallied to go up 28-21 when Oladipo fed Zeller in the lane for a high-percentage layup with 5:28 left.
The Wildcats trailed throughout the remainder of the frame, but they managed to pull within 30-29 with a 6-0 burst. The Hoosiers countered with seven straight points and took a 37-31 advantage into the break.
Indiana improved to 15-1 at home this season and beat Northwestern for the first time since March 6, 2010...The Wildcats had won six of the last seven meetings...Both teams shot 49 percent from the floor...The Hoosiers made just 2-of-13 three-pointers...Shurna now has 1,884 career points, 16 shy of tying Billy McKinney's school record.