With the look and feel of a big game atmosphere at the Bryce Jordan Center, Penn State wanted to make an early statement against fifth ranked Indiana.
Brandon Taylor’s three pointer less than two minutes into the contest gave the home team a 3-2 lead, but Taylor would not make another three point shot the rest of the night, and his team would never hold the lead again as the Nittany Lions (8-6, 0-2) fell to the Hoosiers (14-1, 2-0) 74-51.
The Hoosiers quickly went to work after Taylor’s three, embarking on a 13-0 run before Ross Travis finally ended it with a three pointer of his own. A 10-2 Hoosiers run followed to give them a 25-8 lead which would prove to be insurmountable. The Nittany Lions cut the lead to 31-19 with seven minutes to go in the first half after Sasa Borovnjak made a free throw to complete a three point play, but the score would get no closer from there.
Both teams headed to the locker room with the Hoosiers having a commanding 44-27 lead after shooting 6-11 from behind the arc in the first twenty minutes. The Nittany Lions played better in the second half but never seriously made a run that suggested they were capable of pulling off a comeback.
After a solid stretch of basketball over the past few games, D.J. Newbill struggled, only scoring 8 points and shooting 3-15 from the field. Travis led the team with 14 points while Jermaine Marshall added 11, but it was not nearly enough against a top team that saw four players register double figures.
Christian Watford (16 points), Cody Zeller (15 points), Jordan Hulls (14), and Victor Oladipo (10 points) combined to shoot an extremely efficient 18-27 from the field including 6 made three pointers.
“[Penn State] never goes away. They are extremely well coached. You have to match toughness, and our guys did that tonight,” said fifth year Indiana head coach Tom Crean.
To expect an upset last night was a bit unrealistic, but after a strong effort against Wisconsin, the Nittany Lions walked away believing they could have played much better.
“We need everybody. We have eight wins, and those eight wins were with everybody contributing in some way,” said Pat Chambers.
That did not happen last night. Taylor was in foul trouble for most of the night, unable to make an impact outside of his early three pointer. Nick Colella was held scoreless for the second game in a row, and Donovon Jack only saw eight minutes of court time.
“Our guys played hard. They tried. It was one of those nights where the lid was on the hoop,” added Chambers.
Despite playing thirty nine minutes, Marshall is happy for a quick turnaround. The Nittany Lions host Northwestern Thursday night at 8 p.m. and should have a much better opportunity to receive their first conference win.