With Heart, Men’s Basketball Falls to Indiana
It was only a week ago that Penn State went into Evanston and suffered an embarrassing loss to Northwestern. Seven days later and no one is taking Penn State for granted in the Big Ten.
Although Penn State lost to a top ten caliber Indiana team Sunday afternoon, they gave the Hoosiers quite a scare in front of their biggest crowd of the season. Just when Penn State looked out of it, someone would hit a big shot to put them right back in contention. The Nittany Lions were only down by 2 with 21 seconds left, but lights out free throw shooting won the day for Indiana, as they would end up 88-82.
Tim Frazier and Jermaine Marshall led Penn State with 21 and 20 points respectively. Frazier didn’t have his best game, though, shooting only 7 for 23 and 1 of 6 from behind the arc. It even seemed at times that Indiana was giving him space on the perimeter to shoot because he was missing so much.
Penn State shot 46% from the floor, which should be enough to win most games, but Indiana shot 51% including a ridiculous 67% (16 of 24) from three point range. It seemed like Matt Roth and Jordan Hulls from Indiana couldn’t miss at times, some of which can be attributed to Penn State’s occasional confusion on defense giving them wide open shots.
Billy Oliver had another solid game, putting up 5 three pointers and making 3 of them. Oliver’s last 16 shots over two games have been 3’s, and he’s made 10 of them. If you had told me that would happen a year ago, I would have laughed in your face. The freshman duo of Matt Glover and Ross Travis combined for 11 rebounds and 16 points, which contributed nicely to a very impressive Penn State performance.
Indiana coach Tom Crean had some very positive words for Penn State after the game. “If you don’t practice hard, if you don’t practice with toughness, you’re not gonna beat Penn State,” he said. “They’re gonna beat teams. There’s no question about it. It didn’t look like a fluke to me. [Coach Pat Chambers] had Billy Oliver thinking he was Dirk Nowitzki or something, and he was.”
There are no moral victories for Penn State. Coach Chambers said, “‘[The attitude] oh we lost, we played hard’, that has to stop.” But it’s hard not be excited about the way the team has played this week if you’re a Penn State fan. After the loss to Northwestern, I thought that Penn State would struggle to win more than a few games in the Big Ten. If Penn State continues to play with the same intensity as they have proven that they can, they’re going to scare some teams in this conference.
Penn State faces Nebraska on the road in Lincoln on Wednesday. The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network at 8:30 p.m. A win against Nebraska would go a long way in proving that this last week was not a fluke.
Pat Chambers basketball has arrived, ladies and gentlemen.