Penn State Plays Indiana In The Sport of Basketball, Does Not Win

If I told you that the Penn State basketball team would make more shots than Indiana, it would grab more rebounds, blocks, and steals, and it would have just nine turnovers in the game, you would take that and write that down as a win, right?

Well, if you said yes, you obviously haven’t watched enough Penn State basketball.

The Nittany Lions lost to Indiana 76-73, despite accomplishing all of those things. They stuffed the stat sheets, but an abysmal performance from behind the arc (4-24) combined with a few timely fouls prevented the Lions from gaining any type of rhythm, and led the team to its fourth straight loss.

How It Happened:

Penn State took an early 4-0 lead just two minutes into the game, but that would be its largest lead. After that, the team temporarily forgot how to play defense, allowing the Hoosiers to go on a 17-2 run to take a 17-6 lead. But our heroes in Blue and White would battle back, going on an 11-0 run to tie the game.

Then came a moment that truly foreshadowed how the night would turn out for the Nittany Lions. After a missed three-pointer from Indiana, Geno Thorpe grabbed the rebound and tried to lead the break. He mishandled the ball, however, and got called for a travel. Indiana then scored four straight points to take a 21-17 lead, and all momentum from the previous run was over. The Lions showed that they were comfortable with the pace of the game and looked poised to grab the lead, but couldn’t get out of their own way.

The rest of the half saw the teams trade baskets without much fanfare, and Penn State actually took back the lead with about three minutes left in the half on a Ross Travis Jump Shot. But a layup on the other end just 19 seconds later gave the lead back to the Hoosiers, one they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the half. Penn State went into the locker room down 39-34 at the halfway point.

Both teams came out shooting well in the second half, trading baskets for the first few minutes. Trailing by seven, Brandon Taylor hit a three-pointer and a layup to cut the lead to two. Then, Jordan Dickerson completed one of his best two-minute stretches in weeks. Dickerson blocked an IU layup, leading to a fast break and easy bucket by Thorpe. On the next possession, Taylor missed one from behind the arc, but the 7-foot-1 big man grabbed the offensive board and hit a baby hook to tie the game with just over 13 minutes left.

But, in typical Penn State fashion, the good vibes were not meant to last. Indiana went on a 13-2 run over the next five minutes to take a lead it wouldn’t lose.

The teams traded buckets for the next few minutes, until the Lions made one final push. Two straight layups by Travis got them within three with 50 seconds to play, and a missed jumper gave them the ball with 14.6 seconds left and a chance to tie. Were the Basketball Gods finally going to smile down on Penn State?

Haha, good joke. The answer is no. DJ Newbill had the right look, but lost the ball with 4.7 seconds left. After diving on the ground and calling timeout, the team had one last gasp to try and tie. Newbill missed a three out of the timeout, and Taylor grabbed the loose ball. He lofted up a fadeaway shot, and drained it! But the ball left Taylor’s hands about a half-second after the buzzer sounded, and the basket was immediately waved off. Indiana 76, Penn State 73.

Player of the Game:

If I have to pick one, it’d be Ross Travis. His defense wasn’t stellar, but the senior turned in his best offensive game of the season so far. Travis finished with 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and grabbed eight boards, had two steals, and zero turnovers.

Tweet(s) of the Game:

In response to Brandon Taylor’s game-tying three-pointer coming just after the buzzer sounded:

One day, Penn State will get out of its own way. One day…

Takeaways:

  • Offensively, this was probably the most balanced game of the year for Penn State. Six players, including all five starters, finished with double-digit points. Ross Travis and Shep Garner led the way with 14, D.J. Newbill had 12, Brandon Taylor had 11, and Geno Thorpe and Donovon Jack finished with ten points apiece.
  • Despite its apparent efficiency on the stat sheet, why doesn’t this team recognize what works and what doesn’t? The Nittany Lions shot 15.4% (2-of-13) from behind the arc in the first half, so what do they do in the second half? Shoot 11 more three pointers, finishing 4-of-24 for the game. When Jack and Travis combine for 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting, you would think they would see more touches. Looking at you, Shep Garner, who went 2-of-10 from behind the arc.
  • The team committed only 18 total fouls during the game, but that stat is misleading. The timing of those fouls killed Penn State. Indiana was in the bonus for the final 13 minutes of the game, and it made a difference down the stretch.

What’s Next?

Penn State hosts Purdue on Saturday at 1 p.m. All Onward State can confirm about this matchup right now is that two collegiate basketball teams will indeed be taking the court.

Photo by Onward State’s Bobby Chen

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About the Author

Alex Robinson

Alex Robinson was Onward State's Acting Managing Editor/Resident Old Man. He lived in Harrisburg almost his whole life, but he says he's from California -- where he was born -- because that's more fun. He loves cats and Chinese food, but only separately. He met both Ben Affleck and Kanye West within a half hour, so the three of them are basically best friends. If you want to hear his #scorching #hot #takes, you can follow him at @ARobinsonPSU or email him at [email protected]

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