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Penn State Hoops Upsets No. 19 Indiana 77-73 In Big Ten Tournament Semifinals, Moves On To Tournament Championship

Penn State men’s basketball (22-12, 13-10 Big Ten) escaped with a win against No. 19 and third-seeded Indiana (22-11, 12-9 Big Ten) in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals by a final score of 77-73 at the United Center in Chicago.

After a 13-0 run early in the first half, the Nittany Lions held onto their lead and never looked back as it took down the Hoosiers for the second time this season. Jalen Pickett led the way with 28 points and eight rebounds for Penn State. Seth Lundy was the only other scorer that reached double figures for the Nittany Lions as he notched 16 points.

Four Hoosiers scored in the double digits with Trayce Jackson-Davis leading Indiana with a double-double performance of 24 points and 10 boards. Tamar Bates collected 14 points with two-for-five shooting from deep, and Jalen Hood-Schifino and Race Thompson rounded it out with 11 and 10 points of their own.

How It Happened

The Hoosiers won the tip but didn’t score until its second possession with a pullup jumper from Jalen Hood-Schifino. On the other side of the court, Seth Lundy pulled up on his own and drained a three-pointer for Penn State.

Indiana then scored six-unanswered points, which included an emphatic put-back dunk from Trayce Jackson-Davis. Lundy was fouled on a three-point attempt and drained all three as the score sat at 8-6 through the first three minutes of action.

Race Thompson and Jackson-Davis added two more buckets as the Hoosiers held onto a six-point lead at the first media timeout of the first half.

Then, the Nittany Lions sprung out to a 13-0 run which included three-pointers from Andrew Funk, Myles Dread, and Jalen Pickett before Indiana called a timeout with 11:11 left in the first half.

Miller Kopp drained a jumper that halted a five-minute scoring drought for Indiana. Then, Lundy drilled a deep three-pointer as the shot clock expired. After nearly two minutes without a point, Pickett and Malik Reneau traded field goals. At the second media timeout of the first half, Penn State held onto a 24-16 lead.

After a pair of made free throws from Lundy, Kanye Clary and Tamar Bates sunk their first field goals of the game. After a few empty possessions, Bates hit Thompson for a powerful alley-oop for the Hoosiers. Clary then knocked down two from the charity stripe as the game approached the final four minutes of the half.

Jackson-Davis then collected back-to-back buckets for Indiana as he cut the deficit to just four. After trading empty possessions, Pickett sunk a bucket in the paint that cut a four-minute field goal drought for Penn State. However, Jackson-David responded with a turnaround jumper before Penn State called a timeout with 30 seconds remaining.

The first half ended with two free throws and a block at the buzzer from Pickett. The Nittany Lions held a 34-26 lead after the first 20 minutes.

Kebba Njie kicked off the second half with two points from the line. Hood-Schifino responded quickly with a driving floater. After a few missed shots on Penn State’s next possession, Pickett used the glass and got a bucket to fall. Indiana then embarked on a 9-2 run which cut the deficit to three before the first media timeout of the second half was called.

Clary swished a turnaround jumper, but it was followed up with a pair of free throws from Reneau on the other side of the court. Then, Njie and Jackson-Davis traded dunks as the difference between both teams was just one point. Lundy then knocked down an and-one jumper before a media timeout was called with 11:56 left of action.

Jackson-Davis hit a pair of free throws and threw one down that tied the game at the halfway mark. However, it was short-lived as Pickett marched down the court and cashed in on a layup.

Funk then drilled a triple and Pickett found a wide-open Njie who threw it down before Indiana called a timeout. Just like that, Penn State grew its lead back to seven with eight minutes to go.

After an easy Kopp bucket in the paint, Pickett drained back-to-back buckets for the Nittany Lions. After a pair at the line for Hood-Schifino, Camren Wynter drained a triple that brought the lead to 10 for Penn State. After an and-one make from Bates, Funk rattled in a deep triple as Penn State held onto an eleven-point lead at the final media timeout.

Pickett then outscored Indiana 6-4 on his own before Micah Shrewsberry called a timeout with two minutes to go. Pickett sunk two free throws and Jackson-Davis dunked one home. Thompson stole the ball from Wynter and Indiana called a timeout with 1:45 left as it remained down by 13.

Hood-Schifino hit a layup and a free throw, and on the Hoosiers’ next possession, Bates drilled a corner three that cut Indiana’s deficit to seven as the game entered the final minute of play.

Jackson-Davis got a steal from a Penn State inbound and finished it with a dunk. Then, Wynter was fouled but only made one from the charity stripe. It was Jackson-Davis again who got one to fall inside the paint. Pickett was then fouled and only made one as the Nittany Lions narrowly held onto a five-point lead. Indiana quickly rushed down the court and Hood-Schifino drilled a jumper inside the paint which forced Penn State to call a timeout.

Lundy was fouled and made both from the line. After a missed three-point attempt, Wynter was sent to the line and made just one as Penn State increased its lead to four. Trey Galloway missed a triple in the final seconds that closed this game out.

Penn State escaped the Big Ten semifinals and punched its ticket to the championship with a 77-73 victory.

Takeaways:

  • Penn State is going to the Big Ten Championship! It hasn’t had the honor since 2011, but after an impressive stretch this week, the Nittany Lions will compete for the Big Ten title against No. 1-seeded Purdue. Wow!
  • We talked about how impressive Penn State is from three-point land, but its defense during this Big Ten Tournament run has been impressive. Lundy continues to play well, but even the freshmen in Kanye Clary and Kebba Njie have stepped up. It’s truly been remarkable to watch.
  • Something to look out for is fatigue in the Nittany Lions. With the win today, Penn State will play in its fourth game in four days tomorrow. Surely adrenaline will keep them going in the first half, but we’ll see how heavy-minute players like Lundy and Pickett perform on Sunday.

What’s Next?

Penn State will take on Purdue for the Big Ten Championship on Sunday, March 12, in the United Center. Tip-off is set for 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS.

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About the Author

Tobey Prime

Tobey is a senior studying broadcast journalism from Lancaster, PA. He is a major Pittsburgh sports fan and Miami Heat fanatic. When Tobey isn't writing for Onward State, you can catch him looking at photos of his pugs. Send your best insults to [email protected] or sports takes to @tobey_prime on Twitter.

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