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Penn State Hoops Throttles Indiana 85-71 With Sharp Shooting

Penn State men’s basketball (11-11, 5-6 Big Ten) defeated Indiana (13-9, 5-6 Big Ten) 85-71, winning its second consecutive road game. The threes were on fire for the Nittany Lions, as they tied their season-high in threes made and shot an impressive 54.5% from beyond the arc. It was also the first win in Bloomington for Penn State since 2014.

Ace Baldwin Jr. led the way, scoring 22 points and adding eight rebounds in the win. Zach Hicks also added a season-high 19 points on 4-for-8 shooting from three and Jameel Brown added four threes of his own, finishing with 14 points.

How It Happened

Starting guard and leading scoring Kanye Clary was out for the second consecutive game for Penn State, with D’Marco Dunn starting in his place once again. Despite losing the tip, Qudus Wahab picked up an early steal but Nick Kern Jr.’s shot was unsuccessful on Penn State’s first offensive possession.

After multiple misses by both teams, Kel’el Ware got the Hoosiers on the board with a turnaround jumper for the game’s first basket. A bad pass turnover and a foul from Baldwin allowed Ware to go to the line, where he knocked down both foul shots to make it 4-0 Indiana.

With three minutes of the game down, the Nittany Lions finally got a shot to drop after Hicks drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key. Indiana’s Malik Reneau responded with back-to-back layups to extend the lead to five. Baldwin followed that up with a three-pointer, but on the other end, Ware scored a tough layup, picked up the foul call, and hit the and-one free throw to make it 11-6.

The Hoosiers kept their foot on the glass with Trey Galloway drilling a long three as the shot clock was winding down. Ware extended his hot start with another layup to make it a 10-point Indiana lead. After missing his first three-pointer earlier, Brown drilled one for his first make. The Nittany Lions defense forced Indiana to commit a turnover in the backcourt, and Dunn drove to the basket for a tough layup to cut the deficit back to five.

Penn State continued the trap defense, but Indiana was able to get it into the frontcourt, and after a series of nice passes, Mackenzie Mgbako drilled a three. Down eight, Hicks drilled another three-pointer for Penn State after a defensive stand, and Wahab hit a layup to make it a three-point game.

Indiana went on a huge run to reextend its lead. It started with Mgbako hitting 1-of-2 free throws and Galloway getting a steal and slam dunk. Mgbako drove through the lane and hit a layup, and after a missed layup by Anthony Walker, Ware grabbed the rebound and slammed it home to make it 26-16 in favor of the Hoosiers.

Dunn ended the 7-0 scoreless run by Indiana while hitting 1-of-2 free throws and Baldwin scored Penn State’s first field goal in three minutes. Gabe Cupps drove to the hoop and got a layup to drop, but on the other end, Kern one-upped Cupps with a slam dunk heading into a media timeout.

After the break, Baldwin had a shot fall to cut the deficit back to five. However, Indiana got back-to-back and-one shots from Reneau and Ware for a quick six points. Down 11, Brown drilled back-to-back three-pointers and Puff Johnson hit a layup to make it a three-point game.

With 14 points already in the first half, Ware made a three to get the lead for Indiana back to seven. Baldwin answered with a driving layup and with under two minutes to play Reneau and Wahab traded buckets to make it 39-35.

As the seconds of the first half were winding down, Mgbako scored a second-chance layup after Galloway missed a three. With the shot clock and game clock nearly similar, Baldwin drove to the hoop and missed a layup, but Johnson grabbed the rebound and knocked down his shot as the first half ended with Penn State trailing 41-37.

At the start of the second half, Penn State was unsuccessful on its first offensive possession, but Baldwin soon after found Wahab under the rim for two points. After another Indiana turnover, Galloway picked Baldwin’s pocket, drove down the court, and scored a tough layup.

Penn State then went on its best run of the game. Hicks kicked things off drilling a three to make it a one-point game. On the other end, Galloway turned it over and Baldwin made him pay. He knocked down a triple to make it 45-43 for the Nittany Lions’ first lead of the afternoon.

The run continued after Galloway missed a three and Wahab scored a turnaround jumper to go up four. After both teams missed multiple shots in a row, Brown was fouled shooting a three and hit two-of-three shots to extend the lead to six. After nearly four minutes without points, Reneau got a shot to fall to end the 10-0 Penn State run. Dunn answered Reneau’s shot with a layup, but on the other end, Reneau got an and-one layup and scored the free throw to make it a three-point game.

However, Penn State’s offensive attack didn’t stop. Wahab followed Reneau up with a nice hook shot. Dunn and Brown drilled back-to-back triples to make it 59-48, heading into a media break.

After the timeout, Wahab kept the run going getting a jumper to fall for a 13-point Penn State lead. Mgbako finally ended the 10-0 run with a long three-pointer. Baldwin was fouled and hit 1-of-2 shots, but after a missed three by Dunn, Hicks grabbed the board and made a tough layup to extend the lead to 13.

With under nine to play, Ware was fouled and hit both free throws, but Wahab answered with a put-back layup. Ware slammed a dunk home but this time Baldwin answered with a driving layup. Galloway responded to Baldwin’s layup with one of his own, but Baldwin answered back with a deep three-point forcing Mike Woodson to call a timeout.

After the break, Hicks was fouled and hit both shots and Ware hit a slam dunk. Baldwin and Ware both were fouled and both hit a pair of free throws. Reneau was then fouled and he hit both his shots, but Penn State answered back as Hicks drilled another three to make it 78-63.

Mgbako was fouled and he hit both free throws. However, Dunn responded with a huge mid-range jumper. Hicks added to his impressive scoring day by getting fouled shooting a three and he hit all three shots to extend the lead to 18 for Penn State.

With just over two minutes to play, Indiana kept fighting as CJ Gunn scored a layup and got the and-one free throw to drop. After a stop, Galloway drilled a three to make it a 12-point game. However, Baldwin drove to the lane to essentially end the game. The Hoosiers missed their follow-up shot and Balwin was able to dribble out the clock for the 85-71 win.

Takeaways

  • Penn State has lived and died by the three. In what was no doubt their best three-point shooting game of the season, the Nittany Lions tied a season-high 12 three-pointers on only 22 attempts. Three Penn Staters had three or more triples and the team hit six threes in both halves.
  • After going 0-for-6 from three in Piscataway, Brown had a fantastic bounce-back game. The sophomore drilled four three-pointers scoring 14 points in the process. It’s been an up-and-down shooting season for Brown, but the guard filled in huge for the absent Clary.
  • There’s no sugarcoating it: Hicks had his best game of the season. Hicks dropped a season-high 19 points, hitting four threes and adding five rebounds and two steals. While the stats show season-highs, Hicks was all over the floor in today’s win forcing multiple defensive stops and scoring clutch baskets throughout the game.
  • Baldwin continues to shine. In Clary’s absence, Baldwin scored a team-high 22 points and added eight assists in the win. The past two games have been outstanding scoring 15 in the previous game and 22 in Bloomington, but Baldwin’s ability to put together consistent and efficient game plans throughout the entirety of each outing stands alone.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will return home to the Bryce Jordan Center with a matchup against the Hawkeyes of Iowa. That game is set to tip-off at 7 p.m. on Thursday, February 8, and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in sports studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him watching reruns of Community or The Office. To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected].

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