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Penn State Hoops Tops Indiana 83-74 To Sweep Season Series

Penn State men’s basketball (14-14, 8-9 Big Ten) recorded its second straight victory with a win over Indiana (14-13, 6-10 Big Ten) inside the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday afternoon.

Ace Baldwin Jr. led the charge for Penn State with 23 points and nine assists. Zach Hicks added 17 points while making 4-8 from three. The Nittany Lions had five different players in double figures.

How It Happened

Coming off Penn State’s upset win inside Rec Hall, Mike Rhoades rolled out the same starting lineup for its midday matchup with the Hoosiers. Indiana won the tip but could not capitalize on its opening possession, missing a corner three. The Nittany Lions forced a turnover on the next trip down the floor to force consecutive stops.

Offensively, Baldwin got things started with a triple from the wing for the game’s first points. Malik Reneau put the Hoosiers on the board via the foul line with 17:42 remaining in the half. D’Marco Dunn extended the Nittany Lions’ lead after being fouled on a drive through the middle of the paint.

Baldwin returned to work on the defensive end, forcing a Gabe Cupps turnover right before the under-16 timeout. Out of the stoppage, Favour Aire checked into the game for the first time. Aire couldn’t connect on his first shot attempt of the game, getting blocked by Kel’el Ware.

Qudus Wahab quickly checked back into the game, flushing home a dunk over the smaller CJ Dunn. Ware answered for Indiana on the other end with back-to-back buckets. Baldwin missed a wide-open Nick Kern Jr. cutting to the basket moments later.

Puff Johnson drilled his first three of the day in front of the Indiana bench to tie the game at 12. On the next trip, Wahab was fouled, sending the game to the under-12 timeout. Both teams lost their rhythm out of the break, however, Kern eventually tied it up at the free-throw line.

Indiana continued to foul the Nittany Lions, sending Baldwin to the line on the Hoosiers’ eighth team foul of the half. Anthony Walker silenced the BJC by flushing a one-handed dunk to retake the lead for the Hoosiers. Baldwin once again had the answer for Penn State, this time with a step-back jumper.

Hicks swished his first three of the game with nine minutes to play in the first half. Wahab followed it up with two points of his own, with Indiana leading 24-23. Baldwin continued to go to work, tying the game at 25 with a jumper that rattled home.

Indiana tried to push the pace in transition, but Reneau traveled as he went up for a shot. The Nittany Lions could not score off the turnover and the Hoosiers retook the lead on the next possession. Dunn gave the momentum back to the blue and white with a pull-up three in transition.

Coming out of the under-four media break, Johnson buried a three from the top of the arc and Baldwin finished a tough layup through traffic. Penn State led 34-32 with 2:09 left in the half. Baldwin scored in the paint again to extend Penn State’s lead.

Rhoades called a timeout with 35.8 left and with the ball. Baldwin got the nod after the quick timeout, drawing a foul and drilling two free throws. Trey Galloway went to the line with 6.1 seconds left, hitting one of two shots before the half.

Indiana opened the second half by fouling Wahab, and Dunn made the Hoosiers pay with a three-pointer. Less than two minutes into the second half, Mike Woodson called a timeout after this team’s slow start. Baldwin extended the lead after the timeout via the foul line.

The fouls continued, with Hicks picking up his first of the half, far outside the three-point line. The Nittany Lions responded by forcing a turnover which led to a Dunn layup in transition. Penn State held a 10-point advantage with 15:42 left in the game. Hicks drilled a three out of the timeout to extend the lead.

Reneau cut the deficit to seven points moments later with a left-handed hook shot before Wahab answered on the other end. Reneau went back to business offensively for his 16th point of the game. Leo O’Boyle missed a wide-open layup off a feed from Baldwin and found himself back on the bench.

Galloway made it a one-possession game a minute later, but Baldwin once again proved why he is Rhoades’ go-to man. The VCU transfer stopped the Hoosier’s momentum with a bucket on the other end of the court. Out of the media timeout, Indiana cut it to three before sending Baldwin back to the line.

Reneau grabbed an offensive rebound before earning the and-one opportunity. Penn State’s once double-digit lead was down to 56-54. Hicks bolstered the Nittany Lions’ advantage with a triple just a few seconds later. Johnson added to it with his first two-point field goal of the afternoon, forcing an Indiana timeout.

Baldwin forced another Hoosier turnover and Kern laid in a basket in transition. Kern sent the Hoosiers back to the free-throw line but Mackenzie Mgbako missed both shots. Kern was fouled by Walker and went to the line again after the under-eight timeout. Kern sank the free throw and the lead was up to 66-56.

Penn State went cold over the next few minutes and Indiana like it had before started to slowly claw back into the game. Baldwin took over time and time again, scoring his 23rd point of the afternoon. Wahab went for a tip-in off a missed shot by Baldwin and was called for goaltending. Ware came off the bench with his four fouls and went back to work inside, completing a three-point play to cut into the deficit.

After a quick stoppage and review, the Wahab goaltending was overturned to make it 70-63. Wahab then went to the line after being fouled, drilling both. Reneau continued to pick apart the Nittany Lions, scoring inside once again. Ware doubled it up for the Hoosiers, bringing them within five points with under three minutes to play.

On the next possession, Kern went to the line as the fouls persisted. Penn State was able to get a much-needed stop on the other end of the court. With time dwindling down in the game, Hicks drilled a three and got the foul call to complete the four-point play.

With 58.6 seconds left, Hicks was called for his fourth foul on Galloway, sending the senior to the line. Galloway made one of two to cut the deficit to seven points. Indiana had a chance to cut into the lead after a Penn State turnover, but Mgbako missed on a three-pointer. Hicks went to the free throw line as the Hoosiers played the foul game, sinking both attempts.

Indiana threw in the towel from there, electing not to foul in a game that already had 44 fouls called in it. Penn State sealed the deal in the final moments to win its second straight Big Ten game, 83-74.

Takeaways:

  • The Bryce Jordan Center played host to a solid crowd following the Return to Rec game. The general public filled most of the lower bowl and some of the upper deck. Students did not have a great showing behind each basket.
  • Baldwin answered the call every time the phone rang. He was able to get a bucket anytime the Hoosiers showed signs of life. Over the second half of the season, Baldwin has been one of the most complete players in the Big Ten.
  • Hicks can shoot. Rhoades has talked all year that the Temple transfer can shoot it as well as anybody. After Indiana, Penn State is finally starting to see that version of Hicks.

What’s Next?

Penn State will be back in action at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, February 27, in Iowa City. The Nittany Lions take on Iowa on Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

CJ Gill

CJ is a sophomore from McVeytown, Pennsylvania majoring in broadcast journalism and an associate editor at Onward State. He's a huge Phillies fan, which has its pro and cons come October. You can send all disagreements to [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @CJGill14.

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