Game Grades: Penn State vs. Indiana
The Penn State Nittany Lions squared off against the Indiana Hoosiers at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday night. The Nittany Lions (11-12) looked to bounce back after a tough loss to Iowa, but had a difficult task ahead of them with the Big Ten leading Hoosiers (19-4). In impressive fashion, Penn State was able to grind out an upset 68-63 win against a team ranked 22nd in the nation. Brandon Taylor led the way for the Lions, with 24 points and 6 rebounds. Yogi Ferrell had 13 points and 5 assists for the Hoosiers.
Shep Garner had a decent game with 12 points and six rebounds, but the dynamic guard struggled to impose himself on the contest. He was anonymous for parts of the first half, with the Indiana guards able to keep him from creating space. Garner found more success in the second half, as he was able to get to the line more often and hit several clutch free throws with the lead on the line. Payton Banks joined him in the backcourt as the Nittany Lions started with a lineup focused on size. Banks was able to add seven points and three assists, but this was not one of his better performances on the season.
Brandon Taylor had another great game, finding success from both inside and outside the arc. He finished with 24 points and six rebounds. At times, Taylor dominated the Indiana bigs, having his way in the paint early. As Indiana sought to make a defensive improvement in the second half by guarding Taylor more tightly, Taylor made adjustments to create more space for himself. The senior came up clutch down the stretch, and was one of the main reasons Penn State was able to hold off an Indiana comeback. Julian Moore was able to contribute seven points, but Taylor carried the offensive and defensive load for much of the game, good enough to earn the frontcourt an A.
Devin Foster led the way with an excellent performance off the bench, going an impressive 5-6 from the field, with a couple of three pointers. The guard also found a lot of success driving into the lane, with several of his 13 points coming on the inside. The only other scorer off the bench was Isaiah Washington, who contributed three points, but Foster’s play alone is why the bench received a B.
Pat Chambers made a potentially risky move starting a bigger lineup, but for the most part, it paid off. The Nittany Lions were able to stymie the Indiana offense, denying them easy access to the paint There were parts of the first half where Indiana seemed to finally figure out the Penn State defense, but by giving Foster big minutes off the bench, Chambers allowed his offense to match Indiana’s scoring. While much of the accolade will go to Taylor for this win, Chambers certainly deserves some credit.