Penn State Upsets No. 22 Indiana

Story posted February 7, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Ryan Stevens

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the country lost on the same day to unranked opponents on Saturday for only the seventh time ever in college basketball history. The trend continued down the polls with No. 22 Indiana falling 68-63 to Penn State in front of 10,351 in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Senior forward Brandon Taylor led all scorers with 24 points on 10 of 20 shooting from the field, including 11 in the last 10 minutes. He has scored in double digits in every game this season except for two.

Taylor knocked down a pivotal three pointer with 3:17 left in the game to give Penn State a 58-56 lead and never allowed the Hoosiers to lead after that point.

“Who could take the most punches was going to be the team to win. Throughout the season, we’ve taken a lot of punches and not giving up is the reason we came out of this with the win,” Taylor said. “I’m glad my teammates trusted me to take that shot and make that shot.”

Penn State (12-12, 3-8) pitched in one of their best defensive efforts of the season, forcing 11 turnovers from the Hoosiers in the first half. Indiana (19-5, 9-2) only shot 36 percent on Saturday after torching Michigan for 50 percent five days ago in Ann Arbor.

Indiana’s highly ranked adjusted offensive pace would have figured to prove troublesome for Penn State’s slower style, but Penn State went a different route. Senior center Jordan Dickerson and sophomore forward Julian Moore both got the starting nod. Taylor said the Nittany Lions tried to ‘speed up’ Indiana to force more turnovers.

Neither team wanted to take control of tempo in the second half, as there was a stretch when both teams combined to make four out of 22 shot attempts at one point.

The Nittany Lions’ largest lead of the evening was six in a game that featured 14 lead changes.

Senior guard Devin Foster came off the bench to contribute one of his best games as a Nittany Lion with 13 points with an array of shot selections. Foster’s added role came at a huge time for Penn State with freshman guard Josh Reaves back in the lineup for the first time since an illness. Reaves played only 10 minutes in a limited role.

Sophomore guard Shep Garner made only four shots on 13 attempts, but made crucial free throws in the final minutes to finish with 12 points.

After an emotional road loss a week ago in Madison Square Garden to Michigan and then a blowout loss at Iowa earlier in the week, it seems Penn State took a step forward according to head coach Pat Chambers.

“We were obviously on a losing streak and we were kind of on that roller coaster,” Chambers said. “They believed that they were good enough, tough enough and prepared enough to win this game.”

After an up and down start to the season, Indiana reeled off 14 wins in their last 15 games entering the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday and climbed to a tie in the Big Ten.

Redshirt senior guard Nick Zeisloft kept Indiana in the game with a team-high 14 points on four of seven shooting. All of his made shots came from outside the arc on an evening when Indiana made only nine as a team.

“When we weren’t making as many shots as we needed to make, it affected us on the defensive end,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean said. “We’ve had other games, like Tuesday night, where we were outstanding on that.”

Freshman center Thomas Bryant was limited in the first half after picking up three fouls and could never assert himself in the Hoosier offense. Bryant finished with 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

“We have to do a better job of getting the ball. He has to do a better job of escaping the contact,” Crean said.

Both sides threw punches Saturday night, but Penn State was able to land the final blow in a hard fought Big Ten bout.

“It’s just nice to throw a punch and not get on the ropes and stay in the middle of the ring,” Chambers said.

The Nittany Lions hit the road next Saturday at Nebraska and the Hoosiers will welcome the top ranked team in the Big Ten, Iowa, on Thursday.

Ryan Stevens is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email ryanandrewstevens@gmail.com.

About the Contributors

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Ryan Stevens

Senior / Broadcast Journalism

Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english.  He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.

During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.

Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.

Ryan is also a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. He can be reached via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and following him on twitter @RyanAStevens.