Game Grades: Indiana
The Indiana Hoosiers defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 87-85 in overtime on Wednesday night. This marks the first conference win for Archie Miller’s team, as the Nittany Lions fall to 0-3 in Big Ten play and 3-4 on the year. This road game for Jim Ferry’s crew precedes a four-game stand against ranked opponents.
On both sides of the floor, the Nittany Lions had their ups and down for the entire 45 minutes of action. As we look back at their performance, the report card will show their status in a gritty Big Ten conference.
Penn State’s offense reverted to its normal style of play: the 3-ball. Shooting a total of 43% from behind the arc is this team’s strong suit.
The Nittany Lions only converted 48% of their total shots on Wednesday, but in looking at the size differences of the two teams, it should be considered a win. The Nittany Lions outrebounded the Hoosiers on the offensive side of the floor, which aided in their comeback effort in the second half.
The main cause for concern for the Nittany Lions was one of the constant problems over the course of the season: turnovers. Giving up the rock 15 times can swing momentum in favor of the opposition, and Indiana capitalized with 14 points off those turnovers.
The bench helped the starters who struggled to make shots in the first half, but guards Izaiah Brockington and Seth Lundy flipped the switch in the second frame, with Brockington scoring 15 points and Lundy scoring 10. Guard Sam Sessoms aided off the pine with 17 points, while Myreon Jones led the team with 20.
Penn State has one of the more elite defenses in the Big Ten, but the Nittany Lions looked awfully flat in many areas. Whether the team decided to go with a 2-3 zone or stick with man coverage, Indiana found ways around the schemes.
One major concern has to be the frontcourt, where the king of Delco John Harrar and forward Trent Buttrick allowed 50 points in the paint. The big men have struggled to contain opposing centers and force contested layups, and opposing teams are taking note of that as the season continues.
Along with points under the hoop, foul troubles continue for this Nittany Lions team. They got into foul trouble early, which allowed the Hoosiers to go to the free-throw line only halfway through the first half.
The defense did make clutch steals in key moments of the game, with continuous defensive rebounds on one side of the floor and the rotations in the man defense causing those turnovers. But the transition defense had holes, and Archie Miller’s team took advantage of running the floor on Jim Ferry’s squad.
Even when the Hoosiers were up by as many as 12 points, the Nittany Lions never gave up. They rallied the whole game, leading only twice in the overtime thriller.
The team made runs constantly throughout the game, cutting the lead to just one point at multiple moments in the second half. As the end of regulation approached, Penn State kept its foot on the gas pedal and played until the final buzzer.
In games that seem over in the first half, the Nittany Lions find a way to get back into it. They may not have won all these close games, but there will be a time when they finally close a game out with a win.
The Nittany Lions get back to the hardwood on Sunday, as the sixth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers make their way to the Bryce Jordan Center.
Jonathan Draeger is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.