Nittany Lions Remain Winless in Conference With Loss to Indiana

Story posted January 24, 2013 in Sports, CommRadio by Jason Shawley

Going into Wednesday night, Penn State (8-11, 0-7) had been struggling mightily against Big Ten opponents. The Nittany Lions lost all six games by a combined 79 points, with their best chance at a win coming Saturday, falling 68-64 against Nebraska at the Bryce Jordan Center. It did not get any better against Indiana (17-2, 5-1) as the Nittany Lions fell in Bloomington 72-49. 

Indiana is heading in an opposite direction. Ranked eighth in the country and owning one of the top scoring offenses in college basketball, the Hoosiers are 4-1 in the Big Ten and have lost just two games the entire season. Their only losses came at the hands of Butler (in overtime) and Wisconsin.

Penn State has been struggling within the Big Ten in the absence of their star point guard, Tim Frazier, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury back in November. Mississippi State transfer D.J. Newbill has been the Nittany Lions’ point guard and top performer since Frazier went down.  

The Hoosiers came out strong against the Nittany Lions, starting the game on a 7-0 run. Penn State coach Pat Chambers wasted no time in calling his first time out. After the stoppage, Penn State seemed to settle down and score a few points to bring the Nittany Lions within three.

Penn State kept the game relatively close throughout the first half but was never able to sustain offense for a long period of time to keep the deficit within single digits.

Indiana outworked the Nittany Lions on the offensive boards in the first half, creating numerous second and third opportunities for the Hoosiers. The size of the Hoosiers - namely Cody Zeller - showed against Penn State as they had trouble rebounding with Indiana. 

Penn State’s play, overall, was very sloppy in the first half. The Nittany Lions sent Indiana to the free throw line 14 times. Luckily for Penn State, the Hoosiers only converted on eight of the attempts.

Will Sheehey came alive for Indiana at the end of the first half, knocking down two three-pointers and adding another two to help the Hoosiers to a 33-19 halftime lead.

The second half started much like the first with Pat Chambers seeing his team outscored 8-0 to start the half. A quick timeout again helped the Nittany Lions regroup and make an 8-3 run of their own. The momentum was only temporary, though, as Indiana’s outside shooting started to heat up. Sheehey and Kevin Ferrell were the main contributors behind the arc for Indiana, knocking down three each. Victor Oladipo and Jordan Hulls had two from long range while Christian Watford also added one.

Penn State received the majority of their offensive production inside with Newbill coming alive for the Nittany Lions in the second half with 14 of his 18 total points in the game. Newbill led all scorers for the Lions.

Indiana continued to slowly add to their lead as they shot the ball well throughout the entire second half. Oladipo was able to contribute more than just his outside shot. He finished the game with 19 points and led all Hoosiers in scoring.

Penn State was in foul trouble for the majority of the second half, seeing three of their players leaving the game with five personal fouls.

The Lions’ play may have been sloppy, but their effort was never lacking. Nittany Lions fans have gotten used to seeing a lot of hustle from their team and that has been the case since Patrick Chambers took over the team last season. D.J. Newbill was able to add to his production in the second half with a few second chance baskets as a result of the Nittany Lions sprinting up and down the court all game long despite the score.

Penn State finished the game with a season-high 29 fouls and three players fouled out. Despite leaving the game early, Jermaine Marshall finished his night with twelve points, which trailed only Newbill for the Nittany Lions.

The Lion’s struggles behind the arc were evident, as seen by a scoreless night from Brandon Taylor. The freshman was 0-for-6 in the game and 0-for-3 from three-point range. Taylor has been one of Penn State’s main contributors from long range this season.

Penn State will look for its first conference win of the season Saturday, as they welcome Ohio State to the Bryce Jordan Center. Indiana will remain home to play Michigan State on Sunday.

 

Jason Shawley is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, e-mail jts5353@psu.edu.