Penn State Men’s Basketball Game Preview vs. Indiana

Story posted January 25, 2022 in Sports, CommRadio by Jonathan Draeger

The Penn State Nittany Lions have had quite the skid as of late, dropping their last two games on the road against then No. 16 Ohio State Buckeyes and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Head coach Micah Shrewsberry and his team finish off their three-game road trip in Bloomington as the Nittany Lions square off against the Indiana Hoosiers for the second time this season. In their first meeting, Penn State squeaked out a 61-58 win at the Bryce Jordan Center on Jan. 2.

Last time out for the Blue and White, the team suffered a 17-point loss to the Hawkeyes in Iowa City on,  68-51. Senior guard Jalen Pickett was the only Nittany Lion to eclipse the double-digit point mark with 14 points on 5-for-12 shooting.

The Nittany Lions continued to struggle from the floor, shooting 33.3% all around the court and 28% from the parking lot. A majority of it comes from junior forward Seth Lundy, who went 3-11 from the floor and 2-7 from three, continuing his struggles offensively.

The big offensive storyline came from senior forward John Harrar, who had a quiet night all around. The big man from Delaware County shot 0-4 from the field, with five rebounds and one assist, which are well below his averages.
Defensively, Penn State continued its strong ways to hold opponents under their season point total averages. Iowa, who averages around 83 points per game was held to 68 points, becoming the tenth team to fall victim to being held under 10 points below their season averages.

A big contribution to that feat was limiting one of the nation’s leading scorers in Keegan Murray. Averaging 23.9 points per game entering their matchup, Murray was held to only 15 points.

His lack of production was spread out amongst the rest of the team, with three other players contributing double-digit points. Penn State did keep it close at times, but could not get ahead nearing the end.

Shrewsberry discussed the differences between the offense and defense this season, quoting how the defense is ranked No. 59 in the nation compared to the offense, which is No. 105 in the country. “We’ll go in stretches where we’re guarding and getting stops, but we’re not scoring,” Shrewsberry said.

Looking to Indiana, its last two games have been a tale of two cities. The Hoosiers, however, have a lot more on their mind than revenge.

Before their matchup against the Michigan Wolverines on Jan. 23, Indiana managed to get the monkey off their backs by beating Purdue for the first time since 2017, snapping a nine-game losing streak. The next game would be quite the letdown spot for coach Mike Woodson’s team.

Michigan played like how the media thought they would play all season long: dominant with their big three. Hunter Dickinson led the charge with 25 points, followed by the freshmen duo of Caleb Houstan and Moussa Diabate combining for 29 points.

Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis and Xavier Johnson contributed with double-digit points, but could not seem to get any help from elsewhere, especially off the bench. Making matters worse, it was a home loss, which can ignite a team’s will power to play grittier next time around.

The last time Penn State and Indiana squared off at Assembly Hall, the Hoosiers walked out of the building with a two-point overtime win. Both teams are coming off big losses which can make or break a season.

With what the Hoosiers dealt with mixed in with the environment, a long day may be in store for the Nittany Lions.

Prediction: Indiana 66, Penn State 52

 

Jonathan Draeger is a second-year majoring in broadcast journalism. You can contact him at jrd6052@psu.edu.