It's been incredibly hard to focus on writing this the last 36 hours. My free time has been spent reading all of the wonderful memories and perspectives. It's become obvious that we are all better people because of Joe Paterno, regardless of how well you knew him. Our lives would not be what they are today if it wasn't for this great man. Rest easy, Joe, we are all indebted to carry your legacy on forever.
Anyway, our poor hoops team had to play game just a few short hours after the news broke. It's important to recognize and appreciate the class Indiana University showed, holding a moment of silence for Paterno before the game in Assembly Hall. The players wore black ribbons in honor of Paterno courtesy of Coach Chambers' wife, Courtney.
But as far as the game went, they unfortunately were unable to pull off a slight miracle to honor Joe Pa. This game seemingly was no different than any other Big Ten road game for this team. In their first 4 conference road games so far, PSU has lost them all in similar fashion - 71-53, 68-56, 70-58, and 73-54. This time around, Penn State was blown out in a 2nd half marred by 32 fouls, 4 technicals, and 1 ejection.
Penn State was competitive for the first 20 minutes, taking a 2 point lead into halftime. They weren't shooting particularly well, but the Hoosiers weren't either (in part due to solid Penn State defense). However, Indiana came out of halftime much more aggressive on both ends of the floor and PSU's shooting went south in a hurry. Indiana had one of the most efficient halves of the season by scoring 1.59 PPP on 76.1% eFG% shooting (compared to PSU's 27.3% 2nd half mark).
Tim Frazier had his 10th 20+ point game of the season, which leads the Big Ten, but he had to shoot 42% eFG% to get there (21 points on 7-18 shooting). It's hard to imagine how ugly this would've been if they didn't have Nick Colella, who hit 3 of PSU's 4 threes in the game for a career-high 11 points. Cam Woodyard and Jermaine Marshall combined for 0-8 from 3 on mostly open looks. Matt Glover's offensive game is still a work in progress, but he continues to get to the foul line. He shot 9 free throws on just 5 field goal attempts yesterday, but the problem is he's a 50% foul shooter. Jon Graham and Sasa Borovnjak weren't effective inside.
Defensively, PSU had no answer for Cody Zeller. The freshmen big man tore up the interior for 18 points on 7-8 shooting and had 4 blocks on defense. As usual, Zeller's success opened up the rest of IU's offense, and they hit 5 threes in the second half. The constant whistles from the officiating crew completely disrupted any flow in the second half. However, it was inconsistent both ways and it sure didn't seem to slow down the Hoosiers. I do feel like it did have an effect on the tempers that flared at the end of the game.
I honestly missed the last 10 minutes of the game and all of its theatrics. Nick Colella and Will Sheehey both received technicals with 5 minutes left, but the biggest controversy came in the last minute. First, Pat Chambers took a full timeout with the game well over. Then Christian Watford attempted a three-pointer with 6 seconds left up 17. Matt Glover didn't take too kind to the attempt and fouled him hard. That led to a little 'scuffle' and some more jawing from both sides. Will Sheehey and Ross Travis got into it and they both received technicals, as well. Since it was Sheehey's 2nd, he was ejected.
Granted, I didn't see it live. But isn't the criticism of both teams' players from both sides a little ridiculous? Yeah, Indiana shouldn't have shot that three, but the shot clock was winding down and PSU did call timeout as if the game was still in reach. This was just a hard-nosed battle, and I, for one, was encouraged to see this young team make a stand for themselves in such a big venue. I'm thankful it didn't turn ugly, but it's nice to see these guys cared that they were getting whooped. It's all a part of changing the culture, because way too many PSU teams have laid down in the past.