I don't even know where to begin with this absurd game, but the biggest thing to take away from a PSU perspective is this team has absolutely no quit in them. Indiana built double-digit leads 5 separate times in the game with dagger after dagger from deep, but PSU responded every time with a little run of their own. They got down 22-15, and answered with a 7-0 run. They were down 37-26, before going on a 11-2 run. Then they were down in the 2nd half 56-46 before cutting that lead to 3. Lastly, they were able to cut a 76-65 deficit with under 5 minutes left to 80-78 before ultimately falling short thanks to 10 straight made free throws by IU down the stretch.
The numbers from this game are all out of whack, but that can happen when one team makes 16 threes on just 24 attempts (66.7%). Indiana's offense today makes a great case for tempo-free stats. Their FG% was a respectable 51% for the game, but their barrage from behind the line boosted their eFG% to 68%, which was the difference in the game. Also, get this; PSU completely dominated inside play for the game. They outscored the Hoosiers 36-10 in points in the paint, while shooting 55% on 2's compared to IU's 35% (22% from non-Zeller players).
Penn State didn't do the best job slowing down the perimeter obviously, as they let IU get into rhythm early. They were caught watching the ball a few times, got beat in transition a few times, but Indiana also was very good moving the ball to open shooters. Their balanced attack is very tough to stop and despite PSU's effort shutting down the lane, IU scored 1.24 points per possession. Matt Roth and Jordan Hulls did nearly all of the damage for the Hoosiers, combining for 50 points on 12-15 shooting from three.
Penn State stayed in the game because they rarely turned the ball over. IU's quick and effective shooting dictated the pace of the game, a pace many of us thought would wear out the Lions. Only 9 turnovers in a 71 possession game is fantastic. But equally as encouraging is the shooting performance of everyone not named Tim Frazier. Frazier was definitely productive with 21 points, but needed 23 shots to get there as he once again struggled from the floor (7-23). IU sagged off on him on the perimeter to respect his quickness, and Frazier was unable to hit anything from outside. However, despite Frazier's shooting woes, the rest of the Nittany Lions shot 64% eFG% for the game. They also had their best day at the foul line, making 21-25 for 84%.
Jermaine Marshall had another solid effort with 20 points as he continues to be PSU's #2 threat. Indiana clearly saw the Purdue tape and were all over Billy Oliver. BO didn't get much action, but he was able to hit 3 tough threes that offered some hope he might have finally found his shooting touch going forward. Matt Glover continued his selfless play, stuffing the stat sheet with 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals. He also did a great job running the point and extending the game after Tim Frazier fouled out with 1:30 to go in the game. Jonathan Graham and Ross Travis also had great games, combining for 16 points and 9 rebounds in 40 minutes. You can see it starting to click for both players. That wasn't more evident than watching Ross Travis miss a point blank shot, get his own rebound, and then realize why wasn't he dunking the ball in the first place.
I will make one remark on the officiating. It was horrible both ways all game long. What did you expect from an Ed Hightower crew?
Looking ahead, PSU has a favorable stretch over the next three games (@ NEB, ILL, MIN) before making the return trip to Bloomington. I'd like to think PSU could win a game or two during that stretch, but it is important to not get carried away. This team has played over their heads the last few games, so a few letdowns should be expected. It's so great to see the progress of the team this ahead of schedule, however. Coach Chambers has been doing a remarkable job, and they deserve some fan support.