When you reflect on a game like this, it's pretty incredible what one team has to frantically accomplish in a game's waning moments to overcome a large deficit. It's truly remarkable when it hits you that one play couldn't have happened without the one before it. Surely this team will find themselves on KenPom's weekly review once again for the unlikeliest of comebacks.
Penn State never really found any groove in this game on offense and had all kinds of issues matching IU's superior talent on defense for the first 30 minutes. The Lions converted on a few long 3's to keep them in the game, but it just seemed like a matter of time before the Hoosiers would open it up.
It looked inevitable after an open Ferrell three-pointer gave the home team a 54-41 edge with 11:22 left. But the Lions took advantage of the free possessions handed to them and made a quick run to cut it to 56-51 after a driving Geno Thorpe floater plus the foul at the under-8 media timeout.
But after the timeout, PSU came out and did everything wrong, as we've seen so often with this bunch. Geno missed the foul shot and then the Lions turned it over on four straight possessions. The Indiana lead was back to 12 and an ugly game was finally coming to an end.
Game over, right? Not with Tom Crean on the opposing sideline...
DJ Newbill hit a big three after struggling all game, Brandon Taylor had two incredible back-to-back possessions for 5 points and then Tim Frazier came through with the game-winner. All of which were aided by four forced turnovers in the last two minutes of the game, including two steals off in-bounds with less than 15 seconds remaining. A horrendous charging call by the worst official in the game today, Mike Kitts, was not enough to deter these Lions from snatching a huge victory.
Four Factors Analysis
The only way PSU was able to stay in the game for so long was because of Indiana's turnovers. They had two 10-second violations, one 5-second violation, and 2 consecutive turnovers on in-bounds in the last 15 seconds. I would not want to be an Indiana fan.
For the majority of the game, when IU wasn't turning the ball over, they were scoring at will. No one could stay in front of Yogi Ferrell which led to a plethora of drives, dunks and open 3's. It was some of PSU's worst defensive play in some time, but they stayed the course and turned it up down the stretch.
Player of the Game
Tim Frazier. Redemption. 14 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 block. One game-winning killer crossover.
- Donovon Jack - Yes, he's still too weak, but the man was not intimidated by Noah Vonleh, a future lottery pick later the year. He might've been dunked on here or there, but he was competing effectively to the tune of 10 points and 6 rebounds.
- Jordan Dickerson - He's gonna want to burn this game tape. Not sure he was able to do anything right tonight. Get 'em next time, big fella.
- New Rotations, New Vibrations - Chambers really threw out some crazy lineups tonight, including Geno Thorpe entering after just 6 minutes in the first half. Bench minutes certainly helped PSU turn up the full-court pressure down the stretch. Kudos to you, Pat.
- Right Place, Right Time - Penn State led this game for 6 total seconds. Frazier's layup was the first lead of the game
- Crean'd - Thanks, Tom.
Penn State will now host the #16th ranked Iowa Hawkeyes at the BJC on Saturday. The Hawkeyes have the week off, so they'll be coming to town well-rested. It will not be an easy task for the Lions to match-up with Iowa's depth and athleticism, but stranger things have happened. Like tonight.