On the surface it looks like a horrible 16 point loss on the road. But it wasn't that bad. For 30 minutes the Penn State Nittany Lions gave the Indiana Hoosiers all they could handle. Midway through the second half the score was tied at 54, and Penn State had held several leads before that. But then the veteran Indiana team got it together and simply played perfect basketball over the final ten minutes to pull away while the young Penn State squad struggled to do anything right.
Talor Battle led Penn State with 20 points while Jamelle Cornley threw down his usual 19, but the Lions just couldn't find a third scorer. Danny Morrissey was third on the team with 8 points and two players tied for six.
But what really killed Penn State was the defense. The inside/outside ocmbination of DJ White and Eric Gordon were too much to handle. White had his way inside all night going 8-of-11 from the field. Meanwhile Gordon and Armon Bassett were deadly from behind the arc hitting 10 of 17 shots.
Realistically I didn't think we had a chance in this game, but after playing so well for three quarters of the game on the road I'm starting to think maybe this team isn't completely hopeless. Even before Claxton went down this team struggled early on and had to play themselves into a good team. It's evident the talent is there to at least compete with the Big Ten's elite teams. If they can stay focused for a full 40 minutes they can win. Going forward that is going to be the challenge.
From here on our mantra should be "Six More Wins". The must win games are the home games against Michigan, Iowa, and Illinois and the road game against Michigan. Then we have to steal two more somewhere. Possibilities are Purdue or Ohio State at home or Minnesota and Iowa on the road.