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Indiana 76, Penn State 73: Second Half Comeback Falls Seconds Short

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Penn State came within tenths of a second of a second consecutive Assembly Hall comeback.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

A little less than one year ago, Penn State found itself down 11 points with just over three minutes remaining in Assembly Hall. Using a 13-1 game ending run, the Lions came back that night to complete with a thrilling 66-65 win over the Hoosiers.

With 6:53 left this evening, the Lions trailed by 12, and with 3:28 to play, the deficit remained at 7. Yet, with 14 seconds left, PSU found itself with the ball, and a shot to force overtime. D.J. Newbill would instead fumble a pass, recover to call timeout with 4 seconds remaining. The in bounds pass went to Newbill, whose desperation shot was off line, but found its way to Brandon Taylor. Taylor retreated to the 3-point line, drained his own prayer, fractions of a second after the clock struck zero.

Penn State found itself down 11 early on the first half, but put together their first of several rallies on the evening, actually taking the lead late in the first half. But whenever the Lions needed a stop on the defensive end, it never seemed to come. The Hoosiers would rally behind Stanford Robinson, and Robert Johnson to take a 39-34 lead into the break.

PSU started out strong in the second half, hanging around throughout the early stages, and finally putting together a small run, capped by a Jordan Dickerson putback hook, tying the game at 51. PSU had several chances to take the lead, but could not find the shot that may have put them over the top. Indiana finally responded with a 13-2 run that would give them just enough cushion to close out the game.

Four Factors Analysis

Team Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 68 1.08 50.0% 35.1% 13.3% 16.7
Indiana - 1.12 55.5% 20.0% 13.3% 38.2

If you're looking for the difference in the game here, obviously the free throw rate jumps out. While IU certainly benefited a little from the traditional Assembly Hall advantage, they were certainly the more aggressive team and earned those trips to the line, and they took advantage.

Player of the Game - Ross Travis

If this Ross Travis had showed up in the first three conference games, PSU may not be looking at an 0-4 start in the league. He was aggressive on the glass, and aggressive on the dribble, rather than settling for jump shots. 14 points and 8 rebounds say as much. If Travis can use this game as a springboard going forward, the Lions will find that first win sooner rather than later.

Random Observations

  • Live by the 3, die by the 3 - PSU was just 4 for 24 from behind the arc tonight. Obviously if just a couple more of those fall, the results are a bit different. There were a few forced shots, particularly from freshman guard Shep Garner, but by in large, they were quality looks that just did not fall.
  • Same old story - The foul issues continue to plague the front court, with Dickerson, Julian Moore, Donovon Jack, and Payton Banks all picking up 3 fouls before the under-12 timeout. Credit Indiana's aggression, but PSU needs to find a way to keep their best post players on the floor, not the bench.
  • Should wear gloves, imo - Gotta think D.J. plays that fumbled pass over in his mind a bit in the next day or two. He came off the screen perfectly to take an open 3, but just rushed things enough to not catch the pass cleanly.  I think PSU definitely got the look they wanted there, the execution from their MVP just wasn't there tonight.

Looking Ahead

PSU hosts Purdue on Saturday afternoon in the Jordan Center. The Boilermakers are off this week after falling to Maryland in Mackey Arena last Saturday. On the season, Matt Painter's club is 10-7, and 2-2 in the Big 10. More on Purdue on Friday.