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Indiana 110, Penn State 102 (3 OT): Poor Free Throw Shooting Dooms Lions’ Shot at Revenge

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Oh, what could have been...

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With James Blackmon Jr. out of the game for Indiana, many thought this would be a golden opportunity for the Nittany Lions to grab a road win to boost their NIT resume. Indiana, however, had other plans. The Hoosiers jumped out to an early five-point lead but PSU erased that swiftly, despite Lamar Stevens sitting out early on with two fouls. From there, IU’s big man Thomas Bryant took over the game in the post, while Josh Newkirk and Robert Johnson led a strong shooting effort from the backcourt, which led to the Hoosiers boosting their lead up to 12 points in the first half. Shep Garner nailed a three-pointer (his third of the night) to cut the deficit to single digits at halftime...

It turns out that trey would give the Lions a little boost going into the second half, as PSU came out firing, with Tony Carr coming to life, scoring 11 points in the first six minutes.

Penn State slowly closed in on the Hoosiers, and was able to fight back every time Indiana jumped ahead. Eventually, though, they had a few opportunities of their own to seal a win, but weren’t able to, both in regulation and in overtime. One call, however, will go down as the controversial one of the game. With the last possession of the first overtime, what looked like a late shot was allowed to go, which sent the game into a second overtime. Penn State battled again to send it to a third, but by then the guys were visibly exhausted and had given everything they had.

Four Factors Analysis

Four Factors

Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 71 1.07 50.0% 35.5% 19.7% 47.3%
Nebraska - 0.94 39.5% 34.0% 11.3% 13.2%

Some of these numbers are a bit skewed due to the three overtimes, but one thing is for certain: Indiana killed Penn State on the glass. The Nittany Lions had no answer for Thomas Bryant inside, and he single handedly willed Indiana in this game, routinely giving the Hoosiers multiple opportunities on offense while limiting the Lions on defense. Also, Indiana’s 23 turnovers went to waste by virtue of Penn State having its worst free throw shooting night of the season. In fact, had they made just a few more free throws down the stretch, this game doesn’t go into 3 overtimes, or two overtimes, for that matter.

Player of the Game - Tony Carr (23 points, 14 assists, 5 rebounds)

This is a wash between Carr and Lamar Stevens, as both had big games and were mostly the reason this game was that close in the first place. Carr’s clutch free throw shooting kept Penn State in the game, and at times it looked as if he weren’t a freshman out there in his first game at Assembly Hall.

Random Observations

What a distraction! - I will never tire of seeing the blown-up pictures of cartoon characters/actors/musicians/Internet memes/ that student sections use in college basketball to distract an opposing free throw shooter.

Freshman giveth, freshman taketh away. - Tony Carr had a huge three in the second overtime to put the Lions down 1, and he got a second chance to put the game away or tie it up on the next Penn State possession. He chose to again go for the win, but this time it didn’t go in. After that, he got fouled and made the two free throws that sent the game to a third overtime. That’s a big 30 second span for the growth of a young freshman.

I’m exhausted too. - I’ve had about 10 hours of sleep in the past three days, so I know exactly how the team felt after that third overtime started. Many of the mistakes they made that essentially sealed the game away weren’t due to anything but the team being downright tired.

Looking Ahead

Penn State (12-11, 4-6) will head back home to face Rutgers this Saturday at the BJC. Tip-off is at 1:00 PM ET on ESPNU. Lions look to sweep the series with the Scarlet Knights and inch closer to .500 in Big Ten play.