Indiana led by nearly 20 points in the first half but the Lions came back to take the lead early in the second half. It was a very competitive game on the road for the Lions, who played without Myreon Jones for the 5th game in a row.
Just a few minutes in the Hoosiers went on a 12-1 run, taking a 14-5 lead. Mike Watkins hit a free throw to break the run. Indiana started 6 of 8 from the floor and Penn State was just 2 of 8.
Pat Chambers called timeout just 8 seconds short of the under-12 stoppage when the lead got to 12. Lamar Stevens got the ball on the next two possessions, reestablishing the direction of the offense. Stevens then got a very questionable second foul and had to go to the bench with more than 10 minutes to go in the first half.
Stevens came back in and hit baskets on consecutive possessions to settle the Lions down after Indiana extended the lead. It was a risk that Chambers had to take with his team struggling on the road. Three Penn State starters had 2 fouls at that point. Mike Watkins hit a tough basket and a foul shot to cut the lead to 11. Myles Dread missed two free throws and with less than 5 minutes to go, only Watkins and Stevens had scored for Pat Chambers’ team.
Watkins hit a jumper and Izaiah Brockington made a free throw to cap a 10-2 run to get the game back under double-digits, 26-18. Indiana answered with a quick 5 points and the crowd got very loud inside Assembly Hall.
Devonte Green hit two 3-point shots in a row and the crowd went crazy. It was an 11-0 run that had the Hoosiers up 17 with 2:13 to go. Lamar Stevens hit a layup to end the run and then stole the ball and got to the line, cutting the lead to 37-22.
Trent Buttrick came in late in the first half and provided a spark, grabbing 2 rebounds and getting a bucket to cut the lead to 13 at the break. It wasn’t much but the timely contribution came with the Lions struggling and Stevens on the bench. Buttrick was the team’s third-leading scorer at that point.
Penn State came out of the locker room with an intensity that it lacked early in the game. The defense was suffocating and the shots started to go in.
Myles Dread and Lamar Stevens scored to get the lead back under 10. Stevens hit another basket and then a foul shot to cut the lead to 37-31 with 18:08 to go. Seth Lundy had a steal and then a block, then Dread added a 3 to cut the lead in half. Stevens took the ball coast to coast to cut the lead to 1.
Indiana answered, getting a hoop from Trayce Jackson-Davis to stop the run. Dread tied the game with a three on the next possession. Penn State took the lead on a Lamar Stevens layup, making it all the way back.
The Lions were on a 24-5 run to that point. After getting the lead to 6, the Hoosiers came back to take a 49-48 lead with 10 minutes to play. The defense continued to keep Penn State in it while Indiana came back to life. Lamar Stevens made this clean block with 3 fouls, not willing to give up the fast-break layup.
The Hoosier lead got to 7 when Trayce Jackson-Davis dunked and got the fourth foul on Stevens while doing it. It didn’t slow him down, as Stevens scored to end the 5-minute field goal drought on the next trip down the floor, trailing 55-50.
Jamari Wheeler got a steal and a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 3 with 4 minutes to play. Indiana built the lead back to 7 with 1:50 to go. Lamar Stevens hit a tough shot to cut back into the lead. With under a minute to play, the Lions began to foul, extending the game while down 5.
Lamar Stevens missed a dunk that could have cut the lead to 3 with 40 seconds to play. It was as close as the Lions would get, as the Hoosiers made foul shots and extended the lead.
- It’s becoming hard to remember what the Penn State team was like when it had Myreon Jones in the lineup. Jones has missed the past five games, which means he hasn’t played since February 4 against Michigan State. He scored 20 points on 6 of 8 shooting from 3-point range against the Spartans. The Lions will get a huge lift when he returns, whenever that may be, hopefully soon.
- The first half was ugly at times for the Lions, who had 9 turnovers compared to 5 for the Hoosiers. There were foul calls on both teams that were questionable but as the chaos was unfolding, Indiana was extending a double-digit lead. Five missed free throws also made it harder than it needed to be for Penn State. An 0 for 6 start from behind the arc, compared to 4 of 8 on the other side didn’t help either.
- The start of the second half was a torrent of defense that Penn State can unleash at any time. Hands were in passing lanes, shots were contested and the team played awesome. It was a great response to a slow first half.
The Lions return home for a match-up against Rutgers. The first game went to the Scarlet Knights, a 72-61 battle at the RAC, one of only two games that Penn State has lost by more than 10 points this year. The game will be on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.