Both Penn State and Indiana were coming off rough outings in the past week, and both teams needed this game to stop the skid. The Hoosiers lost to Iowa on the road and Northwestern at home, while the Lions battled hard in both first halves against Michigan and Purdue, but faltered in the second half of each. As a result, this game became a must have for two teams looking to stay out of the Big Ten basement. This fact is much more bewildering to Indiana, as they had aspirations of a Big Ten title, and maybe more, at the beginning of the season.
The game started exactly as you would expect to teams who really want to win. The Lions started fast, scoring a quick 10 points, eight of which came from Seth Lundy. The Hoosiers, kept pace as well, tying it at 10 at the first media timeout. A bit of a lull between the under-16 and the under-8 timeouts separated an offensive explosion by the Lions, powered by a string of Indiana turnovers that saw a 3-point game at the 5:30 mark turn into a 14-point Penn State lead with 40 seconds left, which would become an 11-point halftime lead on Indiana’s first three of the night. Penn State, on the other hand, had already made made nine threes to that point.
The second half started like the first, but it was Indiana who got into a bit of a run. The would shrink the deficit to five with about 15:40 left to play, but, shortly after that, it was all Penn State. The Nittany Lions opened up a 10-point lead about a minute later, for the bulk of the middle portion of the half, it would stay within that range. Just like they did in the first half though, once the under-8 media timeout hit, they kicked into another gear. The Lions had a 20 point lead at the 5-minute mark, and the rest of the game was merely a formality.
Player of the Game
Seth Lundy - 25 points, 6 rebounds, 2 blocks
Lundy was a man possessed in this game. He shot seven threes, was his usual nuisance self on defense, and he catalyzed the rest of the Lions from the get-go. On a day where Jalen Pickett had a pedestrian outing, Lundy more than picked up the slack to keep this game out of the Hoosiers’ reach.
The one thousand club - Myles Dread joined last week, and now Lundy becomes the fifth active Nittany Lion with 1,000 points for his career (the other three being Pickett, Wynter, and Funk).
Didn’t need ‘em anyway - Penn State shot four free throws to Indiana’s 18, and the first one wouldn’t come until the 5:21 mark in the second half. Yes, part of that is due to the Lions’ style of play, but Micah Shrewberry tore the refs a new one on Sunday for a reason. Luckily, Penn State was shooting lights out anyway, and it didn’t come down to the charity stripe.
.500 - Penn State needs to hover around .500 in conference play if it wants to remain in the NCAA Tournament conversation. This win puts them at 3-3, and with the schedule letting up considerably after the Wisconsin contest, there’s a chance to pick up more victories.
Another 18 - Penn State tied its three-point field goal record at 18 in this game. They set the record earlier this season against Winthrop.
Penn State takes its show back on the road as they face Wisconsin on Tuesday, January 17. If the Badgers continue to play without Tyler Wahl, this is one the Lions can take. Game tips off at 8:30 PM Eastern on the B1G Network.