Shortly before tip-off on Tuesday night, Penn State announced that Josh Reaves would be missing the game against Indiana. The program said that Reaves stayed behind in State College to “attend to some academic concerns.” The Nittany Lions ended up losing in Bloomington, 74-70.
It was another frustrating result, as we watched Penn State come up short once again in a game that could have helped change the program’s postseason fate. Certainly, Reaves could have made a difference, as the trio of Tony Carr, Lamar Stevens, and Mike Watkins combined to score all but 12 of the Penn State’s points.
Head coach Pat Chambers talked about Reaves’s absence after the game.
We were definitely out of sync. I think that was noticeable. There’s some stretches where Josh could really lift us up, get a rebound, get a stop. He’s long, he’s very athletic. He’s one of our best assist guys. So, I think Tony and Lamar had to take on a little bit more especially in the first half to just keep it where it was at 35-31. And then give Indiana credit. They came out and jumped us the first eight minutes, but Josh Reeves just brings the energy, he just brings juice, and hopefully we’ll have him back Friday and if not, we’re going to make some adjustments and watch this film and get better.
Like Chambers said, Reaves was missed not just for his scoring and defending, but for his passing skills as well. The Lions recorded just eight assists on 26 made baskets while turning the ball over 14 times.
Nazeer Bostick started in Reaves’s place and played solid defense, but his offensive contribution was limited. The sophomore scored five points with five rebounds and three turnovers.
In order to reach the NCAA Tournament this season, Penn State will need to win more games against the soft middle of the Big Ten that includes pretty much everyone save for Michigan State, Purdue, and Ohio State. Getting Reaves back on Friday like the team is hoping for would be a big help in a must-win home game against a surprising Nebraska squad.