Penn State had possession of the ball with 2.3 seconds to play, down two. The inbound pass from underneath the basket to Lamar Stevens was stolen by Indiana and the the Lions lost another close game.
The game could have gone for Penn State but it wasn’t in the cards. This was the third loss, out of four, that Penn State had a shot to tie or win on the last possession of the game and came up short. The foul shooting was a sore spot for the Lions, who converted just 11 of their 26 attempts.
For those who will fall into a spiral of negativity due to the fact that Penn State has lost its first two Big Ten games, remember that the team was in a similar spot last season. There is plenty of talent on the roster and while winning is very important, we should not overlook the fact that the guys played toe to toe with a solid Big Ten team.
There is plenty of season yet to play out.
How It Happened
Penn State came out with smothering defense right out of the gate, holding Indiana scoreless for the opening five and a half minutes, taking a 9-0 lead. Lamar Stevens had 4 points, 4 rebounds, an assist and a steal at the first timeout.
The Lions went cold from the floor, going without a point for over four minutes before Stevens got to the line, hitting one of two. It was 10-4 with 11:44 to go before the half.
Stevens hit a much-needed two to break an Indiana 13-1 run. Jamari Wheeler hit a two on the next possession and then Stevens got back to the line to break the drought, hitting the front end of a one and one to tie the game at 15.
Mike Watkins scored four consecutive points, after having only 2 all season, helping out on the offensive end. Penn State started just 2 of 11 from the line which contributed to the 24-19 deficit that they found themselves in. John Harrar grabbed an offensive rebound and got fouled, hitting them both to cut into the lead.
Romeo Langford hit two step-back 3-pointers and had 15 points to pace Indiana to a 29-23 lead with 3 minutes to go before the half. Rasir Bolton hit a 3-pointer late in the half but Indiana was able to hold a 34-30 lead.
The Hoosiers continued to build the lead, forcing Chambers to call a timeout early in the second half, trailing 41-32. The spread got to 14 before Rasir Bolton drove and got fouled, completing the 3-point play. Myles Dread scored 5 straight to cut the lead to 8.
Myreon Jones hit a deep ball to get the Lions to within 7 with 9 minutes to play and then hit a foul-line jumper on the next possession. Lamar Stevens hit a tough bucket to cut the Indiana lead to 54-50 with 7 minutes to play.
Indiana stretched the lead back to 9 with 4:28 to play and Chambers had to call timeout once again to stop momentum. Rasir Bolton hit a 3-pointer a minute later to cut the lead to 8 and then got fouled on the next possession, adding two foul shots.
Josh Reaves got a steal that led to free throws but he missed them both, with a chance to cut the lead to 4 with 2 minutes to play. Rasir Bolton hit a bucket to cut it to 4 on the next trip and Indiana called timeout with 1:11 to play and possession of the ball.
Reaves was fouled again with 56.2 seconds to play. He hit one. Myles Dread was called for a blocking foul late in the shot clock and the free throw shooting contest began. The Hoosiers made one from the stripe and then Rasir Bolton made a 2 to get the game to 64-62 with 22 seconds on the clock.
Penn State fouled and Indiana missed the front end. Rasir Bolton missed a shot with 2.3 seconds to play that could have tied it but the Lions got one more chance. The inbound was unsuccessful and Indiana held on.
Four Factor Analysis
The foul line was not kind to the Nittany Lions.
Player of the Game
Stevens did not have his best scoring night but he got a double-double and was a force that required Indiana to double team him all game.
- Rasir Bolton got the first start of his young career. He shot 1-6 from the floor in the first half until hitting a late three. The young guard plays well defensively, handles the ball well, and has shown that he can score. If he is struggling with his shot, he should look to drive and dish or finish.
- Penn State rotated Mike Watkins and then Trent Buttrick off the bench on the low post. The two played together for a couple of minutes and Chambers was able to get each of them out without getting into foul trouble. As the low-post depth continues to gain its stride, the strategic options for Penn State increase as well.
The Lions will host Colgate on Saturday at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on BTNPlus.