UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It was sloppy, disjointed and unbecoming basketball from a Big Ten contender.
And Indiana paid the price.
The No. 22 Hoosiers suffered their worst defeat of the season Saturday, falling 68-63 to Penn State before an announced crowd of 10,351 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
At the end of IU’s first loss at Penn State since 2009, the Hoosiers were left to blame 15 turnovers, an offense that never clicked and their failure to handle Brandon Taylor — the Nittany Lions’ only true offensive threat.
Taylor scored a game-high 24 against Indiana (19-5, 9-2), which returns to Assembly Hall to host No. 5 Iowa on Thursday night.
Nick Zeisloft led IU with 14 points, while Yogi Ferrell added 13 and Thomas Bryant scored 10.
Indiana lacked poise for most of the night — especially early, committing eight turnovers in the first seven minutes. Those offensive miscues were coupled with the absence of Bryant, who picked up two quick fouls and sat for most of the half. Shortly after Bryant returned to the floor late in the period, he was whistled for his third personal leading into the final media timeout of the half.
Yet for all of Indiana’s mistakes, fouls and out-of-control offense, Penn State never led by more than two possessions through the first 20 minutes. The Hoosiers hung around — and eventually pulled ahead — with a flurry of 3-pointers. Credit Zeisloft — who scored nine of his points in the first half — with sinking a trio of well-timed perimeter shots. Much like Indiana’s ugly win last month at Minnesota, Zeisloft was there to keep the Hoosiers afloat while all else seemed to be sinking.
Indiana led 34-33 at halftime.
But Saturday’s trip to Happy Valley didn’t include the same edge as Tuesday’s trip to Michigan, where the Hoosiers used a 28-0 run to slam the door on their opponent. Beyond the turnovers, Indiana couldn’t put a cap on Taylor. He had 13 of those in the first half, but found himself slowed early in the second when IU coach Tom Crean inserted OG Anunoby to start the half and stuck him to Taylor.
The Penn State senior didn’t score his first basket of the half until the 9:34, at which point he rattled off eight of his team’s next 10 points to boost the Lions to a 55-50 lead with six minutes remaining in regulation. IU, meanwhile, was mired in a 2-for-13 stretch that helped cost it the game.
Julian Moore converted a three-point play with 1:13 remaining in regulation, leading Bryant to his fourth foul and putting Penn State ahead 64-61. For better and for worse, Bryant was part of the focus late in the contest. IU went to him often and he rewarded the Hoosiers with six points down the stretch.
But a critical mistake with IU trailing 65-63 and 24 seconds to play became part of IU’s undoing. Bryant posted up on the block, and as he turned to go up toward the rim, he was whistled for traveling. IU was forced to foul Shep Garner, who hit both of his free throws to boost the Lions’ lead to four.
Collin Hartman missed a 3-pointer on the other end and Penn State reclaimed possession with 11.4 second to play.
By then, it was all but over.
Indiana couldn’t take advantage of its success at the free throw line, where it went 20-for-26 after getting into the bonus with 12:42 left in regulation. Penn State was 10-for-16 at the line.
Indiana, which went 6-for-12 from 3-point range in the first half, went only 3-for-15 from beyond the arc in the final period.
Where are they now? Catching up with former high school athletes: Denise Azcui
The Indiana women’s tennis team hosted Western Michigan on Saturday at the IU Tennis Center. IU assistant coach, Ramiro Azcui, is Denise’s father. Azcui is a freshman at Western Michigan. The South grad capped her career last spring by winning her second straight state singles title. She also won the Mental Attitude Award.
1. Nittany Lion near-misses
Penn State hasn’t been a pushover in its recent matchups with Indiana. Each of the past three games have gone down to the wire, including Penn State’s win at Assembly Hall in 2014. Last season, Brandon Taylor nearly forced overtime with a 3-point heave that made it through the goal, but was determined to have come after the buzzer, delivering IU a 76-73 win. The last three games have all been decided by three points or fewer.
2. Brandon Taylor and who else?
The Nittany Lions own one of the Big Ten’s least efficient offenses. They’ve been able to rely on 16.3 points per game from Brandon Taylor, but little else around him. Taylor produced his fifth double-double of the season at Iowa on Wednesday, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. The 6-foot-6 forward has led Penn State in scoring the past six games, averaging 17.2 points in that span. Outside of Taylor’s consistent production, guard Shep Garner has earned the spotlight on a handful of occasions. Garner has scored 20 or more points five times this year. (more…)
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