Penn State men’s basketball lost its third straight game Wednesday night, falling to the Indiana Hoosiers on the road, 74-57. The game was also the Nittany Lions’ third straight on the road.
Indiana lit it up early from all over the court, pouring in shots from deep to build a big lead. The Hoosiers made 10 of their first 14 shots from the field, including their first four 3-point attempts.
Forward Race Thompson scored 11 of the team’s first 31 points while guard Xavier Johnson added eight of his own to help the Hoosiers go up 31-8 with 7:21 left in the first half.
Penn State struggled mightily offensively in the first half, missing 18 of its first 21 attempts from the field. The Nittany Lions struggled to get open looks early in the game and turned the ball to fall into a big hole.
They continued to struggle, trailing 39-10 with 4:13 left in the half while Indiana made shot after shot from beyond the arc, ultimately not missing from deep until its seventh attempt.
The Hoosiers’ lead continued to grow until they were up 46-17 at the half on the back of 13 points by Trayce Jackson-Davis, who led the game at halftime. Penn State’s leading scorers were Greg Lee and John Harrar with five points each.
The second half was better for the Nittany Lions, but not by much. The offense finally generated open looks and was able to hit them, cutting heavily into the lead late in the second half, but it was too little, far too late.
The Hoosiers did enough in the second half to keep Penn State from ever getting too close to close out the victory. The 74-57 loss dropped the Nittany Lions to 8-9 on the season and 3-6 in the Big Ten.
Jalen Pickett led them in scoring in the game with 14 points, while Johnson led the Hoosiers with 19 points.
Player of the game
Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis: Take you pick of Hoosiers here. Jackson-Davis gets the nod because he’s central to the team’s offense and defense, as was the case Wednesday night in Bloomington. He used his length and athleticism to swat shots away and dissuade Penn State from taking looks from in close on defense all game long. Offensively he used those same traits to earn second-chance opportunities with offensive rebounds, while bullying the Nittany Lions in close and getting to the rim to finish. Jackson-Davis is one of the best big men in the Big Ten and showed Penn State why he’s a force to be reckoned with in his team’s 74-57 win.
Stat of the game
17: Penn State’s field goal percentage at halftime. The Nittany Lions couldn’t get anything going offensively in the game’s first 20 minutes and it essentially sealed Wednesday night’s outcome early on. Their struggles were multifaceted against the Hoosiers and were apparent from the start. Indiana smothered them on and off the ball, making it difficult for them to get into any type of set offense. They were unable to create separation and when they did, Indiana defenders were there to jump passing lanes and force turnovers. The Nittany Lions don’t have the number of ball handlers to combat that much ball pressure and it showed. They were forced to take contested looks, mostly missing them, and could never get into an offensive rhythm in the game.
vs. Iowa: Penn State will have its first home game in over two weeks when the Nittany Lions next play. They’ll take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Monday night at the Bryce Jordan Center after last playing at home on Jan. 11 against Rutgers, a game they won, 66-49.
The matchup with the Hawkeyes will be Penn State’s second with them in two weeks after they traveled to Iowa City to play in Carver Hawkeye Arena on Saturday afternoon. Iowa won the game, 68-51, and entered Wednesday ranked No. 20 in KenPom’s rankings, 61 spots ahead of No. 81 Penn State. The Lions are projected to lose the game by KenPom, 72-69.