CHICAGO, Ill. — Indiana’s absence from the Big Ten Tournament title game will continue another year.
Despite a furious comeback effort in the closing stages, IU (22-11, 13-9 B1G) dropped their semifinal game to Penn State (22-12, 13-10 B1G), 77-73, at the United Center in Chicago. Trayce Jackson-Davis led Indiana with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Jalen Pickett was marvelous for Penn St., scoring 28.
Coming off of an energetic victory over the Maryland Terrapins, the Hoosiers looked to extend their stay in the Windy City against the Penn State Nittany Lions. The Nittany Lions knocked off the Northwestern Wildcats to make it to the semis.
The Hoosiers started off with a strong game plan: get the ball inside, and let Race Thompson and Jackson-Davis work. Thompson had six of the team’s 12 early while Jackson-Davis contributed two ferocious slams.
Defensively, the Hoosiers were focused on stopping the Penn State perimeter shooting that proved lethal in the two teams’ last contest. After some initial difficulty, the Nittany Lions stormed through the gates.
The Nittany Lions went on a 13-0 run, fueled by three-point sharpshooting from Andrew Funk, Myles Dread, and Jalen Pickett. Indiana needed to adjust.
The Hoosiers brought Tamar Bates and Malik Reneau off the bench midway through the first. Indiana continued to struggle, though, and went down 12 points. IU found difficulty getting into a rhythm on offense and could not keep up with the quick-footed Nittany Lions on the other side.
However, after some Penn State misses and Hoosier makes, IU slowly worked back into the game. A huge Race Thompson slam helped the cause.
Hoosier Nation had been pretty quiet for most of the first half, but they made their voices heard when IU chipped away at the lead.
The Hoosiers finished the half down 34-26.
IU started the second half with a much more intense defensive approach, playing close to the man with more physicality. On offense, Reneau and Bates stepped up off the bench and contributed when the team needed it. Bates hit a momentum-shifting three followed by a quick jumper to bring the Hoosiers within three.
A back-and-forth battle took over the second half. Jackson-Davis had some notable highlights including a big block and a driving dunk. Reneau made some difficult shots but struggled to stay out of trouble, with three fouls midway through the second.
Jackson-Davis was able to draw a couple of blocking fouls down low on top of a nice slam off the inbound. IU overcame the deficit and tied the game at 47 points.
Penn State stepped up shortly after and sunk a couple of shots to quickly restore a seven-point lead, forcing a Woodson timeout. The Hoosiers could not find an answer offensively and were desperately pushing the ball forward in the closing minutes.
Penn State extended their lead to 15 points with two minutes remaining, and the United Center started to empty. PSU seemed in full control of the game. The Hoosiers refused to give up.
Initiating a full-court press and forcing trap turnovers, the Hoosiers stormed back. TJD threw down a dunk. JHS scored a basket with a foul. Bates nailed a three after an IU stop. IU forced another turnover in the backcourt, leading to a Jackson-Davis dunk. IU was within five.
PSU, who had made 19 straight free throws to start the game, started to split their trips to the line. IU kept chipping away. Hood-Schifino scored to cut the deficit to three. After another Nittany Lion turnover, Galloway laid it in to trim the margin to one.
After two makes by Lundy with 17.7 seconds, Hood-Schifino ran down the court and pulled up from the perimeter. The shot missed, and IU had to foul.
Wynter split his free throws to clinch the PSU victory. The final score was 77-73.
Indiana will hear their name during the NCAA Tournament Selection Show on Sunday at 6p ET. IU will likely fall on the 4-seed or 5-seed line. The Hoosiers’ next game will take place on Thursday or Friday in the Round of 64.
Featured Image: Penn State Men’s Basketball