Road wins in the Big Ten are hard to come by. Road wins in general haven’t come easy for Indiana. That trend continued on Sunday, as the Indiana Hoosiers (10-3, 1-2 B1G) were upset by Penn State (6-5, 1-2 B1G). IU now has seven consecutive true road losses on its ledger.
Mike Woodson started off by re-inserting Parker Stewart into the starting lineup, alongside mainstays Xavier Johnson, Miller Kopp, Race Thompson, and Trayce Jackson-Davis.
Thompson imposed himself on the glass in the early going. Seven of IU’s first 11 points came on second chance opportunities off of Thompson offensive rebounds. Jackson-Davis, Johnson, and Kopp all found twine to get IU out to an 11-6 lead.
The Nittany Lions slowed the game down from the start, in line with their style of play coming into this contest. Out of 358 Division I teams, PSU had an adjusted pace rating of 344th in the country, according to KenPom. This allowed the home side to stay in the game.
Seth Lundy, Jalen Pickett, and Myles Dread were constant pests from beyond the arc on Sunday. All three converted a three-pointer in the first half, with Pickett and Lundy each making two. Those conversions helped Penn State stay within arm’s reach of Indiana. IU had led for over 12 of the 20 first-half minutes, but no advantage was greater than five points.
Jackson-Davis, IU’s All-American forward, was intent on involving his teammates early. The superstar out of Center Grove HS attempted just five field goals in the first half but registered a team-high two assists. His basket with two minutes left before halftime gave IU a four-point advantage.
Then, a key juncture in the game took place. IU didn’t score for the remainder of the half, but a three from Lundy and a final possession shot by Pickett gave PSU a one-point lead at halftime.
Jackson-Davis led the charge for IU out of the intermission. He made a free throw, dunked the ball, drew a fourth foul on opposing starter Greg Lee, and stole the ball for another jam. That sequence gave IU the lead, only for Penn State to continue their hot shooting to reclaim the advantage.
First, it was Dread from deep to tie the game. Then, Sam Sessoms gave PSU a lead that they would never relinquish. A triple from Sessoms with 10:28 to go gave the Nittany Lions a whopping double-digit advantage. PSU came into the game as a five-point underdog.
The Hoosiers leaned on Jackson-Davis and Rob Phinisee to fight back into the contest. After Phinisee missed his first four shots, he hit back-to-back baskets to bring IU within a point. After Pickett hit another three-pointer, Jackson-Davis hit a winding shot inside. After Dread hit one from downtown to put PSU up 57-53, Phinisee responded with a bomb of his own to bring IU to within one.
Ultimately, no matter what IU tried, Penn State had an answer. After Jackson-Davis missed a look from the paint with 20 seconds to go that would have put IU in front, Sessoms made both ends of a one-and-one to push PSU up three. Phinisee and Jackson-Davis missed three-point attempts at the horn, and IU dropped a game they expected to win.
Up next for the Hoosiers is a Big Ten home matchup against the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes. Former Hoosier Joey Brunk plays for OSU. Ohio State plays at Nebraska Sunday night. The Hoosiers and Buckeyes will tip off on Thursday at 7 PM ET on FS1.
Photo by Indiana Athletics