For the first time since 2013, Indiana and Penn State played a game that was not decided on the final possession.
Surprisingly, the lack of a last-second decision wasn’t because of No. 22 Indiana’s dominance. Penn State, which entered the day under .500 on the season and 2-8 in the Big Ten, pulled off a 68-63 win over the Hoosiers. The loss bumps Tom Crean’s team from being alone atop the Big Ten standings.
IU, which averages 85 points, finished 22 below expectations. It was also the Hoosiers’ worst shooting night this year. Crean’s club made 36 percent of its attempts against the Nittany Lions. IU enterted the night as the second-best team from the field in the nation and the fourth-best from 3-point range.
The Hoosiers went 9 for 27 from 3 and had 15 turnovers to PSU’s seven.
“I felt like, for the first time all year, we played 40 minutes,” PSU coach Pat Chambers said on the Big Ten Network.
Penn State got a monster game from Brandon Taylor, who scored 24 and had six rebounds. Yogi Ferrell, who is in the running for Big Ten player of the year, managed just 13 points and had five giveaways.
It’s not this loss that hurts, it’s knowing that this loss precedes the next two games — against Iowa and Michigan State — and so now Indiana has a very interesting week ahead. The Hoosiers are 19-5, almost certainly heading to the Big Dance, but also could go either way in terms of seeding. If they can get a few more quality wins against top-five Big Ten teams, then the bracket reveal will be quite good. Was Saturday night just a rough loss on the road in league play or will this eventually be seen as the turn toward the tough back end of Indiana’s league slate?
We’ll find out soon. February is always the roughest and fastest month in college hoops.