Game Grades: Indiana
After a tough loss to the No. 23 Maryland Terrapins last Saturday, Penn State headed back home for its first Big Ten conference home game of the season last night against Indiana. The Nittany Lions didn’t shoot the ball well from the field or the free throw line at all, and that was the main difference in the game in the 64-62 loss.
Indiana had an 11-point lead with just under four minutes to play and looked to close it out for a comfortable win. However, guard Rasir Bolton led Penn State on a 10-1 run and the team had two chances in the final seconds to tie it but just fell short. Let’s give out game grades for Penn State after the tough loss to the Hoosiers.
As mentioned earlier, Penn State didn’t shoot the ball particularly well in this game. The Nittany Lions shot 37.1 percent from the field, 23.8 percent from three and 42.3 percent from the free throw line.
For being an undersized team Penn State has to shoot better, especially from 3-point land. Missing 15 free throws is unacceptable at home, and it’s something that needs to be fixed quickly or else it could be a long year.
The leading scorer for the Nittany Lions was Bolton with 17, and he was one of the main reasons why the Nittany Lions came back in late in the second half. Guard Myles Dread and forward Lamar Stevens both had 12 points, and the Nittany Lions struggled on offense for two consecutive games.
Penn State was looking for more drives and kick outs to the 3-point line, but guys did not knock shots down. Indiana did a good job shutting the low post offense as center Mike Watkins had only six points, and power forward John Harrar had just five points. Penn State has to get more guys involved in the offense, and getting the ball to the post could be more of an option Saturday against Colgate.
Penn State’s defense continued to play at a very high level. When the Nittany Lions were down double digits late in the second half, the defense locked down and enabled them to get right back in the game.
Penn State forced 16 turnovers, and had 12 steals, five of them coming from guard Josh Reaves. Reaves is averaging 2.6 steals per game, and is the main reason why Penn State was so successful on the defensive end.
The guard trio of Romeo Langford, Rob Phinisse and Alijami Durham combined for 41 points on 48.1 percent shooting for the Hoosiers. 15 of Langford’s 17 points came in the second half, and that was a difference in the ball game. Forward Juwan Morgan added another 10 points for Indiana. Penn State’s defense the last two games have given them a chance to win in the final minutes, and look for continued success in the upcoming games.
Head coach Pat Chambers looked to have his guys ready to go by getting up to an early lead. However, Chambers and his team came out sluggish in the beginning of the second half, and Indiana built two double-digit leads after being up only 34-30 in the first half. \On the on the other hand, he has to be happy with the effort his team is giving on the defensive end. Penn State has forced 33 turnovers with 24 steals in the last two games.
However, Chambers couldn’t be happy with how his team shot the ball, especially from the free throw line. Penn State missed some crucial free throws down the stretch and 15 for the game. If the Nittany Lions shooting woes continue, they could be in some trouble as the season continues.
Matthew McClure is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact, email firstname.lastname@example.org.