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Indiana men’s basketball falls short against Penn State 77-73

The Hoosiers’ focus now turns toward the NCAA Tournament.

Alex Paul

Missed passes.

A 2-14 clip from the arc.

A lack of scoring from the guards.

There’s more than one reason that Indiana men’s basketball fell to Penn State 77-73 in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. Chief among them is a late Nittany Lions scoring run to go up and take a lead they never relinquished.

Indiana managed to tie the game 47-47 with just over ten minutes left in the second half. What followed was a second chance layup from Jalen Pickett, a pullup 3-pointer from Andrew Funk off of a turnover and an open dunk courtesy of Kebba Njie. 54-57 Penn State to take control. The Nittany Lions went on to extend the lead to 10 points from there not too long after with a pullup 3-pointer from Camren Wynter.

The Hoosiers made it interesting at the end with the press and key plays off of Penn State turnovers, but free throws sealed the 77-73 win.

But Indiana had to get to the point to tie the game in the first place. It didn’t look like this in the first few minutes with Penn State’s shots not falling and the Hoosiers dominating the paint. That domination from bigs proved to be a double-edged sword.

Penn State just isn’t a good matchup for Indiana. The Hoosiers start two post players in Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson, and while the former has a proven ability to guard the perimeter he’s more useful waiting around the paint to make the key block.

Malik Reneau possesses the versatility to defend the arc when he’s in the game, but with a team like Penn State firing on all cylinders from the perimeter, that’s just not going to work. Indiana just didn’t have enough players to counter Penn State’s.

Then there’s the offensive miscues. Basketball games in 2023 aren’t won with just two made 3-pointers. Indiana was forced to take a few less than ideal looks down the stretch thanks to the lead Penn State had built up, but better looks had been there throughout the game.

There was Miller Kopp, the team’s go-to shooter, passing up an attempt to pass the ball to Trey Galloway for a shotclock violation in the closing minutes of the first half.

Afterward, Jackson-Davis looked his way and made a shooting motion with his hand as Kopp keeled over in disappointment. The Hoosiers finished the first half with six attempts from the arc, one more attempt than the Nittany Lions had makes at the same point in the same.

Then, when Kopp was open in the corner in transition just under halfway through the second half, Hood-Schifino didn’t see him and instead got the Ball to Reneau as the possession ended with zero points for the Hoosiers.

Then there was Hood-Schifino himself, facing pressure from Penn State and an inability to create. The star freshman scored 11 points on 3-14 shooting from the field.

Indiana had its chances to take a few threes and multiple chances to get back into the game and couldn’t capitalize.

However, there are specks of light for fans to cling to following the loss. It might sting, but the Hoosiers have an additional day of rest to get healthier heading into NCAA Tournament play. Tamar Bates, who’d been in a slump for weeks on end, made some big shots and was playing sound defense. Malik Reneau has done the same, being a far better player than he was at the beginning of conference play.

It’s worth dwelling equally on what went well.