STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Indiana has played 56 basketball games with Penn State over the years, but none of the first 55 was anything like the Nittany Lions’ embarrassing 85-66 blowout Wednesday night.
The Nittany Lions did what they wanted from start to finish at the Bryce Jordan Center and set a school record with 18 three-pointers. Seth Lundy and Andrew Funk each made seven threes, many with undisputed wide-open looks thanks to defensive mistakes by Indiana. The 19-point lead was the widest of all time for Penn State. The previous record was 15.
Indiana fell to 10-6 during the season and only 1-4 in the Big Ten, worst in the league outside of Minnesota. That’s three straight losses since the start of the new year for a team that looks utterly lost at the moment, particularly on defence.
And this, in case you need a reminder, is an Indiana team picked by players and coaches alike to win the league. Once fallen behind, there was no turning back.
And that’s becoming a worrying trend.
“We talked about having to be mentally sharp in the game and play hard,” said Indiana coach Mike Woodson We Go the Different Way. And we can’t.”
The Hoosiers had no answer to Penn State’s perimeter play, and it was a problem from the start. Lundy, a 6-foot-6 senior guard, had four threes in the first 13 minutes of the game and Funk, a Bucknell graduate, hit three himself in the final five minutes of halftime.
Indiana actually led 15-13 after just over 10 minutes, but then Penn State quickly pulled away. They put on an 8-0 run and then closed out halftime with a 16-8 run to lead 37-26 into the dressing room. They shot 9-for-17 in the first half.
Indiana started with an 8-0 run early in the second half to cut the 39-34 lead to five, but that was as close as it could get. Penn State hit nine more three-pointers in the second half and led by as many as 23 points.
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Penn State (12-5, 3-3 in Big Ten) did a great job moving the ball and beating Indiana’s rotations. Indiana’s two best defensive players — seniors Xavier Johnson and Race Thompson — have not played with foot and knee injuries, respectively, and without them they’re not very good defensively.
“Both our veterans are sitting there on the side and they’re not coming through the door anytime soon,” Woodson said. We took a slap in the face tonight. We’re just not competing at the moment and that’s on me.”
Indiana had four players in double figures, led by senior Trayce Jackson-Davis, who had 14 points on just 4-of-10 shots. Jalen Hood-Schifino and Tamar Bates had 11 and Trey Galloway had 10. They shot just 44.1 percent as a team and only made 4 of 14 three-pointers. They also only made 10 out of 18 free throws, just 55.6 percent.
It was a mess from start to finish. They’ve now given up 80 points or more in three straight league games, something that hasn’t happened in more than two decades. And their 1-4 start is their worst since Tom Crean’s rebuild in 2010.
“There were a couple of times we did things that we never talked about during scouting or training. You just shake your head and say, “Why did we do that?” said Woodson.
Obviously this team is in disarray right now and it’s not going to get any easier. The Hoosiers are coming home to play Wisconsin on Saturday, then playing in Illinois next Thursday and at home to Michigan State on Sunday, January 22nd.
The biggest problem? Trey Galloway knows.
“At the end of the day we don’t play hard enough,” he said. “I think our identity is playing hard, and I think we’re not doing that at the moment. Momentum comes from stops. We could not find enough stops tonight.
“They fired shots. Our game plan was that we knew they were going to shoot at it. We gave them more ‘duty’ shots than usual.
- WHAT TREY GALLOWAY SAID: Indiana junior guard Trey Galloway caught up with the media via Zoom following Indiana’s 85-66 loss to Penn State on Wednesday night. Here’s the full transcript of his interview, as well as the full video. CLICK HERE
- SEE GERONIMOS BLOCK: Indiana junior forward Jordan Geronimo jumped over the edge to fend off Kebba Njie’s dunk attempt. CLICK HERE
- WATCH THE HOOD-SCHIFINO JUMPER: Indiana freshman point guard Jalen Hood-Schifino continued Wednesday with an early jump shot in rotation. CLICK HERE
- WATCH THE JACKSON DAVIS DEAL: Indiana kept going, running 8-0 early in the second half, including that turning move from Trayce Jackson-Davis. CLICK HERE
- LIVE BLOG: Indiana will be looking to break its two-game losing streak at Penn State on Wednesday night. Welcome to our live blog where you can follow all the game news and opinions as well as highlights and opinions. CLICK HERE