Indiana 87, Penn State 85: Hoosiers Outlast Nittany Lions in Overtime

By Nick Polak on December 30, 2020 at 11:18 pm
Dec 30, 2020; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers guard Al Durham (1) shoots the ball over Penn State Nittany Lions guard Jamari Wheeler (5) in the first half at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
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It was a sloppy game in Bloomington and Penn State very much looked like a team that hadn't played basketball in a week. Still, the Lions fought hard and had multiple chances to win their first conference game of the season, but came up just short, falling to the Hoosiers by a final of 87-85 in overtime.

Box Score
  1st 2nd OT Final
Penn State 33 47 5 85
Indiana 38 42 7 87

Myreon Jones led the way for Penn State on the scoresheet with 20, with Sam Sessoms adding 17 of his own. John Harrar was strong on the glass with 10 rebounds (5 offensive, 5 defensive). Myles Dread and Sessoms chipped in 3 assists apiece.

Things started out very rough for the Lions, as they picked up four fouls in just the first four minutes and 30 seconds. Thankfully, though, Indiana wasn't able to truly take advantage of the numerous fouls and lackluster shooting. It allowed Penn State to hit just enough shots in order to keep things close.

Jones was the hero of the half, hitting 3/4 shots from deep and picking up 14 total points in the first 20 minutes. Things nearly went completely off the rails before the break, however. After a missed Indiana shot, the ball clearly bounced on the end line, but the official neglected to call it out of bounds, and the Hoosiers turned it into an open three-pointer. Head coach Jim Ferry was understandably irate and picked up a technical (a way-too-easily-given technical). However, a huge three-ball from Sessoms, followed by a Jones and-one after a Sessoms steal greatly lessened the 9-point lead. It was honestly one of the team's worst halves of the season, but they found themselves down just five.

Game Leaders
Team Player  
PSU Myreon Jones (2) Points
IU Trayce Jackson-Davis (21)
PSU John Harrar (10) Rebounds
IU Jackson-Davis/Thompson (6)
PSU Sessoms/Dread (3) Assists
IU Trey Galloway (10)

The beginning of the second half wasn't all that dissimilar from the latter half of the first. Neither team did anything especially well but hit just enough shots to remind the other side they were still there. The Lions started upping the defensive pressure which provided enough of a boost to allow the offense to tie things up

The Hoosiers started pounding the ball in the paint once again though, and Indiana was able to start creating some distance. Penn State's lack of height forced them to devote too many resources to providing help in the paint and way too many wide-open looks from deep were opened up as a result. It led to a gut-punching 13-1 run for the home side.

Despite that, Penn State didn't quit. Some inspired offensive play by Sessoms led the way for the Lions and got them all the way back to just a one-point deficit with about a minute to go before the transfer guard hit a mid-range jumper to take the lead with 25 seconds to go. Then in true "on-the-road-at-Indiana" fashion, the Hoosiers were bailed out with a horrific foul call on Dread on the other end and proceeded to tie the game up with a free throw. Penn State had a chance to win it but Sessoms had his shot blocked, and the teams went to overtime.

The overtime period was filled with more sloppy play from both sides but Indiana simply hit one more shot than the visitors did. Rob Phinisee hit his step-back jumper after failing to get the ball inside as he clearly wanted to, and that score would prove decisive. Penn State had the final shot, but Sessoms had his driving attempt blocked and a fadeaway shot from Brockington off of the rebound fell short of the bucket.

Quick Takeaways

  • Can we not have a full week between games again? Thanks.
  • Trent Buttrick has drawn the short straw on the Nittany Lion roster this year. Standing at just 6'8, he has no business trying to go up against the numerous impressive big men the Big Ten has to offer. But thanks to the extreme lack of frontcourt depth and John Harrar's aggressive style of play and importance as a rebounder late in games, he's had to play a ton of minutes as Penn State's pseudo-center. Predictably, many big men have had their way with him, but he has never given anything less than his 100% effort and has even been able to provide some offense from deep. He deserves your appreciation.
  • Seth Lundy is still trying to rediscover his high-scoring ways from the first few games of the season. Whereas he was getting consistent open looks in those initial contests, teams have been forcing him to create more on his own since then. He's shown that he can still knock down open shots as well as anyone and he does a decent job of getting to the rim. However, he's still figuring out his pull-up game from mid-range at the collegiate level. Once he figures that out, it's going to be very tough to stop him.
  • The officiating in this one was abysmal. From the missed out-of-bounds call in the first half to some incredibly soft fouls at the end of regulation and in OT in favor of the Hoosiers, the home-court advantage was very real in this one.
  • Penn State desperately needs Abdou Tsimbila to provide the team with something tangible. Even if it's just 7 minutes per game of a warm body providing minimal resistance in the paint. Harrar and Buttrick need help because things aren't going to get any easier as the team continues through the conference slate.
  • Sam Sessoms is a treasure and was the best player on the floor for Penn State in this one. Aside from his 17 points, 3 assists, and 2 steals, he was clearly the most trusted ball-handler on the floor. His effort deserved to be rewarded with a win.
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