No. 19 Indiana men’s basketball entered its Big Ten Tournament semifinal matchup against Penn State eager to avenge an ugly 85-66 loss from Jan. 11 in State College, Pennsylvania. The Hoosiers weren’t able to do so despite a major comeback bid throughout the second half and fell 77-73 to the Nittany Lions.
The Hoosiers got off to a gunning offensive start, leading 12-6 by the under-16 media timeout. Immediately after, Penn State strung together a 13-0 run fueled by star senior guard Jalen Pickett.
Despite trailing by as many as 12, the Hoosiers saw a few bursts of momentum near the end of the first half. Sophomore guard Tamar Bates assisted on a monster transition dunk to graduate forward Race Thompson.
Not long after, senior forward Trayce Jackson-Davis scored his sixth point of the night to move into third place on Indiana’s all-time leaderboard.
Similar to the teams’ first matchup, though, the Nittany Lions’ 3-point shooting proved deadly to the Hoosier defense. Penn State made five shots from beyond the arc on 15 attempts and Indiana entered halftime with an eight-point deficit.
In their best momentum-swinging efforts, the Hoosiers pieced together an 11-4 run sparked by 5 points from Bates. By the under-16 timeout, Indiana had cut the lead down to 3.
Penn State’s shot-making guards continued to prove a defensive challenge for Indiana’s backcourt, but one Jackson-Davis block and emphatic dunk later, and Indiana found itself in just a 1-point hole.
The Hoosiers and Nittany Lions traded baskets and were tied 47-47 until the latter ripped off a 7-0 run to get the edge heading into the under-8 timeout. From that point on, Penn State took full control of the game to build a 15-point lead.
With just over 2 minutes remaining, though, Indiana heroically strung together a 16-4 run that put it within 3 points of Penn State. Freshman guard Jalen Hood-Schifino attempted the Hoosiers’ final shot attempt --- a 3-pointer that fell just short of the basket --- and Pickett then hit a free throw to ice the game with a 4-point Nittany Lion lead.
The Hoosiers will await their fate come the selection show Sunday at 6 p.m. ET to find out their draw in the NCAA Tournament.
Follow reporters Evan Gerike (@EvanGerike) and Emma Pawlitz (@emmapawlitz), columnist Bradley Hohulin (@BradleyHohulin) and photographer Alex Paul (.@alexpaulphoto) for updates throughout the Indiana men’s basketball season.