Bloomington, Ind. – Sunday's match-up with Michigan State might be Senior Day for Marshall Strickland, but Wednesday's effort against Penn State is one he'll remember for a long time.
Strickland scored 16 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:06 remaining, to lift Indiana to a 69-65 win over Penn State at Assembly Hall. He also became the 40th player in IU history to score 1,000 career points in the game, leading IU (14-10/6-7) to a win that ended a five-game losing streak, while also avenging a three-point loss to the Nittany Lions (13-12/5-9) a week ago in State College, Penn.
In a game that Indiana had to have to keep its slim NCAA Tournament hopes alive, Strickland came up with big play after big play down the stretch. He hit one of his career-high seven 3-pointers with 2:59 remaining to break a 60-60 tie. After Penn State's Jamelle Cornley tied the game with a 12-foot jumper at the 1:40 mark, Strickland gave Indiana the lead for good at the other end.
Strickland caught the ball on the right wing, gathered himself, and hit a 23-foot 3-pointer with Nittany Lion guard Ben Luber draped all over him.
"Luber was there, and the senior hit a big shot," Penn State Coach Ed DeChellis said. "That's what seniors do this time of year."
After the game, Strickland arrived in the post-game press conference clutching the game ball, which was presented to him afterwards by IU Assistant Head Coach Donnie Marsh. Strickland said he knew when he caught that ball with the game tied 63-63, he was going to do what he could to determine the game's outcome.
"I knew it was going up," Strickland said. "The shot clock was going down. There was no way I was passing that one…Luber was going to back up because they were playing the zone and he was handing me off to the big guy. So when he stepped back I let it go."
Strickland's basket was the last of 33 3-point attempts for the Hoosiers in the contest, just one off the team's season-high set a week ago against the Nittany Lions. The Hoosiers made 15 this time out, which was just one off the season-high of 16 that they knocked down in wins over Western Illinois and Florida A&M.
Strickland said he felt hesitant in the first meeting between the two teams, and he wasn't going to let that happen again.
"I just remember playing at their place, and some open looks that I passed up, and tonight I wanted to take advantage of them giving me space and me knocking down some shots," Strickland said. "I was shooting with confidence tonight. It felt good, all the shots. Even the ones I missed I felt like they were going down. When I get like that, it's flowing for me."
After Strickland's 3-pointer, Penn State still had its chances. First it was PSU guard Mike Walker who missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer with 47 seconds remaining. Then, after Strickland hit one of two free throws with 19 seconds left to give IU a 67-65 lead, Penn State point guard Ben Luber launched a 25-foot attempt from the wing that missed.
DeChellis said afterwards that Luber's attempt wasn't what he was looking for with the game on the line.
"We had something going, a play going, and he pulled up and thought he had something else," DeChellis said. "That wasn't really what we were trying to get."
It wasn't just Strickland's make and Luber's miss, though, that earned the Hoosiers their first win in three weeks. Indiana also did a much better job on the boards, out-rebounding Penn State 38-26. A week ago Penn State held a 33-24 edge on the glass in its three-point win over IU.
Marco Killingsworth led the Hoosiers with eight rebounds, but IU Coach Mike Davis was particularly pleased with the A.J. Ratliff and Rod Wilmont, each of whom had seven rebounds.
"It's bee a long time since rebounded the ball," Davis said. "They did a great job for us."
Indiana's edge on the glass, coupled with the big plays from Strickland, helped it offset 19 points from Geary Claxton and 15 points from Travis Parker. Claxton added three 3-pointers of his own, and Penn State finished 10-of-24 from behind the arc.
With the win, Strickland said the team can "finally exhale," and turn their attention to finishing strong and making a push to be included in the NCAA Tournament.
That starts Sunday, when Strickland will play his final regular season game in Assembly Hall against Michigan State.
"I want to win Sunday," Strickland said. "I want to go out and say I won my last game playing in Assembly Hall."
Killingsworth 5-12 4-6 14, Vaden 1-7 0-0 3, Strickland 7-12 1-2 22, Monroe 0-0 0-0 0, Calloway 3-5 0-0 9, Wilmont 2-4 3-4 8, Suhr 2-5 2-2 8, Ratliff 1-5 2-2 5, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Kline 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-51 12-16 69.
PENN STATE 65
Cornley 3-8 2-2 8, Claxton 4-11 8-10 19, Parker 5-13 4-6 15, Luber 1-4 0-0 3, Jackson 3-5 1-1 9, Walker 3-8 0-0 8, Suotamo 0-1 0-0 0, Hassell 0-0 0-0 0, Bogetic 1-1 0-0 3. Totals 20-51 15-19 65.
Halftime Score: Penn State 35, Indiana 34. 3-Pointers: Indiana 15-33 (Vaden 1-5, Strickland 7-11, Calloway 3-5, Wilmont 1-3, Suhr 2-5, Ratliff 1-4), Penn State 10-24 (Claxton 3-6, Parker 1-4, Luber 1-3, Jackson 2-3, Walker 2-7, Bogetic 1-1). Rebounds: Indiana 38 (Killingsworth 8), Penn State 26 (Parker 9). Assists: Indiana 17 (Vaden 6), Penn State 14 (Luber 4, Jackson 4). Turnovers: Indiana 16, Penn State 9. Blocks: Indiana 3, Penn State 2. Fouled Out- Vaden. Officials: Art McDonald, Sid Rodeheffer, Zelton Streed. Attendance: 17,234.
Strickland Saves Best For Last
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