Penn State was the team dealing with a season-ending injury to its best player for the second time this season, but it's Indiana that appears maimed as it heads into the postseason.
Playing without leading scorer Jamelle Cornley due to a season-ending ACL injury, the Nittany Lions handed the Hoosiers a crushing 68-64 overtime setback at Bryce-Jordan Center in both teams' regular season finales.
With the win, Penn State improved to 15-15 overall and 7-11 in the Big Ten and won its fifth consecutive home game. Indiana, meanwhile, slipped to 25-6 overall and 14-4 in the Big Ten and likely cost itself the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tourney. Unless Michigan upsets Purdue later this afternoon, Indiana will be the No. 3 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament.
It was an extremely disappointing effort for the Hoosiers, who played without junior Jamarcus Ellis for disciplinary reasons. But Ellis' absence was no excuse against a Nittany Lion squad that lost its best player, Geary Claxton, three games into the Big Ten season with a torn ACL, and has now played two games without Cornley. The first game ended in an embarrassing 77-41 loss to Big Ten champion Wisconsin, but the second game resulted in a surprising win over the Hoosiers that had the crowd storming the floor when the final horn sounded.
"We didn't play as well as we need to play, we didn't execute," IU Coach Dan Dakich said. "We were a little short-handed today but so were they. It's an unfortunate, disappointing way to end a very good season."
Indiana was led by Eric Gordon, who finished with 26 points on 8-of-24 shooting. But the Big Ten's scoring champ missed on each of his biggest attempts Sunday afternoon.
The first came at the end of regulation, when he hit the back iron on a 15-foot fadeaway at the free-throw line that would have won the game. In the final 90 seconds of overtime he missed a trio of 3-pointers that would have either given IU the lead or tied the game, including a double pump effort with three seconds left and Penn State leading by three.
Talor Battle rebounded his final miss with :0.5 remaining, shook off a dismal 2-of-15 shooting afternoon, and made one of two free throws to secure Penn State's fourth win in 30 attempts against IU.
David Jackson led Penn State with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Jeff Brooks added 12 points and Battle chipped in 10.
Indiana was done in by more than Ellis' absence and Gordon's late misses. It also committed 17 turnovers against a relatively tame Penn State zone, and it also was just 7-of-33 from behind the 3-point arc. All of those attempts came from three players, as Gordon was 4-of-16, Armon Bassett was 2-of-12, and Jordan Crawford was 1-of-5.
"We couldn't get anything to go down," Dakich said.
With Cornley sidelined, Indiana had hoped to go to D.J. White as much as possible. While the likely Big Ten Player of the Year did finish with 20 points and 12 rebounds, Dakich still would have liked to have seen him even more involved.
"D.J., he got 11 shots and probably should have had 25," Dakich said. "We talked of emphasizing getting it inside to him."
While Penn State led for almost the entire first half, Indiana appeared ready to take control of the game in the second half. Trailing 36-30 with 16:22 remaining, Indiana put together a 14-0 run that gave it an eight-point lead with 12:08 left. Gordon scored 12 points during the run – including a trio of 3-pointers – as Indiana seemed ready to put away the short-handed Lions.
But Penn State countered with a 10-2 run of its own to tie the game, and IU's hopes of pulling away were over. The Lions eventually tied the game at 58-58 on a conventional three-point play by Jackson with :22.9 left, and the two teams headed to overtime following Gordon's miss.
A Danny Morrissey 3-pointer gave Penn State the lead early in overtime, and Indiana would never lead again.
Stemler 0-0 0-0 0, D. White 8-11 4-6 20, Bassett 3-13 0-0 8, Crawford 1-8 2-2 5, Gordon 8-24 6-7 26, Thomas 1-1 0-0 2, McGee 0-0 0-0 0, Taber 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 22-58 13-17 64.
PENN STATE 68
Jackson 5-9 2-4 13, Brooks 6-9 0-0 12, Jones 3-7 0-1 6, Pringle 2-12 3-6 9, Battle 2-15 3-6 9, Hassell 3-3 1-1 7, Walker 1-5 0-0 3, Morrissey 3-7 0-0 8. Totals 25-67 11-20 68.
3-Pointers: Indiana 7-33 (Gordon 4-16, Bassett 2-12, Crawford 1-5), Penn State 7-28 (Pringle 2-6, Morrissey 2-5, Battle 1-10, Walker 1-3, Jackson 1-3, Brooks 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 45 (D. White 12), Penn State 43 (Jackson 10). Assists: Indiana 14 (Crawford 5), Penn State 13 (Battle 5). Turnovers: Indiana 17, Penn State 10. Blocks: Indiana 3 (Taber 2, Crawford), Penn State 0. Steals: Indiana 6, Penn State 6.
Lions Hand IU Crushing Setback in Finale
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