Hoosiers Lose Lead Late, Fall to Lions 61-58

Verdell Jones (pictured) scored 16 and had eight assists, but Indiana still squandered a late five-point lead on the road and fell to Penn State, 61-58...

No matter how many times it happens, close losses don't get any easier to take.

Matt Roth missed two potential game-tying 3-pointers in the final 10 seconds as Indiana missed out on a chance to win its first road game of the season, falling to Penn State, 61-58.

With the win, Penn State picked up its 20th win of the season while improving to 20-9 overall and 9-7 in the Big Ten, while Indiana fell to 6-22 and 1-15 in league games.

The win didn't come easily for the Nittany Lions, who outscored Indiana 8-1 in the game's final five minutes to overcome a four-point deficit. Nick Williams gave the Hoosiers that four-point lead with an eight-foot jumper in the lane with 5:25 left, but it would be the final field goal the Hoosiers would make in the game.

After David Jackson and Talor Battle each made one of two free throws to cut the margin to two, Battle tied the game at 57 on a fastbreak layup after a Verdell Jones turnover. Jones recaptured the lead momentarily with a free throw, but Jamelle Cornley put the Lions back on top with a 9-foot jumper in the lane with 1:54.Following a Devan Dumes turnover, Penn State extended the margin to three when Battle dropped a pass to Cornley for a dunk with :56.0 left.

Indiana maintained possession of the ball for the final 56 seconds but couldn't get anything to drop. Jones – who led Indiana with 16 points and eight assists – missed the front end of a one-and-one with :41.4 remaining, but Indiana retained possession when the ball squirted out of bounds.

The Hoosiers then ran down the clock and after a pair of 30-second timeouts Roth missed a contested 3-pointer with eight seconds remaining that would have tied the game. Battle stepped out of bounds while trying to corral the rebound, giving Indiana one final chance. But Roth came up short on a deep 3-pointer with Cornley in his face, and Penn State had a win that it needed to get if it hopes to earn an NCAA At-Large invitation.

"A couple of things got us in the end," IU Coach Tom Crean said. "Our margin for error is zero. We can't give up transition baskets, we can't have tough turnovers. Those are things that will get you in then end."

They got Indiana Saturday night, as did the clutch play of Battle and Cornley down the stretch. Battle finished with a game-high 16 points and eight rebounds, while Cornley scored eight of his 10 in the second half.

But there were plenty of things that Indiana did a whole lot better Saturday night than it did in Wednesday's record-setting 22-point homecourt loss to Northwestern. The Hoosiers turned the ball over only 11 times against Penn State, and they weathered a couple of second-half flurries where the Nittany Lions appeared poised to break the game open.

Indiana didn't let that happen, which did provide a degree of solace for Crean.

"This group is going to continue to battle," Crean said. "I don't think there's one guy in our room that didn't think we couldn't win this tonight, and we played that way."

In addition to Jones' solid effort, the Hoosiers also got 16 points from Dumes plus 10 points and five rebounds from Tom Pritchard. Kyle Taber, meanwhile, chipped in two points and a team-high seven rebounds while playing 35 minutes on an injured ankle.

Indiana returns home for Tuesday night's home finale against Big Ten frontrunner Michigan State. While the Spartans provide a daunting task, Crean was pleased to see how his team bounced back from Wednesday's loss.

"No one on the staff is ready to stop coaching, and I don't believe we have any players who are ready to stop playing," Crean said.

Pritchard 4-7 2-2 10, Taber 1-4 0-0 2, Jones 6-10 3-5 16, Dumes 5-9 2-2 16, Williams 2-6 0-0 4, Roth 2-9 0-0 6, Finkelmeier 0-0 0-0 0, Story 0-0 2-3 2, Jobe 1-1 0-0 2, Moore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-46 9-12 58.

Cornley 5-9 0-0 10, Morrissey 1-4 2-5 5, Jones 4-4 0-0 8, Pringle 3-6 2-4 10, Leiner 1-1 0-0 2, Battle 6-12 2-6 16, Ott 0-0 0-0 0, Babb 1-4 0-0 3, Jackson 2-3 1-2 5, Woodyard 0-2 0-0 0, Brooks 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 24-48 7-17 61.

3-Pointers: Indiana 7-17 (Dumes 4-7, Roth 2-8, Jones 1-2), Penn State 6-20 (Pringle 2-3, Battle 2-7, Babb 1-4, Morrissey 1-2, Woodyard 0-2, Brooks 0-1, Cornley 0-1). Rebounds: Indiana 27 (Taber 7), Penn State 24 (Battle 8). Assists: Indiana 13 (Jones 8), Penn State 12 (Pringle 3) . Turnovers: Indiana 11, Penn State 8. Blocks: Indiana 0, Penn State 2. Steals: Indiana 4, Penn State 6.

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