It is starting to get to the point for Penn State basketball that I can cut and paste the previous game’s recap, change some names, and post it for you. But, I won’t. However, it was more of the same tonight for the Patrick Chambers’ squad. Indiana raced out to a quick 7 unaswered points to open the game, and never looked back en route to a comfy 72-49 win.
The first half would best be described as sloppy, as neither team shot particularly well. Jermaine Marshall was the Lions’ lone bright spot, putting in 9 points on 4 of 8 shooting, including a couple tough, athletic plays to get to the basket and beat IU’s shot blockers. The rest of the PSU offense was 4 for 19 from the floor in the opening 20 minutes. The Indiana defense deserves plenty of credit for those numbers, as PSU struggled to get into any sort of rhythm on offense. The Hoosiers applied plenty of pressure on the ball, and did not allow the Lions to get much going to the basket. Indiana was better, but not by much, at just 37% from the floor, but they did connect on 5 three pointers, and grabbed 8 offensive rebounds.
The second stanza began exactly how the first did, only with the Hoosiers scoring 8 unanswered this time before Chambers took a timeout just 65 seconds in. All told, the Hoosiers would hit 6 of 9 threes in the second half, and made their way to the line 23 more times as PSU never came closer than the 14 points they trailed by at the break. D.J. Newbill did score 14 of his PSU leading 18 in the second half, while grabbing 7 boards. Indiana’s Victor Oladipo lead all scorers with 19. Player of the year candidate Cody Zeller was held to 0 field goals, scoring only 2 free throws. It’s a testament to the depth Tom Crean has assembled that a potential lottery pick was held without a field goal, and the game was never in doubt.
As for PSU, this looks like a tired team, both physically and mentally. Newbill’s nearly 36 minutes per game, all while running the point, seem to be taking a toll on his burst, and leading scorer Jermaine Marshall does not have the consistent burst we saw earlier this year. It is tough to imagine the now 0-7 Big 10 start not weighing on players and coaches alike mentally too.
Things do not get easier as Penn State plays host to #14 Ohio State on Saturday at noon in the Jordan Center. The game will air on BTN, and is PSU’s annual Coaches vs. Cancer showcase.