Penn State Basketball is Headed to the Big Ten Title Game

Penn State Nittany Lions guard Jalen Pickett (Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State Nittany Lions guard Jalen Pickett (Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) /

Penn State Basketball defeats Indiana to advance to the second Big Ten title game in program history.

Free throws and rebounding; two of Penn State Basketball’s weaknesses lately. But not today. The team dominated the two categories as the Nittany Lions looked to continue their historic and improbable run in the Big Ten Tournament. Penn State would finish the game 23-of-26 from the line and with a +8 rebounding advantage over the Hoosiers.

Freshman Kebba Njie battled foul trouble for most of the past two games. But today, when he finally got to stay on the court, he made the most of it. Njie would finish with 6 points and 9 rebounds in one of his most impactful games of the season.

Jalen Pickett would add another 8 rebounds to go along with his 28 points. Another game where it was clear Pickett was the best player on the court.

Penn State Basketball led this game for most of the way. It all started early with a 13-0 run thanks to threes from Dread and Pickett and then a beautiful drive to the basket by Pickett. But the real story of this run, and most of the game, was the defense. The Nittany Lions held the Hoosiers to 0 points for over 5 minutes. Indiana would go on to make just 3 of their last 17 shots as the first half winded down.

Race Thompson would soar for an amazing one-handed alley-oop to try and give the Hoosiers some momentum. But the next possession down Penn State would force another shot clock violation. The help defense and rotations from the Nittany Lions was incredible in the first half.

Trayce Jackson-Davis would do his best to keep the Hoosiers in this one. He had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists on a very efficient 11-14 from the floor. But it wasn’t enough.  Penn State Basketball came out strong on the glass in the second half, securing offensive rebound after offensive rebound.

Penn State led by 7 for seemingly the entire second half. Whenever they’d push the lead to double digits, the Hoosiers would answer right back. That was until Andrew Funk pulled up from near halfcourt and drained a dagger 3. It pushed the lead to 11 and Indiana seemed pretty deflated.

With the deficit at 13 with 2 minutes remaining, the Hoosiers started to play the foul game. Pickett kept the lines perfect from the line (18-18 at this point). But then the game would get ugly. This is Penn State Basketball, did you really expect a comfortable win?

Penn State had issues inbounding the basketball against the full court press, which led to a few turnovers and easy buckets for Indiana. The 13 point lead was down to just 1. Eventually, Lundy and Wynter would ice the game from the line after making us sweat for what felt like 2 hours instead of 2 minutes. Penn State wins 77-73.

Penn State Basketball advances to the Big Ten Championship game against Purdue. This is just the second trip to the finals in program history. They previously made it in 2011 when they ultimately lost to Ohio State.

The championship game will be tomorrow at 3:30 on CBS. Purdue won both matchups in the regular season. The Nittany Lions will have their hands full with Zach Edey, who dominated both games.