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Jan. 21, 2010
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; Jan. 21, 2010 - Despite multiple second half comebacks, the Penn State men's basketball team couldn't get over the hump in falling to Indiana, 67-61, Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Penn State fell to 0-6 in Big Ten play and 8-10 on the season after dropping its fourth Big Ten game by six points or less. Indiana improved to 9-9 on the year and 3-3 in the Big Ten, posting its second straight win and ending a four-game losing skid to the Lions.
"We have not made plays down the stretch this year and that goes for everyone," Battle said. "We just have to somehow figure it out. It comes down to toughness. We need to dig deep individually and as a unit to make one play to get us over the hump."
Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y.) led the way for Penn State with 22 points and four assists on a bum left ankle while Andrew Ott (Abington, Pa.) chipped in with a career-high in both points (13) and rebounds (seven). Battle moved into ninth all-time on the Penn State career charts with 352 passing Ron Brown (350), as he posted his eighth 20-point game of the season and 24th of his career.
The Hoosiers led from the beginning and never trailed in the game as Penn State gain struggled from the field. The Nittany Lions tied the score on three occasions, the last at 40 with 13:44 to play, but were unable to make go-ahead plays and Indiana responded each time. Indiana shot 44 percent (24-for-54) for the game, including 45 percent (9-for-20) from three-point range while the Nittany Lions made 37 percent (23-for-62) from the field and just an 18 percent clip (4-of-22) from long range.
"It is about a confidence thing now," Penn State coach Ed DeChellis said. "We didn't play with a lot of confidence in the first-half, I don't think. We played with a little more confidence in the second-half, but once we got back into the game we didn't do what we needed to do to win the game. But, give them credit, they made shots when they had to make them."
A balanced Indiana attack was led by Devan Dumes, who posted 15 points on 5-of-12 shooting. Verdell Jones, III and Christian Watford also posted double figures in points, with 14 and 11. David Jackson (Farrell, Pa.) chipped in with nine points and six rebounds while Jeff Brooks (Louisville, Ky.) had eight boards in only 18 minutes off the bench for Penn State.
Trailing 37-28 less than a minute into the second half, Penn State came alive with its most spirited run of the game (12-3) to even the score at 40 with 13:44 to go. Jackson started with a short jumper before a Battle fast break layup made it 37-32. Chris Babb (Arlington, Texas) then took an emphatic charge to wipe off a would-be basket and give Indiana's Jeremiah Rivers his fourth personal foul. On the next possession, Jackson knocked down his second jumper in the span of 1:03 to make it 37-34. Indiana's Watford hit a three-pointer to break up the run, but baskets from Brooks and Battle and a Babb free throw knotted the score at 40.
Penn State had a chance to take the lead on Babb second free throw, but it went astray. After an IU miss the Lions again had a chance to lead, but Babb's three-point attempt was off.
As they had all game, the Hoosiers responded, this time with a 10-2 run to open a 50-42 advantage with 9:58 remaining. Dumes led the charge with seven of his 15 points in a span of 2:13, including a long three, a lay-up and a 17-foot jumper.
Freshman Tim Frazier's (Houston, Texas) five points came at an opportune time as his three-pointer and subsequent layup kept the Lions within four (53-49) with 7:58 to go in the second half.
A highlight-reel sequence by Battle gave Penn State life and pulled the Lions within 60-57 with 4:15 remaining. After his free throw made it 58-50, Battle drove to the basket on consecutive possessions, hit the layup and was fouled both times. After missing the first free throw, he picked Jones pocket at center court and went all the way for his second straight three-point opportunity. He finished the unconventional three-point play, and, after an Indiana basket, then made a pretty dish to Ott to pull the Lions within three.
Battle severely sprained his left ankle in the Nittany Lions practice on Tuesday. He missed practice on Wednesday with the high-ankle sprain and was questionable to play until being cleared by doctors following a light shoot-around Thursday morning.
Indiana again responded posting five straight points to put Penn State into a 65-57 hole with only 1:41 remaining. The Nittany Lions would pull to within four, 65-61, with 39 second remaining, but Indiana made its free throws down the stretch and the Lions late threes went wide.
The teams traded baskets early in the first half before Indiana staged a run. Down 4-0, Penn State scored six of the next eight, on three-pointers from Battle and Babb, to tie the score at six with 17:02 remaining in the first half. After an Ott tip-in made it 8-8, the Hoosiers scored 11 of the next 13 points and 15 of the next 19 for a 23-12 lead with 8:22 to go.
A Brooks hook shot ended the run and propelled the Nittany Lions to six straight points of their own. In that span, Battle hit two free throws then took a loose ball coast-to-coast for the strong finish, pulling Penn State to within 23-18 with 6:50 remaining in the first half. After Indiana's Jordan Hull hit his second three-pointer of the game, Battle responded with a trey of his own for his seventh point in the span of 1:24.
Indiana regained a nine-point lead after a Derek Elston three-pointer, but Ott kept the Lions close with their final three baskets of the half, including one with just two seconds remaining before time expired.
Penn State travels to Wisconsin on Sunday for a showdown with the Badgers at 2:30 p.m. (ET). The Nittany Lions return home next Wednesday to host Illinois at 6:30 p.m. Both games are scheduled for the Big Ten Network.