Penn State Stuns #17 Indiana in Overtime, 68-64
March 9, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.; March 9, 2008 - Playing without its top two scorers and rebounders, Penn State (15-15, 7-11) sent four freshmen to the floor and stunned No. 18 Indiana (25-6, 14-4), 68-64, Sunday in the Bryce Jordan Center to wrap up the Nittany Lions' best Big Ten campaign since 2001.
With All-Big Ten honorees Geary Claxton and Jamelle Cornley both sidelined due to knee injuries, Penn State got a season-high 41 points and 28 rebounds from four freshmen to down its second Top 20 ranked team in its last five home games and extended its Big Ten home win streak to five games, its longest since 1996. With two victories over Top 25 teams on the year, Penn State has logged its most since the 2000-01 season and now has three such victories under coach Ed DeChellis.
"I told these guys we haven't had Geary [Claxton] for a long time and we lost Jamelle [Cornley] this week, but I have full confidence in you and we are going to rise above and some guys are going to make some plays and we are going to go in there and play as hard as we can for 40 minutes." DeChellis said. "We got into overtime and I told them, `I lied to you. We have to play 45.'"
The Nittany Lions' chalked up their seventh Big Ten win of the season and locked up a seventh place finish in the conference, marking the team's most Big Ten wins and best conference finish since tying for sixth with a 7-9 conference mark in 2001. The win also marked the 13th at home on the season as Penn State matched its most ever home wins in a season since beginning play in the Jordan Center in 1996. Penn State equaled the home mark of 13-4 posted in 1999-2000.
"I think we have a great young nucleus of players," DeChellis said. "We started four freshmen tonight and the guys that basically played a lot of minutes tonight will be back. Mike [Walker] won't be back and Brandon [Hassell] won't be back, but I think we have some other guys that hopefully will step into their shoes and help us. We are just going to continue to build."
The Nittany Lions will now take on No. 10 seed Illinois in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament Thursday at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind. That game will tip at 2:30 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.
Penn State was led by David Jackson (Farrell, Pa.) who posted his first career double-double with 13 points and a career high 10 rebounds. Fellow freshman Jeff Brooks (Louisville, Ky) had a career-high 12 points and added six rebounds and freshmen Talor Battle (Albany, N.Y.) contributed 10 points, six rebounds, and five assists.
"Jeff Brooks was tremendous," DeChellis said. "D.J. Jackson seems to always make the big play. He seems to always be around the ball, and he has done that a few times now. So, I think our young kids did a good job and we fought and they have really been a resilient group."
Indiana was lead by freshman Eric Gordon's game-high 26 points and 5 rebounds but the Hoosier shot just 8-of-24 from the floor. Standout senior D.J. White added a double double with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Penn State, which started five first-year players for the second straight game, finished shooting just 37 percent (25-67) from the field and 25 percent (7-28) from three, but forced Indiana into 38 percent (22-58) from the floor and 21 percent (7-33) from three while the Hoosiers committed 17 turnovers. Despite the absence of top rebounders Claxton and Cornley, who average a combined 15 boards a game, Penn State out-hustled Indiana posting 15 offensive boards and hanging close in the rebounding battle trailing just 45-43. The 43 boards marked Penn State's most since a win at Illinois in the second game of the Big Ten season and its highest total by six boards since losing Claxton to a season-ending ACL tear 15 games ago.
After trailing by as many as eight with 11:15 to play in the second half, Penn State got four straight points from Brooks to cap a 12-6 run and get within two, 52-50, with 6:55 to play.
Following a White lay-up, Battle got a steal and a two-handed dunk to energize the crowd and bring Penn State back within two, 54-52, with 4:42 to play. Indiana pushed the lead back to three following a Gordon jumper but senior Brandon Hassell (Farmersville, Ohio) cleaned up a Mike Walker (Lewisberry, Pa.) miss with a tip-in to draw Penn State within one, 55-56 at the 3:14 mark.
Penn State missed two chances to cut into the lead and Indiana pushed it back to three following free throws from Gordon and Kyle Taber and led 58-55 with 1:42 to play.
Penn State called timeout with 33 seconds to play and set up a nice drive and dish from Stanley Pringle (Virginia Beach, Va.) who set up David Jackson for a tough lay-up and foul. Jackson completed the three-point play with a free throw to tie the game at 58-58. Gordon took a jumper with four seconds to play on the other end, but missed and Jackson came up with a big rebound to send the game into overtime.
Danny Morrissey (Cleveland, Ohio) started the overtime with a big three from the top of the key giving Penn State the lead, 61-58, 30 seconds in. White was fouled underneath with 4:07 to go and converted one of two free throws. After a missed Battle three and Andrew Jones (Philadelphia, Pa.) put-back for Penn State, White came back hitting a lay-up to tie the game, 61-61, with 3:00 to play.
Battle made a nice drive on the other end, but missed the tough lay-up but Jackson crashed the glass and got the tip at the 1:50 mark to give Penn State a 63-61 lead.
Gordon missed a two-point and a three-point jumper on the other end as Penn State forced him into 0-4 from the floor in overtime and just 1-of-7 in the final seven minutes and overtime.
Pringle came up with the big rebound and was fouled. He stepped to the line and sank the first put Penn State up three, 64-61. With a chance to make it a two-possession game Pringle missed hitting the front iron. Gordon came down after the rebound and missed another three-pointer. Battle grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He went to the line and made both for a five-point Lion lead, 66-61 with 22 seconds to play.
Jordan Crawford responded on the other end with his first three of the game to pull Indiana within two, 66-64, with 18 seconds remaining. Pringle was then fouled on the inbounds and knocked down a free throw to extend the lead to three for the Lions, 67-64. After a greatly contested missed three from Gordon, Battle again grabbed the rebound and knocked down another free throw to secure the win for Penn State.
Penn State led for much of the first half and went to the locker room up 31-30. The Nittany Lions took a 23-18 lead following a 12-4 run capped by a Jackson three-pointer at the 10:11 mark.
A Gordon dunk on a follow for Indiana cut Penn State's lead to one, 29-28 at the 2:40 mark. Jackson helped maintain the lead for Penn State with a basket inside and a chance for a three-point play but missed the free throw after being fouled to put the Nittany Lions' up 31-28.
A pair of White free throws following a Hassell foul completed the scoring in the half. Penn State shot 43 percent (12-28) from the field in the half and Indiana posted 44 percent (11-25) from the floor and 23 percent (3-13) from the arc.
Jones started off the second half with a huge effort on the glass and a tough lay-up inside to extend Penn State's lead to 33-30. Brooks followed with a jumper in the lane and Jackson made a free throw to give the Lions a 36-30 lead with 16:22 to play as Indiana started the half going 0-for-6 from the field.
Crawford stopped the run hitting two free throws to cut Penn State's lead to four, 36-32, with 15 minutes remaining and started a 14-0 run for Indiana.
Indiana hit its first field goal of the half after Gordon drove to the basket for two and completed the three-point play. He would score 12-straight points for the Hoosiers hitting three straight threes to put the Hoosiers up 44-36 with 12:08 to play
A Brooks jumper at the 10:43 mark started a 6-0 run for Penn State as the Lions tied the game at 46-46 with 8:52 to play. Pringle hit a big three and Jones put back a Pringle miss to tie the game.
Gordon snapped Penn State's run with an outside jumper and then two from the foul line to give Indiana the lead, 54-50, with 8:30 remaining. Brooks scored his career high 10th point with a lay-up to draw Penn State within two at the 7:38 mark and then followed that up with a jumper following a score by White to bring the Lions back to within two, 50-52, with 6:55 to play.
Freshmen scored 12 of Penn State's last 14 points to send the game into overtime and five of 10 overtime points to lead the Lions to victory.
The win marked Penn State's first over the Hoosiers since 2006, snapping a four-game Indiana win streak, and was just the fourth for Penn State in 31 meetings between the schools. It was the third overtime game between the schools, all of which have occurred in State College. Indiana had won the previous two. It was Penn State's first Big Ten overtime game since a 63-61 win over Northwestern in the Jordan Center in 2004 and the Lions second overtime win of the season joining an 89-86 defeat of Seton Hall in December.
Cornley will have season-ending arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday to repair damaged tissue in his left knee and speed the recovery process. He is expected to miss the next 3-4 months of physical activity following the surgery.
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