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Penn State Basketball: Comeback Turns To Heartbreak As Indiana Buzzer Beater Sinks Lions

by on January 18, 2017 10:00 PM

Penn State erased a 14-point second half deficit, down by as many as eight in the final 1:07 of regulation, to tie the game with 4.6 seconds remaining. The potential overtime victory wasn't to be though as a deep Indiana three by James Blackmon Jr. at the buzzer gave the Hoosiers a 78-75 victory on Wednesday night in the Bryce Jordan Center.

How It Happened:

Penn State and Indiana traded blows for much of the first half in a fast-paced, back-and-forth affair. The Nittany Lions would lead by as many as seven points midway through the frame as Penn State beat Indiana to rebounds and second chance opportunities. Foul trouble on Josh Reaves and Mike Watkins hurt an otherwise stout Penn State defense and the Hoosiers took advantage, slowly working back into the game. With just under five minutes to go in the half Indiana began a quick run that turned the fairly even half into a nine-point Hoosier led with just under a minute to go. Two free throws by Tony Carr cut the margin to just seven heading into the second half.

The final 20 minutes were essentially more of the same as Indiana looked a confident team, especially in the paint, and sloppy turnovers and several missed shots slowly plagued a suddenly rattled looking Nittany Lion squad. Down by 13 with 5:36 to go it didn't look like a fourth Big Ten win was in the cards for Penn State just yet.

A layup by Shep Garner, a dunk by Josh Reaves and another three by Garner in the span of just over a minute changed the entire complexion of the game though, forcing an Indiana timeout with 2:52 to play in just a six point game. Indiana struggled to get the ball into play on several occasions but the Hoosiers still managed to lead by eight with 1:18 to go in regulation.

Two straight Indiana turnovers allowed the Nittany Lions to cut the lead to just five with 57 seconds remaining and two missed 1-and-1 free throws gave Penn State a chance to cut into the lead again.

Garner did just that nailing a long three with 39 seconds to play and Lamar Stevens' steal with 11 seconds remaining and drive to the basket set up the game tying free throws. Stevens willed both shots in, but Blackmon did the same on a three at the buzzer, winning the game for Indiana.

It Was Over When:

Blackmon's three hit the net as time expired and Penn State's comeback in the final minutes ended in heartbreak. The game felt over far before that moment though as the Nittany Lions trailed by double figures for most of the final 10 minutes of regulation. A 17-7 run in the final 5:36 tied the game.

Stat Of The Game:

Penn State missed 10 free throws over the course of the game, a stat that was particularly glaring as Blackmon's three fell. The Nittany Lions had 11 turnovers to Indiana's 17 but down by double figures each turnover felt far more important than the final tally. The Hoosiers managed 23 second chance points and hauled down 13 offensive rebounds to Pen State's 15. Perhaps most impressively, Penn State stayed in the game and eventually tied it despite Indiana shooting the ball at an 11-percent clip better than the Nittany Lions.

A double-double machine, Mike Watkins had no rebounds and just four points in 13 minutes of play. He had his thumb wrapped prior to the game.

Player Of The Game:

For Penn State it was Tony Carr and his 24 points on 6-of-13 shooting as well as 10-of-11 shooting from the line that paced the Nittany Lions offensively. Carr also added four rebounds and two assists to his night. Shep Garner also had one of his better outings on the year with 12 points in the second half and 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc including a key three late in the game.

Three separate Indiana players finished the evening with 17 points but Blackmon gets the nod for the Hoosiers tonight. 

Up Next: 

Penn State heads out on the road to face Purdue on Saturday. Tip-off is at noon with the game airing on BTN.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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