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Penn State Basketball: Nittany Lions Fall 110-102 In 3OT To Indiana

by on February 01, 2017 10:30 PM

For a game that lasted just over three hours, perhaps as long as this weekend's commercial filled Super Bowl, it renders much of the first-half-turned-ancient-history useless when it comes to summarizing the evening.

So to get to the point, Penn State lost 110-102 in triple overtime on the road at Indiana on Wednesday night.

In the interest of transparency the Nittany Lions played well in early going despite Indiana pushing out to an early 11-6 lead. From there the Nittany Lions worked their way back shooting 50 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes of the marathon and taking a 17-14 lead with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half.

Indiana, as the Hoosiers often do at home, made the most of its shooting abilities and the big man skill of Thomas Bryant to work out to a 44-31 lead with 2:27 remaining. 

A deep three by Shep Garner was the only basket in the final 2:01 and cut the margin to just nine points heading into the intermission. It was a game that was manageable for Penn State as the Nittany Lions continued to shoot well from the floor and score more points, register more assists and manage more threes than the Hoosiers in the opening frame. The kicker of course, was Indiana's +12 advantage on the glass and eight offensive rebounds en route to 28 points in the paint.

Penn State didn't fold though, quickly cutting the Indiana lead to just four points less than two minutes in. From there Indiana would never lead by more than seven and with 38 seconds to go Tony Carr's free throws gave Penn State a two points lead, seemingly on the brink of a critical victory.

But things are never as easy as they seem.

Lamar Stevens made one of two free throws with 22 seconds to play putting Penn State up 72-70.

And then all hell broke loose.

A foul on Stevens sent Indiana to the line with three seconds to play, both free throws made, tying the game at 72-72.

Josh Reaves would get the ball at midcourt, but his running floater attempt would bank too high off the glass and miss the hoop and the rim as time expired, sending the game into overtime.

In the first overtime period baskets by Julian Moore and Carr put Penn State up four points with under two minutes to play. A free throw make by Stevens put Penn State up by three with 27 seconds to go.

But then Indiana went inside to Bryant, who forced home a shot, cutting the lead to a single point. Shep Garner went 1-for-2 from the line with nine seconds to go, putting Penn State up two points.

it was Josh Newkirk, ripping out Penn State's hearts, making a basket by the tips of his fingers as the clock expired, sending the game into a second overtime. The basket was reviewed but the split second make was deemed good by the referees, a call decided by less than an inch.

The second overtime was more of the same back and forth, seemingly inexplicable onslaught of baskets and free throws. Indiana would lead by as many as six, with 1:05 to go before a Mike Watkins dunk cut it to four. An Indiana turnover cut that lead down to a single point as Garner hit a long three and then an eventual drive and foul by Carr allowed the freshman to tie the game with four seconds to go. It was Reaves blocking the shot on the other end that kept the game tied and heading to a third overtime.

This game was, as all games are, destined to end. So as Indiana went up five with 2:55 to go in the third overtime it seemed that time had arrived. Stevens turned the ball over early and the Hoosiers made the most of it.

But because this game had lasted so long it wasn't without one final gasp of bizarre twists. Despite Indiana leading by as many as 10 with 1:57 to go, Penn State drove to the hoop and between a combination of made baskets, turnovers and stops managed to cut the lead to just four points with 43 seconds to go.

It never got any closer than that though, the Hoosiers making four free throws down the stretch and Penn State failing to score again as the game found its final margin.

On paper it was as odd of a game as it was on the court. Five players fouled out, five player scored more than 20 points. Stevens led the way with 26 points while Tony Carr had 23 points and 14 assists in 42 minutes of play. Both teams attempted a combined 158 shots, the game was tied 14 times, changed hands six times and the Hoosiers scored 66 points in the paint. Nothing was normal.

Perhaps, though, nothing will loom larger than 17-of-29 shooting from the free throw line for Penn State, a crippling statistic down the line despite 46 percent shooting from the field.

Penn State falls to 4-6 on the year in Big Ten play with Rutgers headed to State College this weekend. The Nittany Lions have dropped three games in conference play to the tune of a buzzer beater, three points and a triple overtime game that was in part decided by .01 seconds.

So as always the future seems as bright as it seems distant for the Nittany Lions, but if nothing else it will be a long time before anyone forgets what happened on Wednesday night in Bloomington, Indiana.



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