Penn State basketball added another "almost" to its growing resume of near victories on Tuesday night as the Nittany Lions fell 74-70 to Indiana in Bloomington.
The Nittany Lions were set for a difficult evening from the outset as junior guard Josh Reaves did not make the trip with the team for non-specific academic issues. He is slated to return to for Penn State's game against Nebraska this Friday.
Even so the Nittany Lions managed to hang with the Hoosiers even as Mike Watkins picked up two quick fouls in the first half and missed the majority of the opening 20 minutes.
In turn Penn State leaned on a solid outing from Lamar Stevens who was fresh off a career-high 30 points against Northwestern. Stevens would score 20 on the night but nearly all of those points coming in the first half.
Indiana would balloon its 35-31 halftime lead to double digits in the early going before Penn State slowly reeled in the Hoosiers with timely shot making and stout defense. Watkins managed 10 points in the second half to go with his 12 rebounds and Tony Carr continued his own solid night with 28 points. Outside of Carr, Stevens and Watkins, the rest of the team combined for 12 total points.
And It wasn't enough, Indiana would hold Penn State at arms-length for much of the second half. The Nittany Lions would get within a basket or two before Indiana responded. In the final minutes it was a mixture of defense and free throws that kept Penn State close in spite of a four minute drought without a basket.
All told Penn State falls to 12-6 on the year and 2-3 in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions have lost in the Big Ten by one, four and six points this season.