BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Coach Patrick Chambers hardly recognized Penn State for the first 36 minutes Wednesday night.
The Big Ten’s top scorer, D.J. Newbill, struggled to find good shots and the Nittany Lions’ second-leading scorer Tim Frazier was a non-factor.
It didn’t last.
Newbill came up with a steal with 12.3 seconds to go, and Frazier followed a timeout by driving for the go-ahead layup with 6.1 seconds left to give Penn State its only lead of the game and a stunning 66-65 victory at Indiana.
“It just became a different game,” Chambers said. “We were pressing, we weren’t pressing the whole game. You know what, 18 to 23-year-olds sometimes all of a sudden you’re down and then you’re going to play hard. It’s like ‘Where was this for the first 36 minutes?‘”
Frazier and Newbill had to wonder, too.
The truth was Penn State’s defense was every bit as efficient early as it was late. The Nittany Lions (13-12, 4-8 Big Ten) forced Indiana into 20 turnovers, four in the last 2:09 when the Hoosiers could barely get the ball inbounds.
The Hoosiers gave up the ball on a five-second call. They were called for a travel. And then in the closing 15 seconds, Frazier came up with a loose ball steal in the corner right in front of his bench and they eventually got the ball to Ross Travis for an open shot. He wound getting fouled, making only 1 of 2 free throws with 14.4 seconds to go, and then Newbill stole the next inbound pass near midcourt.
Frazier’s ensuing layup then capped the 13-1 run that erased Indiana’s seemingly safe 11-point lead with 3:19 to play.
“We want to try to force as many turnovers as possible,” Frazier said after finishing with 14 points. “You want to continue to play hard on defense, dive, get rebounds. We did that together as a team and that helped us out at the end.”
The victory ended Penn State’s two-game skid, snapped a five-game losing streak in the series and gave the Nittany Lions their first win at Assembly Hall since Dec. 27, 2010. It also kept them above .500.
For the Hoosiers (14-10, 4-7), it was a miserable way to finish — and they had nobody to blame for it but themselves.
With former Colts coach Tony Dungy and his wife, Lauren, watching from the front row, Indiana shot 51.2 percent from the field 38.5 percent on 3-pointers and out-rebounded Penn State. But they also gave up 22 points off turnovers and had only three players score in double figures — Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell finished with 16 points, Will Sheehey had 12 and Stanford Robinson added 11.
Ferrell had a chance to win it at the buzzer with a contested 17-foot jumper. It bounced off the front of the rim.
Coach Tom Crean and his players didn’t mince words about the collapse, either.
Crean contended his team lacked “awareness,” acknowledging that was the politest critique he could make.
Sheehey’s description: “We panicked; we didn’t stay true to the scouting report.”
Whatever the explanation, it wasn’t pretty for the Dungys, who came to Assembly Hall to sign their new book “Uncommon Marriage,” or anyone else.
Indiana appeared to have control after extending a 36-30 halftime lead to 54-41 on Ferrell’s 3-pointer with 11:21 to go.
Back came Penn State, closing the deficit to 56-51 with 6:33 remaining. Ferrell then scored four straight points in a 7-0 run that allowed Indiana to retake a 63-51 lead with 3:34 to go.
At that point, it appeared all the Hoosiers had to do was make free throws to seal it.
But the Hoosiers found a different way to lose it.
“The turnovers, there is no excuse,” Crean said. “I’d like to say, you know what, if we did this if we did that. What if we just aired it out and slowed it down. I’m not sure there’s an answer.”
The Nittany Lions found one, though.
After getting a 3 from Newbill, two free throws from Frazier and a 3 from Brandon Taylor, Indiana went into full panic mode.
Penn State converted the traveling call into a basket from Taylor, which made it 65-63 with 67 seconds left. After Frazier’s steal, Travis made the second of two free throws, forcing Indiana to inbound the ball again. This time, Newbill picked off the errant pass, and after a timeout, Frazier read the defense perfectly and scored the decisive layup.
“They never gave up,” Chambers said. “The huddles were fantastic, they kept looking at each other, ‘Keep getting stops, keep digging, keep playing hard, don’t worry about the refs, don’t worry about the environment, control what we can control’ and, look, they executed.”indiana - United States - North America - Patrick Chambers - Devonte Newbill - Tim Frazier - Ross Travis - Tony Dungy - Will Sheehey - Stanford Robinson - Tom Crean - Brandon Taylor - Bloomington - Big Ten Conference men's basketball - Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball - Penn State Nittany Lions men's basketball
First Published February 13, 2014 6:25 AM