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Nittany Lions fall in OT to Indiana in Bloomington

From staff reports

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Penn State men’s basketball team overcame a 12-point deficit at Indiana in the waning minutes of regulation to force overtime, but the Nittany Lions eventually dropped a tough road contest, 87-85, Wednesday night at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

The Nittany Lions (3-4, 0-3 Big Ten) had a pair of chances on the last possession to send the game to a second overtime, but were unable to convert. Indiana’s Rob Phinisee made an extremely tough, contested jumper to give the Hoosiers (6-4, 1-2 Big Ten) the two-point lead that ended up standing as the game-winning basket. Indiana’s Trayce Jackson-Davis finished the night with a game-high 21 points.

Penn State junior guard Myreon Jones scored 14 of his team-best 20 points in the first half and combined with senior guard Jamari Wheeler’s basket for Penn State’s five overtime points. Junior guard Sam Sessoms tied his Penn State best with 17 points and scored seven-straight points to give Penn State an 80-79 lead with 28 seconds left. Jackson-Davis drew a foul and went to the line, making the first free throw, but missing the second to leave the score tied at 80 at the end of regulation.

Four Nittany Lions finished the night with double-figure scoring. Izaiah Brockington had 15 and sophomore forward Seth Lundy scored 10, all 10 coming in the second half off 4-6 shooting from the field.

“I am really proud of the effort our guys gave tonight,” said Penn State interim coach Jim Ferry. “I felt we really scrapped. We played extremely hard, especially in that second half to give ourselves an opportunity to win on the road against a very good Indiana team. I felt the defensive effort down the stretch was really, really good, and we trusted each other and made plays. We made though baskets to try to give ourselves a chance to win the basketball game.”

The Nittany Lions overcame a 12-point second half deficit and took the game down to the wire in overtime, but came up just short against the Hoosiers. Jackson-Davis’ field goal and foul shot put the Hoosiers up 85-83 with 1:03 left to play in the extra period, but Jones knotted the game at 85 with two made free throws with just 43 seconds left on the clock. For Jones, it was his second-straight 20-plus point game and eighth of his career.

After an Indiana timeout, Phinisee’s shot gave the Hoosiers an 87-85 lead and the final tally after a Penn State 30-second timeout and missed attempt.

Penn State’s grit was on full display as the Hoosiers extended their lead to 66-54 with 9:58 to play in regulation. A Sam Sessoms 3-pointer spurred the Nittany Lions 10-2 run which trimmed their deficit to four. The Nittany Lions continued to battle as senior John Harrar scored six straight points to keep Penn State within striking distance. Jones and Sessoms drilled treys to bring the deficit to one.

Following a pair of free throws for Indiana, Sessoms made his final two shots to give the Nittany Lions their first lead of the night at 80-79. A free throw by Indiana tied the game and Sessoms’ final shot was contested and went off the mark to send the game to overtime.

The Penn State defense kept Indiana at bay in the first half, helping Penn State keep stay close after a slow start offensively.

After going 3-11 from the field to start the game, the Nittany Lions found their stroke over the final 11:30 of the opening stanza. Penn State went 10-16 to finish the half as Indiana held a 38-33 lead going into the locker room.

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