Penn State tied their program record on Wednesday evening with 18 made 3-pointers.
And while the Nittany Lions shot 58 percent from three, they missed several wide open looks as well.
Indiana’s inability to guard the perimeter and keep track of shooters was the clear difference in the game, as the Hoosiers lost their sixth contest in their last nine outings.
Let’s take a look at some common themes in Indiana’s defensive breakdowns.
DRIVES TO THE PAINT
Penn State guard Jalen Pickett is exceptional at getting to the paint area and breaking down defenses either via scoring opportunities or kick-out passes. He leads the team in both scoring an assists, and many of those numbers are produced in situations like this, where he collapses the defense. Here Trey Galloway is able to stay in front of Pickett, and he has plenty of support behind him.
But all that support in the paint is used against Indiana, who only had power forward Malik Reneau remaining to guard the top of perimeter. Pickett’s drive got four IU defenders to the baseline area. He kicked it out, and one extra pass led to a wide open Seth Lundy.
Here Miller Kopp is beat off the dribble. The Nittany Lions tried to isolate him in one-on-one matchups for this very reason. Tamar Bates is the help at the nail, but he’s completely lost track of his man, No. 10 Andrew Funk, whose specialty is 3-point shooting. Likely by design, Jalen Hood-Schifino is a bit walled off from Funk by his man. Funk is well beyond the arc, providing an even greater cushion for his shot. Funk nailed the open three.
Here Kopp gets put in a spin cycle by Funk after he faked a cut towards the paint and then planted his foot and stepped back out to the top of the key. Kopp had no idea at this point where his man was. As mentioned, Funk is a 3-point specialist. There was seemingly no reason for Kopp to be so concerned about Funk cutting into the paint that he allowed himself to get turned around and lose track of his man. Funk drilled this three as well.
Here Kopp is helping and loses track of Funk again, this time because he went for a Pickett pass fake. It isn’t clear why Kopp needs to help, with two other help defenders between the basket and the driver. Jordan Geronimo was already in the passing lane where the fake was directed. But Kopp reacted to the fake by raising his hands and leaving his feet — and the real pass went to Funk — who buried another triple.
OVER HELPING, TAKE TWO
This time Kopp loses track of Funk because he wants to stop dribble penetration at the rim. But Trayce Jackson-Davis is already between the driver and the basket. Indiana also seemed to lose track of the roll man Kebba Njie, who ended up open for a lob at the rim. But Funk cut out to the arc, while Kopp and all of his teammates were still helplessly down near the baseline. This three by Funk was one of the final daggers.
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