Conventional wisdom says that Indiana is supposed to comfortably handle Penn State in basketball, and for the most part they have since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten back in the 92-93 season. Since then Indiana owns a 35-11 series advantage, and 6 of those 11 Penn State wins came in connection with the IU 2008 program collapse and the seasons that followed.
It may not be something that Indiana fans are too excited about, but the last six games going back to 2014 have been anything but comfortable. In fact, they have all been last minute thrillers. Penn State head coach Pat Chambers has done a really nice job getting his team ready to play against Indiana. With the teams set to meet on Tuesday in what appears to be an evenly matched contest we thought we’d look back at those last 6 contests for perhaps what may be a preview of things to come this year:
FEBRUARY 1, 2017: INDIANA 110 PENN STATE 102 (3 OT)
In its typical fashion against Penn State, Indiana blew an early double digit lead in this one and it would take 3 extra sessions to finally determine a winner. As you might expect, the 3 OT game produced several unique statistics, like Robert Johnson playing 50 minutes, three IU players scoring more than 25 (Bryant, Johnson, Newkirk), and three players with double digit rebounds (Bryant, Johnson, and Green). Penn State’s Tony Carr had 14 assists.
Josh Newkirk hit a buzzer beater on a drive to the basket to force the second OT.
JANUARY 18, 2017: INDIANA 78 PENN STATE 75
As if the 3 OT loss wasn’t heartbreaking enough, IU had defeated Penn State just weeks earlier on a last minute James Blackmon, Jr. buzzer beater. Once again Indiana would blow a big lead to allow for the last minute heroics. Indiana lost OG Anunoby for the season in this one. The game also included a strange statistic as IU was led in scoring by Blackmon, Thomas Bryant and Robert Johnson, each with 17 on the game.
FEBRUARY 6, 2016: PENN STATE 68 INDIANA 63
In a tight game that would go back and forth the Lions pulled off the upset of the 22nd ranked Hoosiers. Brandon Taylor would go for a game high 24 points. While it felt like a tough loss at the time, it served as a spring board as Indiana would win 6 of its last 7 in conference games to secure an outright Big Ten title.
JANUARY 13, 2015: INDIANA 76 PENN STATE 73
With 6:53 left, IU led by 12, and with 3:28 to play, the lead remained at 7. Yet, with 14 seconds left, PSU found itself with the ball, and a shot to force overtime. D.J. Newbill would fumble a pass and then recover to call timeout with 4 seconds remaining. The in bounds pass went to Newbill, whose desperation shot was off line, but found its way to Brandon Taylor who retreated to the 3-point line and hit a dramatic shot fractions of a second after the clock struck zero.
FEBRUARY 12, 2014: PENN STATE 66 INDIANA 65
Indiana led by 11 with 2:30 to go in the game and would be outscored 13-1 for the remainder of the game. Things got so bad for Indiana down the stretch that they could barely inbound the ball. Tim Frazier would hit the game winner for the Lions.
JANUARY 11, 2014: INDIANA 79 PENN STATE 76
Redshirt sophomore Austin Etherington drilled a 3-pointer from the corner with 1:22, giving the Hoosiers the lead for good. IU made six free throws in the final minute and a defensive stop at the end in a 79-76 comeback victory at Penn State.
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(Photo: Trevor Ruszkowski, USA TODAY Sports)