The Minute After: Penn State

  • 02/01/2017 10:28 pm in

Thoughts on a 110-102 win over the Nittany Lions:

It was at times a hot mess, a dark comedy full of schadenfreude and calamity. But after three overtimes, the first ever for Indiana in Bloomington, it’s now finally … officially … a victory.

You may have forgotten — before this game devolved into the weirdest, wildest, strangest, most never-endingist contest of the Tom Crean era — but Indiana put together a strong stretch in the first half. It was all energy and effort. Indiana out-worked Penn State on the boards and punched its foot to the accelerator hard on break. Thomas Bryant continued to remind Indiana fans of a season ago when he dominated games. Penn State was left in the dust and the Hoosiers busted out to a comfortable nine-point lead at half (46-37).

But this is Indiana this year. And no lead is safe. No upward trend likely to continue. And so we went to the second half. The offense stalled, reminiscent of Sunday’s performance against Northwestern. Indiana turned the ball over and over and over again. The Hoosiers had issues stopping the second worst offense in the conference and had to resort to a zone defense for long stretches.

But on a night neither team shot well from the the free throw line, freshman De’Ron Davis saved the Hoosiers in regulation, hitting two free throws with three seconds to play to tie the game at 72. Indiana gave Josh Reaves a coast-to-coast look at the buzzer that didn’t fall.

Onwards to overtime one. And overtime two. And finally overtime three. There was enough going on in each to make your head spin. The Josh Newkirk first overtime buzzer beater that almost wasn’t. The times it looked the Hoosiers had pulled it out, only for Penn State to come back. The times it looked like Penn State had pulled it out, only for the Hoosiers to come back. An exhausted group of players on both teams, the ball bouncing around the court like a pinball, fumes for fuel as each scrapped and clawed and tried, however awkwardly, however ugly, to will their team to a victory.

“It wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination,” an amped-up Tom Crean said on Branch McCracken Court after the contest. “But with everything we’ve been dealing with as of late, we’ll take it. And I’m incredibly proud of the way they battled.”

Bryant played Goliath to a host of Penn State’s Davids time and again, but he kept fighting through the constant barrage of double and triple teams on his way to a career high 31 points before fouling out in the third overtime. Without James Blackmon Jr. for a second straight contest, Josh Newkirk lit it up from 3-point range, hitting 4-of-8 from distance, finishing with a career-high 27 points. And Robert Johnson, who was all of a sudden splashing in floaters, also added a career-high 27 points.

It would be foolish to say this game is going to turn around Indiana’s season. There are too many tough contests ahead, there are a number of injuries and a conference-worst defense to boot.

But for a night, however whacky it was, Indiana’s depleted roster never gave up, never gave in, kept fighting and stuck with this one for 55 minutes of play amidst Hoosiers Nation’s growing apathy for this team and the season.

Tip your hat, all.

Filed to:

  • Good point. It’s also somewhat accurate (based on the past month or so) and subtly stated, so no problems in my opinion.

  • INUnivHoosier2

    I agree with the thought when they had a little more time. With about 10-15 seconds left, it was pretty clear that they didn’t have much going on (in regulation), and it seems like a better idea to set up a play than to hope for the best of a bad situation.

    In the end, it worked out, so it’s hard to complain too much.

  • INUnivHoosier2

    Can he “Boozer” Swanigan?

  • IULore

    That’s a tall order!

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    And after some games, we are about as fun as a trip to the dentist for a filling and then heading over to the BMV, while we still have a numb mouth, and they ask us to recite a tongue twister in order to get our new license.

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    It’s just my opinion. I’ve noticed a difference in writing this year over past rough seasons. No one has to agree with me, but that’s how I see it.

    If I may, I will say that I think you are giving them a pass. Sure it is tough to be passionate about a team, yet keep your high highs and low lows out of your columns, tweets and podcasts. The moment that this site was created, Alex (and staff) became more than just fans. They have access to the program that we don’t have. I would never say that it isn’t a hard balancing act, but that doesn’t mean it would not be a worthwhile endeavor. I’ve never had an issue with it until this season. I feel this season we haven’t gotten as professional commentary as in years past, and I would like to see a return to the professionalism I, and many others, came to expect from ITH over the years.

    Again, JMO. I’m used to having a minority opinion around here. It’s almost a badge of honor now! 🙂

  • John D Murphy

    So you get decide what a fan is?

  • calbert40 – AC000000

    Yes, didn’t you get the memo? It is a heavy burden, but one I do take very seriously. I hope I decide compassionately, yet justly.

    I think it is pretty obvious that the statement is my opinion not a fact; however, I stand by it. A fan can be many things in relation to his team: happy, angry, ecstatic, apoplectic, deluded, etc. One thing I struggle to see out of a “fan” is when they say they are tuning out until X, Y and Z happen. I don’t agree with it.

  • dssnyder

    has anyone looked into JBJs stats to prove he is a “net loss”? I’ve read the statement MANY times about how he is a detriment to the team but I’m not buying it.

  • Missing Moye

    I doubt it. It’s a pretty hard thing to prove either way. On offense, you can put a somewhat tangible figure on it due to points scored, but what about the value he brings in spacing and occupying the other team’s best defender? On defense, you could try to find some numbers with him on or off the floor, but they will be far from definitive.

    Last year I truly believed he was a net loss, however. Before his injury, he was absolutely atrocious on defense, and we had Yogi, Max RJ, NZ and plenty of other capable scorers. We didn’t miss him that much on offense, as possibly illustrated by the results of last year. This yeah, however, I don’t think there’s any question we’re a better team when he’s playing. I still have seen a few people claim otherwise, though.

  • Missing Moye

    His defense on the ball is pretty good. Off the ball, not so much. He got exposed a bit last night.

    No need to address my last point. We all know where you stand.

  • Missing Moye

    It’s interesting Tom, because I posted some takes last night about the game on this article. I complimented Green and Davis, along with Newkirk and Johnson. I also mentioned that I thought McRoberts’ defense was lacking. Of those 5 points, which one did you choose to respond to and highlight?

    You can see negative in everything if you try, and even unwittingly perpetuate it.

  • TomJameson

    Don’t know why you’re coming at me, but I’ll bite. I said that I thought you were a little hard on McBob. Honestly, you did more than a mention on him, and couched a little bit of complimenting in a negative way. Maybe I read a tone into it that you didn’t mean. If so, I apologize.

    I also said, directly, that I wasn’t even going to go to your last point, which was that you wanted a coaching change for next year. I’d call that a little direct negativity (although not necessarily a minority opinion these days). Everything else you said I agreed with.

    And you know that I was talking to Calbert about negativity in general, and I made a comment about my own negativity, nothing about you at all. You know that … right?

    It’s extremely hard to convey tone in the written word, which makes it extremely easy to be misunderstood. I try to re-read all my comments prior to hitting the enter button. Unfortunately, I don’t consistently enough, practice what I preach.

  • TomJameson

    Oh heck, everybody got exposed last night. Hahahaha … no exceptions. I’ll still take McRoberts hustle every day.

    As far as your last point, I don’t think you really do know where I stand. Just because I support the current coach, and choose not to undermine him while he has the job, doesn’t mean that I’m not open to a change as long as it’s done the right way.

  • IUMIKE1

    Good comment, well put.

  • IUMIKE1

    That’s a starting five that I would have enjoyed seeing, but I have to really wonder if Crean would have still went with a three guard lineup….sadly I think he would have still started three guards.