Hoosiers ready for ‘more experienced’ Penn State squad; Sheehey nears 1,000 career points

  • 02/12/2014 9:46 am in

Just over a month ago, Indiana received one of its biggest scares to to date this season when the Hoosiers trailed by 15 points to a then 9-7 (0-2 Big Ten) Penn State squad on Jan. 11.

Indiana went on to win that game in University Park, Pa., 79-76: its only road win and one of just three wins decided by single digits this entire season.

Tonight at 7 p.m. in Assembly Hall, those two teams will meet again, as the Hoosiers (14-9, 4-6) will look to stop a Nittany Lions squad (12-12, 3-8) that has won three of its past five games after starting the conference season with an 0-6 mark.

“You can’t look at this team and judge them on percentages,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “You have to judge them on ability and their ability to create havoc on offense and defense. This is still a team that has the same people that we played against at the beginning of the Big Ten season and they are that much more experienced now.”

When taking an in-depth look at the Nittany Lions through their first 11 Big Ten games, they have indeed struggled — especially defensively — according to the numbers. Their defense ranks 11th in efficiency (1.08 points per possession allowed), last in 3-point shooting defense (37.3 allowed) and again, last in defensive rebounding (opponents rebound 35.7 percent of their misses).

The offense, according to the numbers, isn’t much better either, as Penn State ranks in the bottom half of the conference in efficiency (0.99 PPP), effective field goal percentage (44.8) and assist-to-field-goal ratio (39.6 percent), among other categories.

But after starting the season losing seven of their first 19 games by nine points or less, the Nittany Lions have found a way to win, regardless.

“They’ve got a lot more confidence,” senior Will Sheehey said. “They’ve been winning games. They’re playing great. They’re a balanced basketball team, everybody on the team can score and everybody can make plays. They’re a tough team.”

Part of the formula to that, Crean said on Monday, has been the Nittany Lions’ commitment to simply play hard for third-year head coach Pat Chambers and the emergence of sophomore forward Brandon Taylor as a third scoring threat.

On Jan. 23, 12 days after its loss to Indiana, Penn State won its first Big Ten game of the season in a four-point home victory over Nebraska. At Ohio State the following week, the Nittany Lions came back from an 11-point deficit with less than eight minutes to go to defeat the Buckeyes in overtime. And at home against Purdue just two Sundays ago, the Nittany Lions posted a nine-point win over the Boilermakers.

The constant in those wins has been Taylor: In addition to their main scoring threats in graduate student Tim Frazier and junior D.J. Newbill, Taylor has averaged 15 points per game in their wins. And with two players in Frazier and Newbill who are already proven scorers — both average at least 16.2 points per game — the emergence of Taylor has allowed their games to open up, as well.

“If there is one guy who is continuing to flourish, people would think it is Tim Frazier and D.J. Newbill and they are,” Crean said. “But Brandon Taylor is playing extremely well for them also.”

“Taylor’s a big key to them,” sophomore Austin Etherington added. “When he scores, they do really well.”

Only a month ago, Indiana needed a late baseline 3-pointer from Etherington to seal a victory against the Nittany Lions. And despite their 3-8 record in conference play, it doesn’t mean much to the Hoosiers.

Penn State has their full attention.

“We’ve got to take all the steps necessary to get a stop on defense and take a good shot on offense,” Sheehey said. “We’ve got to make sure we don’t play the scoreboard. I think that we might have done that in the past, so we’ve got to make sure we don’t do that.”

Sheehey nearing 1,000 points

One thing to keep an eye out for tonight: Sheehey enters the game with 987 career points, just 13 shy of the 1,000-point mark.

Should Sheehey be able to achieve the feat, the Stuart, Fla., native would become the 47th player in Indiana University history to do so. He currently ranks at No. 47 in the school’s all-time scoring list behind Jared Jeffries, who scored 1,008 in his career at IU from 2000 to 2002.

In Sheehey’s four seasons at Indiana, though, he has never scored more than 12 points in a game against Penn State. Tonight will be his eighth and perhaps final matchup against the Nittany Lions.

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  • thrawnjan

    I can hear Admiral Ackbar in my head. This game could end all hope for an NCAA bid, and I hope it doesn’t.

  • MillaRed

    An Admiral Ackbar reference will always score points in the MillaRed world. I wonder how many people will read that today and have no idea what you are talking about.

    1A – Big Red Truck
    1B – Admiral Ackbar

    You people have skills.

    “It’s a trap!”

  • Kyl470

    It’s a trap.

  • IU-Faithful

    Absolutely agree 100%. We need to get 5 wins with 8 games left to have a good shot at the tournament. The road to that is already tough, but a decent possibility. A loss tonight kills us dead.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I hope Will hits that mark tonight. He has been a model of hustle and determination for us and it will be a nice achievement for him.

  • Alford Bailey

    Just when I thought I’d seen it all during this Hoosier basketball season out come the Star Wars references. Whats next?

  • HoosierFan76
  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Heads up Jordan. You left a “to to” in the first line.

  • Indiana_Banners

    I will not fault Sheehey’s effort but he has been a major disappointment this year. I’m glad he’ll reach this landmark though I’d bet against it happening tonight if I’m honest with myself. I thought Sheehey might average 13ppg this year, instead his game has suffered in many areas and he has struggled with his shot selection in both shots he has attempted and shots he has passed up.

    I’m not downing him, but I thought he was capable of so much more than he has brought to the team this year.

  • Snookafly

    I really wish they would’ve let Ole Miss use him as their mascot when the students voted for it.

  • Hoosier Hall

    I wouldn’t use the word disappointment. He hasn’t been quite what a lot of us expected but his role changed dramatically this year so it has been tough for him. I imagine he has put an enormous amount of pressure on himself which never makes it easy. He did save us from a terrible loss against LIU Brooklyn early in the season though.

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    horrible coaching, noah as your inbound passer??????????

  • Jersey Hoosier

    He’s brought more a lot more to the team this year than the coach. What did you think of the last five minutes of the game?

  • Jersey Hoosier

    The word “incompetent” comes to mind/

  • BeatWisconsin

    Ugh. Maybe it’s like the Stockholm syndrome, but I was kinda rooting for Penn State towards the end since what they were doing was kinda amazing ( and IU isn’t in the running for anything this year). Maybe it was out of disgust – but it is the first time I have ever felt this way. Anyone else get the same feeling?? Also felt that if JH had just forced the ball into Yogi from out of bounds, rather than take the 5 second call, that would have ended the game.

  • GaHoosier

    WORST LOSE I HAVE EVER WATCHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    IU will NOT make the NCAA tournament this year!

    Season over.

    Who the **** I’m supposed to watch in April!!!!!!!!!!!


  • Guyton25

    20,000 turnovers and a home loss to Penn State destroys any hope for a tournament bid and adds another example (Vonleh inbounds) to the argument that Crean is a bad in-game coach… I try so hard to defend him to my grandpa, my brother, in Dunkirk and the Vid, but it’s too hard when he adds fuel to their fire every single game….

  • GaHoosier

    CTC isn’t the only reason they lost.


    NCAA bye bye

  • Jersey Hoosier

    How about the Hollowell in-bound pass several minutes before that one? If you are still trying to defend him, you should give up. He doesn’t deserve your efforts.

  • GaHoosier

    I absolutely feel sick to my stomach after that game. How the **** do you blow that lead. Up 10 points, with 2 minutes and 30 seconds to go, and you’re in the double bonus!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Guyton25

    I was pulling for Penn State to bring it close when the margin was hanging around 10 (50-41 – 61-51) but I can never root for a team to beat IU in Assembly Hall. This loss is unexcuseable and downright embarrassing

  • Paul

    A team loss indeed. No NCAA indeed.

  • Paul

    We fell right in. Shucks. It’s tough to truly accept the season is over this early.

  • GaHoosier

    Unexcusable and embarrassing is CORRECT.

  • ChitwoodIN

    I wonder after 7 winnable games in the conference, when we’ll stop blaming the players on the court. When a team can’t inbound a ball, when a team can’t get the ball across the timeline, when a team has non starters on the floor in the last 3 critical minutes of a game…..yeah, let’s blame it on the players, because they’re the ones making the choices that are contrary to the decisions that are so obvious to those who have watched for the last 30+ yrs. So many head scratching moments for me….knowing they are set up for failure. It’s at the point now where I’m calling what will happen 20 seconds before it does…..and it’s killing me because I know it all could be different.

  • Et_Tu_Brutus

    Noah as the inbounder makes sense due to his height. Bad judgment by Hallowell, plus the late turnovers by 2 seniors inexcusable this late in the year.


  • GaHoosier

    Hey IU….Sheehey is playing great. He has 999 points…lets make sure he doesn’t touch the ball again.
    Instead, lets have Evan Gordan take 5 of our last 6 shots…he barely hits the rim!!!!!

  • Guyton25

    I really hope Crean understands that losses at home against Penn State and Northwestern is not passable at this point in his career here. I don’t care who we lost last year or if we have kittens on the court. You coach at Indiana and we gave you years of understanding but now there’s no excuse for these losses.

  • HoosierFan76

    I wish IU could’ve had him inbounding the ball at the end of the game.

  • Jersey Hoosier

    I must disagree. Who pulled HMP twice after Perea made great defensive plays? Who insisted upon playing Hollowell in spite of his consistently bad on-court decisions? There is only one person who is responsible for this loss, and we all know who that is.

  • William Hagenmaier

    I quit watching en 3 weeks ago and i feel great

  • GaHoosier


    The Minute After will reach over 600 posts…maybe 1000 posts (one for every turn IU had in the last 2 minutes).

  • Guyton25

    I’d prefer losses to Wisconsin and Michigan and wins against Northwestern and Penn State. it’s like producing gold on the court one night and then sitting and letting someone take a dump right on center court the next.

  • Guyton25

    Wake me up when the NIT starts.. Hopefully they’ll accept us.

  • ChitwoodIN

    Coaching. Over half this conference season has been lost by coaching. Sure, they’re not on the court, but they have everything to do with who’s on the court in all of these horrific finishes. I’m exhausted with the “but, but we lost 4 thousand pt scorers” excuse. We HAVE talent on this team, but refuse to exploit it. I hope everyone who has used this excuse finds solace in their conviction at this point, because it’s Feb 12th and this season is done.

  • GaHoosier

    CTC made mistakes…MANY mistakes.

    But the players still have to be smart. Yogi didn’t seem to want the ball, Sheehey made a bad pass, Hollowell…couldn’t count to five, Vonleh threw a pass to the other team, and Gordan took all the shots down the stretch…missing all 5 attempts (by the way).

    They all lost this game. They all lost their chances of an NCAA tournament appearance (pending a big ten tournament win…not likely).

    They blew it…plain and simple. Credit Penn State for the victory, but IU gift wrapped that game!

  • Paul

    Only one person? Really? Come on man.

  • Jersey Hoosier

    Depends upon whether the selection committee places more weight on player talent or coaching talent. If it’s the latter, we wouldn’t be allowed to play in the IHSAA tournament.

  • GaHoosier

    I love IU basketball and I haven’t missed a game in years, but I doubt I will watch IU in the NIT. Not worth the time.

  • GaHoosier

    Will should have made it to 1000 points tonight, but IU decided to stop giving him the ball. It was a total shame!

  • Sarasota Hoosier

    if you cant get it to a guard, stick noah on free throw line, throw the ball up and let him go get it, its not rocket science. Passing has been his major weakness all year.

  • ChitwoodIN

    Is anyone really ready to hear any excuse from the presser? Is there anyone who is lathering up to hear about what went wrong??? Even though we all knew what went wrong prior to it going wrong? But let’s fall in line anyway.
    Personally, it’s starting to not matter who our recruits are, because they WILL dry up in the future if the wins aren’t there…..and then we won’t even be able to fall back on “he’s a great recruiter” argument….recruits watch too and they expect to win.

  • Alford Bailey

    I don’t think so. Not that many people care anymore.

  • ChitwoodIN

    Who made the decisions to put non starters in the game with less than 3 to go? (They were chosen as starters for a reason, correct?) Who put the players who shouldn’t be inbounding in that position? Yogi didn’t seem to want the ball????? Funny, because he was within 3 ft of the inbounds with nothing but air and opportunity when the “non” inbounder decided to count to 5. Excuses are like……………
    This was coaching, try as you may, it will not convince me.

  • Ole Man

    They’re predicting “blood in the water” on the forum.
    Think the mods will earn their pay tonight….LOL!

  • Ole Man

    Actually, why was JH still in the game at that point. He hasn’t had the late game pressure play lately.
    I don’t blame him. I blame the coaches for having him in there instead of TW.

  • Bruce Clark

    Inexcusable turnovers by 2 seniors at the end (Sheehey & Gordon). Can’t find fault with Crean for that. Noah inbounding the ball: fine with that – except that, statistically, he is prone to turnovers.

    Let’s face it: this team, though talented, just doesn’t have the killer instinct needed to close out games. I hope we see both Yogi and Noah back along with Robinson and Williams. Add in 3 excellent shooters and we should have a fantastic year – just not this one.