Film Session: Penn State

  • 01/13/2023 7:46 am in

In its loss to the Nittany Lions on Wednesday night, the Hoosiers defended well for the first eight minutes of the contest. They limited Penn State, a team that shoots a high volume of 3-pointers, to just two makes from deep and .80 points per possession.

But the wheels fell off from there. Indiana lost shooters, overhelped and gave poor effort on defense. It allowed the Nittany Lions to get hot from deep over the final 12 minutes of the first half, a streak that continued the rest of the contest. Penn State cruised to a blowout victory as it connected on a program-high 18 3-pointers. The Nittany Lions hit 58 percent from deep on 31 attempts.

We’ll take a look at when the cracks started to show in IU’s defense during the first half in the latest edition of Film Session:

On our first play with the Hoosiers still in the lead, Kebba Njie set a drag screen for Jalen Pickett. Miller Kopp and Malik Reneau handle it well enough as Reneau, who’s in drop coverage, stops Pickett’s drive. Kopp recovers back to Pickett as a result with Reneau recovering back to Njie.

But as this is happening, Jordan Geronimo decides to come all the way into the lane, perhaps because he believes his assignment is to tag Njie’s roll from the weak side. But with Reneau not needing the help, all it does is leave Seth Lundy with an incredible amount of space on the left wing.

The 3-point shot from Lundy didn’t fall, but this overhelping continued the rest of the game from IU.

In our next play, Evan Mahaffey sets a ball screen for Pickett near the left elbow. Trey Galloway and Trayce Jackson-Davis execute a switch. Reneau does a nice job of stunting in to slow Pickett’s drive, which allows Galloway to stay in front of him. Galloway has his hands up in front of Pickett on the right low block and Jackson-Davis lingers behind, ready to add extra help on a shot attempt.

But then Tamar Bates comes off the right wing to send a double team at Pickett. All of a sudden, Indiana essentially has three defenders on the ball. From there, Pickett kicks it out to Camren Wynter on the right wing who swings to Lundy on the left wing. Reneau is left to defend the wings by himself (though Jackson-Davis does at least come on a closeout) and Lundy connects on the triple this time.

Indiana was sending extra attention at Pickett at times in this game, but Bates’ decision to do it when Pickett was down on the block with two defenders between him and the rim seemed ill-advised.

Another overhelping situation from the Hoosiers, another wide-open 3-point attempt from Lundy on the left wing.

This time around, it’s Wynter setting a ball screen for Mahaffey near the left slot. Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino execute a switch. From there, Hood-Schifino’s body language shows frustration. Maybe he was hoping to avoid switching onto a bigger player or was looking to switch back immediately? In any event, Mahaffey drives on Hood-Schifino, but Jackson-Davis does a nice job stunting to stop the drive and recovering out to Wynter on Mahaffey’s pass.

From there, Hood-Schifino stunts over to try and help out on Wynter’s drive on Jackson-Davis, but he’s over towards the left elbow as he does it, making it a long recovery back to Mahaffey on the pass.

But Hood-Schifino doesn’t even bother recovering back out. He stays in the lane on Wynter, perhaps confirming he’d rather be guarding him than Mahaffey. But all that does is leave another Nittany Lion with a serious amount of space to rise up on a 3-pointer. Mahaffey bangs it home from the right wing.

Really poor effort and awareness from Hood-Schifino here.

On our last play, Njie sets a screen for Andrew Funk on the right wing as Wynter controls the ball near the left wing. Miller Kopp decides to spin out of the screen and go under it. This allows Funk to cut to a few feet beyond the top of the key, receive the pass and bang home the 3-pointer to give Penn State a 10-point lead.

Tough look from Kopp here deciding to go under a screen on a shooter.

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