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Penn State loses thriller to Indiana 79-76

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Penn State had a four-point lead at halftime was unable to hold off Indiana as the Hoosiers sent the reeling Nittany Lions to their fourth-straight Big 10 loss, 79-76, at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday afternoon.

UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – Junior D.J. Newbill had a game-high 24 points, including 14 in the second half, but the Penn State men's basketball team dropped a 79-76 matchup with Indiana Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Ross Travis registered 13 points and eight boards, while graduate guard Tim Frazier also turned in a double-figure scoring effort, adding 10 points for the Nittany Lions (9-8, 0-4 Big Ten).

Penn State led the Indiana (11-5, 1-2 Big Ten) by as many as 15 points in the first half but a late surge in the first half put IU within striking distance and gave the Hoosiers momentum heading into the intermission. Indiana hit five threes in the second half compared to just two from the Lions and were afforded 18 free throw attempts — hitting 15 of them — to PSU’s 12.

The Blue and White shot 43.6 percent (24-of-55) from the field, 34.8 percent (8-of-23) from 3-point range and 76.9 percent (20-of-26) from the free throw line while IU shot 36.2 percent (21-of-58) from the floor, 40 percent (8-of-23) from beyond the arc and 82.9 percent (39-of-35) from the line.

The game featured seven ties and five lead changes, all in the second half.

"It’s encouraging because you’re still right there," said Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers. "We’re close."

Freshman Noah Vonleh led the charge for the Hoosiers, notching a career-high 19 points, including Indiana’s first 12 points of the contest, and six rebounds. Kevin “Yogi” Ferrell also posted double figures for the IU offense, registering 15 points and seven assists.

The Nittany Lions wasted no time getting on the board, opening the contest with a 13-3 run. Geno Thorpe got things started with a 3-pointer and Donovon Jack followed with a layup. Vonleh broke up the scoring with a layup and a free throw before Jack added another three and Newbill posted five points.

PSU tacked on four more points before Vonleh paired up with Robinson for a 10-2 IU scoring streak. The freshman standout accounted for eight of the 10 points and Robinson added a jumper to close out the run and bring the Hoosiers within five.

A 10-0 PSU run extended the Lions’ lead to 31-16 but the Hoosiers found themselves within striking distance again in the final minutes of the half as back-to-back chances at the free-throw line closed the gap to seven points.

IU attempted to take over, adding six more points before the break but the Lions held on, closing out the half with a 41-37 lead.

"For us to get a win here today is big," said Indiana caoch Tom Crean. "I am proud of the way our team responded to the adversity of the game. We grew up and played with real confidence."

The Hoosiers gained momentum after the intermission, taking the lead at the 16:38 mark at the tail end of an 8-2 run. Will Sheehey contributed five points to the run and Vonleh added a trey to give IU a 45-43 lead.

Newbill quickly countered with a 3-pointer on the next possession to momentarily regain the lead but it would not last long as Indiana’s Evan Gordon drained a 3 to put the Hoosiers ahead 48-46. Penn State battled for the lead over the next 13 minutes but was unable to take over until a jumper from Travis and a trey from John Johnson put the Lions up 68-65 with just under four minutes remaining.

Frazier, Penn State's leading scorer, fouled out late in the second half for the second game in a row.

"He’s a fifth year senior. He has to know better," said Chambers. "Most of his fouls – a couple I get – but the last couple, he has to be smarter than that. We need him on the floor. It’s unfortunate."

The scoring went back and forth over the next three minutes but a 3-pointer from IU’s Austin Etherington with 1:22 remaining would prove fatal as the Lions failed to overcome the deficit, falling 79-76.

The Lions begin a two-game road swing on Tuesday, traveling west to face Michigan on Tuesday at 8 p.m. (ET) before taking on Purdue at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The Blue and White return home on Thursday, Jan. 23, hosting the Nebraska Cornhuskers in an 8 p.m. match-up.

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