The Journal Gazette
Monday, January 03, 2022 1:00 am

Hoosiers struggle again away from home

Shoot just 40% at Penn State, fall to 0-3 in road games

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

Indiana's struggles away from Assembly Hall continued Sunday, when the Hoosiers returned from a 10-day layoff and lost their third straight true road game, falling 61-58 to Penn State at the Bryce Jordan Center.

The Hoosiers turned in an inefficient offensive performance, hitting 4 of 17 from beyond the 3-point line and shooting only 40% from the field, but coach Mike Woodson was most disappointed in his team's defensive effort, which permitted the Nittany Lions to hit 11 of 22 from 3-point range.

Indiana (10-3, 1-2 Big Ten) gave Penn State (6-5, 1-2), which came into the game shooting just 33% from long range, a bevy of open looks. The first-year Indiana coach called his team's defense in such situations “terrible, just awful.”

“Our ability to touch somebody (on the perimeter) wasn't there,” Woodson said. “You have to give (Penn State) credit, they moved the ball around, pick and rolls up top, but our pick-and-roll coverage just wasn't the same impact we've been having, and that's disappointing.”

Indiana fell to 0-3 in true road games this season, compared with a 9-0 mark in Bloomington. 

“We've just gotta string these wins together,” Trayce Jackson-Davis said. “We're undefeated at home, but we've gotta find a way to win on the road.”

Jackson-Davis led the Hoosiers with 20 points on 8-for-18 shooting and added five rebounds, three assists and two blocks. None of his teammates scored in double figures. Race Thompson had nine points and 10 rebounds.

Indiana trailed by as many as 10 in the second half after Sam Sessoms hit a 3 to put Penn State in front 51-41 with 10:28 to play. IU responded with a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to one, punctuated by a long jumper and a nifty layup from senior Rob Phinisee.

Indiana had a chance to tie the game with less than five minutes left when Jackson-Davis got the ball down low and spun to the rim for a wide-open layup, but the All-American missed.

In the final minute, Jackson-Davis scored on a lefty hook to bring his team within 59-58 and then got the ball on the block again with a chance to take the lead, but he pushed his shot too long with 16 seconds left.

“I ripped (through my defender), I thought I got past him and I tried to lean over and scoop it and it was just a little bit too much,” the 2019 Indiana Mr. Basketball said of the miss inside. 

After Penn State made a pair of free throws, Jackson-Davis and Phinisee missed open 3s in the final seconds that would have sent the game to overtime.

It was the maiden Big Ten triumph for first-year Nittany Lions coach Micah Shrewsberry, who was previously the associate head coach at Purdue.

Indiana was playing its first game since Dec. 22 after seeing a tune-up clash against UNC-Asheville, scheduled for Wednesday, canceled because of coronavirus cases in the Bulldogs program. Penn State hadn't played since Dec. 11, canceling three games because of virus issues in the interim.

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