STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP)—One of the best freshmen in the country was outperformed by a band of less-heralded first-year players.
After overcoming No. 18 Indiana and guard Eric Gordon’s 26 points, maybe more people will start noticing the fresh faces at Penn State, too.
Freshman David Jackson tied the game in regulation with a three-point play and hit a decisive bucket in overtime, and fellow freshman Talor Battle made up for a 2-of-15 shooting performance from the field with key late free throws to defeat the Hoosiers, 68-64 on Sunday.
Another newcomer this season, junior college transfer Stanley Pringle, hit one of two foul shots to put Penn State (15-15, 7-11 Big Ten) up 67-64 with 15 seconds left in overtime, and Indiana’s D.J. White secured the rebound.
Armon Bassett missed an open 3 from the wing, and Pringle lunged out of bounds to try to save the ball but ended up throwing it to Gordon. The Indiana freshman, known for his 3-point shooting ability, missed a potential tying 3 about 3 seconds left.
Fans rushed the court after a late foul shot from Battle sent the Hoosiers (25-6, 14-4) to their second straight road loss.
Penn State announced before the game that veteran forward Jamelle Cornley was done for the season with a left knee injury, so coach Ed DeChellis’ youngsters are raising their level of play at just the right time.
“I’m real proud of our kids. They’ve been resilient all year, taken some hits,” DeChellis said. “They’ve tried to stay the course and get better as a team.”
With the conference tournament next, Penn State clinched seventh place in the Big Ten.
Indiana entered the game eliminated from the Big Ten regular-season title chase after Wisconsin clinched the crown with a win Saturday over Northwestern. The Hoosiers’ loss, coupled with Purdue’s victory later Sunday over Michigan, dropped Indiana to third place.
Now, Indiana doesn’t have momentum either as they head into the conference tournament.
“Cornley or no Cornley, a Big Ten road game is a Big Ten road game,” Indiana interim coach Dan Dakich said. “They got themselves a great win.”
With Miami Heat coach Pat Riley watching in the stands, Gordon shot 8-of-24 from the field, including 4-of-16 from 3-point range. Nineteen points came after halftime.
White added 20 points and 12 rebounds for Indiana.
Jackson had 13 points and a career-high 10 rebounds, while Battle added 10 points. Another freshman, Jeff Brooks, was put into the starting lineup to replace Cornley and responded with a career-high 12 points.
Together, the Nittany Lions’ freshmen compiled 41 points and 28 rebounds.
Jackson had muscled his way through the paint to convert an offensive rebound to put Penn State ahead for good, 63-61 with 1:51 left in overtime.
“I was telling Talor earlier, every time somebody shoots, as a rebounder you’ve got to think it’s going to miss,” Jackson said. “I just tried to get a hand on it and keep it alive.”
Kyle Taber hit one of two from the foul line to put Indiana ahead 58-55 with 1:42 left before Jackson’s 3-point play with 22.9 seconds left tied the game in regulation, completing the Nittany Lions’ rally from an eight-point deficit. Penn State also upset then-No. 8 Michigan State at home on Feb. 2.
“One of our things going into this game was to make sure we absolutely dominated the backboard, and we didn’t do that, obviously,” Dakich said. “We just didn’t do a good job rebounding.”
With a tense crowd on its feet, Dakich put the ball in Gordon’s hands to try to win at the end of regulation, but his jumper in the lane rattled off the rim and Jackson secured the rebound as the buzzer sounded.
Gordon nearly single-handedly got the Hoosiers back in the game after Indiana went the first 5:29 of the second half without a field goal to trail 36-30. A 3-point play and three 3-pointers by Gordon during a 14-0 run put Indiana ahead 46-38 with 11 minutes left in regulation.
But the poor outside shooting eventually caught up with Indiana, which hit just 38 percent from the field, including 7-of-33 (21 percent) from 3-point range.
Indiana had won five of its previous six, though the one loss in that stretch was a disastrous 103-74 rout to Michigan State, the Hoosiers’ most lopsided defeat in four years.
This one hurt for the Hoosiers just as much.
Indiana was also missing a key player in forward Jamarcus Ellis, who didn’t make the trip to Happy Valley for disciplinary reasons. Dakich didn’t elaborate after the game and said Ellis’ availability for the Big Ten tournament would be determined by “Ellis’ reaction.”