Tim Frazier punctuated his drive down the lane with a fist pump.
His layup with 6.1 seconds left in regulation capped a 13-1 Penn State run and gave the Nittany Lions their first lead of the game against Indiana on Wednesday night. Penn State erased an 11-point deficit in the final three minutes to stun the Hoosiers 66-65 in a Big Ten matchup at Assembly Hall.
The Hoosiers committed five of their 20 turnovers in the final three minutes, giving it away on a five-second violation and turning it over on back-to-back inbound plays in the final 15 seconds to set up Frazier’s game-winner. Frazier finished with a team-high 14 points to go with six assists, four rebounds and four steals. Donovon Jack and Brandon Taylor each added 10 points for the Nittany Lions. Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell scored a game-high 16 points and dished out six assists.
“It just became a different game,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “We were pressing, we weren’t pressing the whole game. You know what, 18 to 23-year-olds sometimes all of a sudden you’re down and then you’re going to play hard. It’s like ‘Where was this for the first 36 minutes?’”
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The victory snapped a five-game losing streak in the series and gave the Nittany Lions their first win at Assembly Hall since Dec. 27, 2010.
Indiana (14-10, 4-7) was in control for much of the night and led 36-30 at halftime. Penn State’s Graham Woodward and John Johnson each hit two 3s and scored six points to keep the Lions close in the first 20 minutes with leading scorer D.J. Newbill held to just two points.
Woodward finished with nine points and Newbill finished with seven.
Indiana took a 54-41 lead on a 3-pointer by Ferrell more than eight minutes into the second half. Penn State (13-12, 4-8) went on a 10-2 run to close the deficit to five points with 6:33 left.
But the Hoosiers quickly regained momentum and led 64-53 with 3:19 remaining.
Newbill drilled a 3-pointer to cut bring Penn State within eight points with 2:25 to play. After Indiana’s Evan Gordon went 1-for-2 from the line, Frazier hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit to seven with just more than two minutes remaining.
Indiana turned it over on a five-second violation on the ensuing inbound play. Frazier found Taylor for a 3-pointer on the right wing to make it 65-61.
Suddenly, the Lions had grabbed the momentum.
“We want to try to force as many turnovers as possible,” Frazier said. “You want to continue to play hard on defense, dive, get rebounds. We did that together as a team and that helped us out at the end.”
Taylor came through again on the ensuing PSU possession. The Penn State forward pump-faked to get past Indiana’s Jeremy Hollowell and hit a pull-up jumper to cut the deficit to two points with 1:06 left.
From there, the Hoosiers imploded.
Gordon walked to turn it over and give the Nittany Lions a chance to tie the game. Penn State’s Johnson drove into the paint and was called for a charge, a call that left him with his hands on his head in disbelief and put Indiana in position to seal the win in the final 16.8 seconds.
But Frazier dove to steal Will Sheehey’s inbound pass and got it to a cutting Ross Travis. Sheehey fouled Travis to send him to the line, where he sank 1-of-2 and left the Lions down 65-64.
“We panicked; we didn’t stay true to the scouting report,” Sheehey said.
Indiana’s struggles continued on the ensuing inbound, and this time Noah Vonleh’s pass lofted toward half court was picked off by Newbill. Penn State called timeout with 12.3 seconds left.
The Nittany Lions then put the ball in Frazier’s hands to win the game.
The PSU guard beat Ferrell with a sharp crossover and sliced through the lane for the layup with 6.1 seconds left. Ferrell’s desperation shot at the buzzer missed, setting off a Penn State celebration after the improbable comeback.
“The turnovers, there is no excuse,” Indiana coach Tom Crean said. “I’d like to say, you know what, if we did this if we did that. What if we just aired it out and slowed it down. I’m not sure there’s an answer.”