IU outlasts Penn State in triple overtime, 110-102

Equal parts exhaustion and relief coursed through Thomas Bryant’s mind at the end of one of the longest games in Indiana history.

There was Bryant, his arm draped around the back of teammate Robert Johnson as the two Hoosiers walked across the court buoyed by victory and accomplishment after Wednesday’s 110-102 triple-overtime win over Penn State. It could’ve been much worse — 55 minutes of basketball all for naught after Indiana nearly robbed itself of the opportunity to secure a valuable home win.

In a game of careless mistakes, absent defense and last-second wonder, the Hoosiers pulled themselves away from the brink of collapse and secured a victory they dearly needed.

“This was probably one of the longest games I’ve been a part of,” Bryant said. “But it felt so good with the win.”

On one hand, the win masks what was another wandering performance for the short-handed Hoosiers (15-8, 5-5 Big Ten), who played their fourth game without injured forward OG Anunoby and their second without injured leading scorer James Blackmon Jr.

On the other, Indiana’s remaining core of Thomas Bryant, Robert Johnson and Josh Newkirk responded with career-best performances, lifting their team when it needed assistance.

“There were numerous times that we could have won it,” IU coach Tom Crean said. “There were times that Penn State could have won it. There were times when we all could have lost it, and it really came down to a battle of wills.”

Bryant (31), Johnson (27) and Newkirk (27) each set new personal highs in scoring, as did freshman guard Devonte Green (10) in his second career start. Bryant, Johnson and Green all secured double-doubles with 11, 11 and 10 rebounds, respectively. Indiana’s last — and only other — triple overtime game was Feb. 16, 1987 at Wisconsin.

“I mean, we had enough time to do it,” Johnson said jovially about the career highs.

Newkirk’s buzzer-beating layup at the end of the first overtime forced a second extra period, but not before a lengthy official review. The shot only barely beat the buzzer to lock the game into a 80-all tie, sending the Penn State bench into a tizzy.

Later, Bryant’s eight points in the second overtime period supplied the Hoosiers with their second save of the night, while a fast start to the third extra frame helped Indiana build a 10-point advantage over the Nittany Lions (12-11, 4-6) with two minutes remaining, allowing IU to ride the advantage and snap a two-game losing skid ahead of Sunday’s game at Wisconsin.

“When you’re trying to build toughness and you’re trying to find an identity, and you’ve had your ups and downs and you’ve had your adversities — to have those guys play that way, to play those kind of minutes, to make those kind of plays, it was fantastic,” Crean said.

Just as the production from Bryant, Johnson and Newkirk was critical to Indiana’s ability to rescue itself in a game it led by as many as 13 points late in the first half, others were also there to answer in big moments.

De’Ron Davis hit a pair of free throws with 3.9 seconds left in regulation to secure a 72-72 tie and force overtime, and at the beginning of the third overtime, Green followed a Newkirk 3-pointer two minutes into the period with a steal and a bucket that put IU ahead 100-95.

“He grew up today and made some big plays, got a lot of key rebounds for us,” Newkirk said of Green. “It was big for him to come in, play that many minutes and be productive.”

Those were the magic moments that were otherwise balanced by the kinds of mistakes this Indiana team can’t seem to shake. Penn State hung around by hitting 10 3-pointers and scoring 24 points off 17 Indiana turnovers through the first 40 minutes.

While those flaws are simply part of who this team is, most importantly on Wednesday, the Hoosiers found the offensive pulse that had been missing during a two-game road swing through Michigan and Northwestern.

IU leaned on Bryant, found secondary scoring from Johnson, and perhaps most importantly, found a third option in Newkirk. Spurred by strong early play by Newkirk and Green, IU used a 9-0 run to build a 38-26 lead with 4:17 remaining in the first half. That advantage was acquired on a 3-pointer by Thomas Bryant, who retreated down the court and danced to the roars of the home crowd.

The rest of the night would be far less fun, and much more exhausting.

But at the end of it all, Indiana found value in the battle.

“We had some real growth tonight,” Crean said. “I’ve coached a long time. I hope I coach a while longer. But I will remember this one for the rest of my life, because watching them, from my vantage of going through what we go through and what we have been dealing with, and watching these guys that we’re trying to get to become more responsible for one another, lead through adversity, lead through the tough times and to see that happen, hopefully we’ll build on it.”


  1. If I were another team I would pressure all inbounds plays and probably run a full court press against IU.

  2. Samo, samo! 3 OT’s at AH no less to beat PSU. The only player resembling a Hoosier playing D was Morgan and he fouled out before the OT’s. I know it was 3 OT’s but 23 turnovers? I wonder what the B1G record is for a season? IU has to be leaning on it. Really got a belly roll laugh when somewhere near the end of regulation or in an OT the idiot announcer stated a play was signaled in from the bench by Crean. If he did, it is the 1st in 9 years. But since it was a B1G announcer I’m quite certain he was mistaken.

  3. T.C. could have signaled a play in from the bench. He does all the time in every game; who is going to shoot the 3 ball?

  4. I think IU dropped 2 KenCom points with that win.

    How many no-body-within-three-feet shots did PS get? 6? 10?

    Pretty sure Green will start watching the ball after not seeing it come to him 2-3 times?

    Johnson with 8 to’s…Bryant with 4? Crazy way to play the game.

    Zack made a number of mistakes on switching defense yet still made a couple of plays. And hustled.

    But otherwise they did step up. It’s a win and maybe the last one of the season. Congratulations to the team..

  5. Probably Bardo….Absolutely painful to listen to that man. Why wouldn’t an ex-Illini guy love him some Tom Crean? Misery likes company.

    Penn State wins by double digits if they simply show any bare minimum of proficiency from the charity stripe. I haven’t looked it up, but I’m not sure if they shot above 60% as a team.

    A “win is a win”….True. But it’s painful to think these narrow victories of the dysfunctional manner(at home, no less) while undermanned will be sold by Fred Flintstone & Mr. “You Wrecked My Brimstone” as monumental as crossing the Delaware.

    At least Newkirk gets off the top of the hate charts for a week. Consistent with many of Crean’s teams saved by transfers(e.g. Remy, Zeisloft, Bielfeldt, Jonny “Biblical Buckets” Marlin(just kidding)), what an effed up mess this team would be without his confidence, tenacity, and more secure handle.

    Yearly ‘Top of the Hate’ Charts:
    2011-12: Hulls(worst defender on this side of the galaxy. He couldn’t guard his own slow tears on senior night).
    2012-13: Watford (lazy …Forever remembered FOR a certain shot…Unfortunately, the moment in history was quickly stolen by a shot of Crean’s mouth posing as the Lincoln Tunnel)
    2013-14: Troy Williams (Fundamentally challenged: Where God giveth amazing athleticism, God taketh away any semblance of a b-ball IQ )
    2014-15: Troy…again X 2
    2015-16: Blackmon (big man on campus syndrome…”I’m eternally OPEN!”)
    2016-17: Newkirk (‘Etch A Sketch Guard’…Most of his frenzied movement must simply be erased from memory)

    Conclusion: Beat up the kids…Throw the genius more money.

  6. Penn State from the line:
    17-29 58.6%

    IU 3-pt %:
    6-21 28.6%
    Penn State had very little resistance inside. That will not be the case with most other BIG opponents going forward. If the perimeter %s stay atrocious, things will get very ugly. Gotta have more than a couple high level shooters on a team.

  7. Zach made some great defensive plays at the end of the game to save the win! Wonder how he can make so much contact and not get called for a foul? How can Bryant shuffle those puppies and not be called for traveling? How can Robert Johnson 3-step waltz without traveling? How can Bryant bump a player on a lay-up and not get called? etc.etc. Oh yeah, it’s at Simon-Skojdt Assembly Hall. We were given the game by the refs and it’s a disgrace to IU Man’s Basketball that it has come to this. It’s no longer Basketball at home, it’s a Circus. And it’s all branding and our loyal fan base. We do not deserve such a product.

  8. The only upside to this Circus is they won. The most embarrassing display of basketball and I use that term loosely. OMG ! Zero fundamental skills of the game by anyone including the Clown coaching staff ,Only thing missing was the car ! How can you be here 9 years and be that clueless ? It’s like a game show on TV ! ECHO CARDS ? If they are that out of touch with the game of basketball and after last night you know they are? The most fundamental basic parts that you learn in grade school not even close! OUT OF BOUNDS PLAY AFTER A TIME OUT? Do not foul with a few seconds to go and a 4 point lead ! TAKE CARE OF THE BALL!!! If you have to use Echo Cards you should not be coaching and or playing ! Unforgivable at this level ,stepping out of bounds more than once , passing the ball to a teammates back, fouling with a 4 point lead and the guy is shooting a layup, not keeping your eye on the ball. Whinning about every call so the ref’s can know you are a problem , never knowing who you are guarding or what defense your supposed to be in ,being unable to catch the ball, D-1 RIGHT? CTC is a joke ,everyone knows except Fred Glass! I could go on and on those of you who saw the game know. CTC says he hopes they will learn from this Really ? I know a win is a win ! But this game just exposed the whole mess ! I don’t think Newkirk’s shot was good ! Any where but I.U. we lose ! Wisconsin is well coached fundamentally sound ,plays defense , IT WON’T BE PRETTY !

  9. Virgil Sweet ain’t dead yet….If he were, he’d be rolling in his grave over how many points were left at the charity stripe. How on earth can D-1 players be so godawful from the line…?
    Whenever you tune in to just about any college basketball game featuring a player from Indiana, you inevitably here a broadcaster talk of how commonplace it is for “pure shooters” to be part of our statewide Indiana hoops lore. How pathetic that we wear the name “Indiana” on our jerseys while, in front of national cameras, regularly brick so many opportunities from the stripe.
    This is the low of all lows for the candy stripes…No finesse. No discipline. No crafty calm or savvy fostering inventiveness while still rooted in precision. No valuing any aspect of the game to separate from the common disregard for all the “little things” that once embodied the cream and crimson standing above the rest.

    There has never been a bigger affront to basketball than the culmination resulting from 9 years this defunct substitute teacher of the game. And to allow this affront in a state so rich in humble traditions, storied tales, and near mythical stature rooted in the decades upon decades its lifeblood and passion for the sport…? Beyond disgrace.

  10. This circus was exposed long ago. Syracuse 61 IU 50, but was dismissed as an upset. Yes, there have been some good wins and bad losses. There have been glimpses of success. I call it teaser success because it allows things to continue as is. The success has peaked at a couple big ten less than stellar conference championships and very limited success in March Madness. When Wisky, PU, Mich, MSU, Mryld are your success stories and IU is not a dominant elite like it once was I call that less than stellar conference.

  11. A little off topic, but watching several games last night and the past couple of weeks due to no football, when did the weave become such a common offense in college basketball? I would say just about every team uses some type of weave offense out top, some more successful than others. Some teams use it to start the offense, some use it to try to catch a team switching or not switching enough and some teams use it just to use it. I don’t remember seeing this offense 4 or 5 years ago, but now it is everywhere. I don’t see the point of it and seems very AAUish or even Jr Highish.

    1. 92, for sure. I think one of the reasons it’s gained popularity is due to the hand check rule changes on defense in 2014.

  12. Wow, just think how harsh the comments would be had IU lost last night. But the criticism from the same old group of “fans” continues on, regardless of whether IU wins or loses. For future IU Men’s Basketball Head Coaching candidates, you need to understand that at IU, it does not matter if you win, your team has to win in a certain way. IU fans believe they are basketball purists. And be aware that Big Ten Outright Conference Championships don’t matter to IU basketball fans, it’s the final four or bust. And finally, no matter what your winning percentage is, or how many of your players become lottery picks in the NBA, or what your players’ graduation rate is, if you don’t win an NCAA National Championship within the first five or six seasons at IU, you’d better update your resume and have your agent start making calls. You see, IU was once, a long time ago, an elite college basketball program, and in spite of terrible mismanagement by a series of IU Administrators for decades and a near total destruction of the program, IU fans will expect you to return our beloved program to elite status within a couple years of you cashing your first IU paycheck. And about that paycheck, IU pays well, but don’t expect to get the really big bucks like some of your elite peers. IU has the second smallest Athletic Department budget in the Big Ten Conference because IU is a basketball school and our fans don’t really support the football program by attending home games. We expect the same results they produce, but we simply can’t afford to pay you for achieving those results. We have champagne tastes, but we’re on a beer budget.

    Good luck.

  13. Elite status within a couple years? Crean has been here for 9. What’s your timetable? Elite 8 by 2088?

    Final Four or bust….? Just a heads up.

    ‘Conference Midwest Elite'(Butler, ND, Wisconsin, Michigan, MSU, OSU, Louisville, and UK : 21 Elite 8 Appearances
    Indiana: 0

    One BIG title thanks to Cody. One thanks to the softest conference schedule in the history of IU basketball. Yippee. Purdue has oodles of them. Knight had eleven. Crean would have to live to 400 to get to eleven.

    You can run this movie until eternity. Most with an ounce of truth in their position realize that 21-0 (Elite 8 comparisons to the rest of the Midwest) is explanation enough. Add the witnessing of problems that forever plague Crean’s teams; turnovers, zero chemistry, struggles in communication, defensive tenacity(individual & team), confusion(we now need cue cards), winning on the road against better than cupcakes and the bottom tier of the conference, and something less than being embarrassed at those cherished Sweet 16’s, etc, etc….?

    Twenty-one Elite 8’s by Midwestern teams constantly out-shining Indiana Basketball in March. 21-0 ….and you’re wetting yourself over defeating PSU in triple overtime? Why don’t you ship Crean over to any of those other 8 Midwestern programs and see if they’re good with that sort of March Madness resume. There’s no “Madness” in March with Crean. It’s simply March Sadness.

  14. t,
    I don’t know how many people thought Syracuse’s win over the Hoosiers was an upset. I didn’t see it that way.

  15. And if you want to complain about pay, then compare those other Midwestern coaches pay as it pertains to putting their programs into deeper brackets of March Madness. March Madness is the true testing ground for playing teams outside of the non-conference candyland variety and those you have not scouted and played against many times over. It’s the testing ground to see if your team has what it takes to will itself above the odds and to collectively play above the hype of rankings and expectations. Crean has robbed us of millions in the ‘Pay for Performance’ world of March Madness. The ‘Beyond a Sweet 16’ numbers couldn’t be more clear in our Midwestern neck of the woods. Conference Midwest Elite: 21 , Indiana 0.
    Players get beyond benched when they freeze on the biggest stages….They get reputations as choke artists who can’t perform in the clutch or show the fortitude to press on when the chips are down. By comparison, Crean should have been benched long ago. He has earned every dime of a reputation as a house of cards forever folding March.

  16. Just think how the comments on blogs would have looked for Knight if he wouldn’t have taken the Hoosiers on a stunning run to the Final Four after only two seasons at IU? Just think how fans would have thrown him under the bus if he wouldn’t have had an undefeated regular season in ’75…followed by another in ’76 with a championship banner as cherry on top…? Just think of how the “hate crowd” would have torched the streets of Bloomington if by his 9th season at IU he hadn’t already achieved more than the number of banners Crean will win in heaven?

    Gosh…If there would have only been blogs back then.

  17. It was the way IU lost on top of losing….Cody and rest of team became frustrated. Towards the end of season afterplaying and scouting IU Oladipo was getting tied up and losing the ball or very challenging for him to score. Syracuse game Cody wanted to duck shoulder and force his way to bucket. T.C. and staff should have worked on a little jump shot in the 12 to 15 foot range for Cody for all season for such occasions as Syracuse zone. He and IU had no strategy or flexibility. Plus the game was not even as close as the score. The lack of answers to tournament team strategies have meant early exits for IU in March and even big ten tournament. IU is to easy to figure out and recruiting lacks also. Yes, I have seen IU on top. Yes, Podunker you are right on with what you say are expectations from the IU fans that have seen so much better. Maybe, fans that are a little older….and yes, I hope the next coach understands these expectations or hopefully they will go coach not at IU but somewhere else.

  18. Creany the Clown is 6-9 vs. NW in his tenure.
    His teams consistently “lead” the Big 10 in TOs & poor defensive efficiency as measured by pts./possession.
    We haven’t won a national title in what will soon be 30 yrs. the longest prior drought was what? 23 years in the modern era?

    Injuries for certain will be excuse of the year. We lost 2 NBA draft picks & a 3rd now sits injured.

    In his first 3 years it was the talent pool, admittedly, when he picked up a field of garbage and started over. Oh how Verdel Jones could turn it over. As could Troy Williams, Josh Newkirk, Robert Johnson & a host of others.

    We need to thank him for his service, efforts and reward him with the $1M buyout. But it would sure be great if he’d just leave because he can’t hack big time basketball or a fan base that is smarter than he about the makings of a great program. Ref. “The Butler Way”. Butler does it the right way folks and is the pinnacle of basketball in Indiana.

    Injuries….these are the days when not playing Davis, Jones, Green, McRoberts, Gelon, & others until 2 min. to go vs. the plethora of Delaware St.’s on the schedule come back to haunt. Injuries are an excuse, but a good system and tough kids would persevere and make the best of it. Bryant is NOT a tough kid in case you have just tuned in. The whining, flopping & fake injuries need to stop….for his own $ake.

    Enough already. Time to switch gears & change out the clowns right after the banner goes up for the 3OT victory at home over Penn St.

  19. Bryant is the drama queen, but I’m not sure I’d say that he lacks toughness. He lacks example and a bit of maturity. But from what I’ve seen in interviews, he seems like a very intelligent young man who wants to win basketball games very badly. I also think he simply adores his coach and he’ll do whatever it takes to honor that relationship.
    It would not shock me if he returns for a junior year…I think his dedication to Crean and candy stripes goes far beyond any that came with the hoopla of “Indiana movements” or “everything hinges” recruits. I wish the guys that were courted by Crean from within our borders brought as much heart to their coach and jersey as Thomas Bryant.

  20. oops…

    any [who] came with the hoopla…

    Wonder what happened to the Scooper from Chicago we all knew as ‘davis?’ I’ve really been trying to work on the hideous grammatical issues….probably to no avail.

    And nothing from my loyal Island of Basketblog freind, Seahawk/Husky Tom….? Pierre of Annecy keeps asking about you. Tom Jones has closeted his leather pants until the return of ‘Verbal Art in Motion.’ Hope all is going great with your new son.

    And nothing of TTG….? Tsao Tsu Gonzalez- Hope you’re fine and young at heart as ever…. and hope you still have that wonderful view from your highrise on Lake Shore Drive.

    And nothing of Punjab…Man, I really enjoyed his writing and his tales from when he was stationed afar.

    And nothing of Geoff in quite some time. Scoop dearly misses your wit and expertise. Hope Grayson is well.

    And nothing of our #1 female contributor known as “No Mendacity?” Another superb writer dearly missed. Loved her honesty and her obvious love for Indiana basketball.

    JPat extended his neck out of his shell a couple months back…but his regular contribution and trusted opinions are also making for a large void at HSR.

    Don’t worry, Remora….I know you’re out there somewhere. Forever the mystery of creative flare like no other. I can’t begin to put a face to you, but your kindness to me is stuck in my heart for always.

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