McGloin, Robinson Have Eyes on the Record Book As Penn State Meets Indiana

McGloin, Robinson Have Eyes on the Record Book As Penn State Meets Indiana

Anytime Penn State and Indiana get together, the culture clash is as clear as day.

Penn State is a football school and Indiana is a basketball school. Indiana is currently the top-ranked men’s basketball program in the country and Penn State will look to improve to 16-0 all-time against the Hoosiers in football this weekend. Penn State has owned the series bragging rights since starting the series up in 1993 when they joined the Big Ten.

While Penn State has taken firm control of the series, there have been many close calls and scares. Indiana just has a knack for giving Penn State the fits and has a tendency to scrap together some late scores as well, making some games appear closer in the box score than it may to the eyes. Will that be the case this weekend?

Penn State is coming off a physically demanding game at Nebraska, one that was marred by controversial officiating and saw Nebraska come from behind to send Penn State home with a tough loss. They will have to put that behind them in order to ensure they can end their regular season on a winning note. Fortunately, the numbers seem to favor Penn State this weekend.

The Hoosiers are the bottom of the Big Ten in scoring defense, allowing 32.2 points per game and a near-league worst 41 touchdowns (Illinois has allowed 42). These number were inflated a bit last week when Wisconsin racked up 62 points on Indiana, but the Hoosiers have allowed 30 points or more six times this season, and 40 points or more in four of those contests.

Indiana gives up a lot of yards on the ground, so expect Penn State to focus on the run early and often. Wisconsin gashed Indiana for 564 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns last week. Indiana has allowed 200 rushing yards or more five times this season.

Of course, Penn State has been more of a passing team under new head coach Bill O’Brien and are ranked ninth in the Big Ten in rushing. While running the football could shift the focus in the offensive game planning this week, don’t expect Penn State to stop throwing.

Quarterback Matt McGloin continues to rewrite Penn State’s record books, now 75 yards away from passing Tony Sacca for second on the school’s all-time career passing list. (He will get no higher than second place, trailing Zack Mills by 1,417 yards with just two games left in his career). McGloin is also two touchdown passes away from tying the school record, trailing Daryll Clark’s career record of 43. With one more 200-yard passing game, McGloin will also break a tie with Mills and Kerry Collins for the most career 200-yard passing games, with the next being his 17th. McGloin already owns the school mark for 300-yard passing games, with five.

The former walk-on has certainly left an interesting mark on Penn States football program, with his mouth often getting him in to some hot water. Such was the case this week, when his postgame comments about the officiating in Nebraska left Penn State to not make McGloin available to the media. Instead the media were offered third string quarterback Shane McGregor.

Penn State has lost their second leading receiver, Kyle Carter, to a season-ending injury, but Allen Robinson will still be a key target in the final two weeks. The sophomore currently leads the Big Ten in receiving with 786 yards and eight touchdowns on a Big Ten-leading 63 receptions. It has been a while since Allen Robinson has scored a touchdown though -- the most recent was almost a month ago in a road win at Iowa. Robinson has been kept out of the end zone three straight games, two of which have been losses (Ohio State, Nebraska). Could this be the week he snaps that scoreless streak?

Robinson still has a chance to become just the third player in Penn State history to record at least ten touchdown catches in a single season since joining the Big Ten in 1993. Bobby Engram did it twice (1993 and 1995). The other name may cause some readers to cringe, but Joe Jurevicius was the last Nittany Lion to do it, nabbing 10 TD  catches in 1997. Robinson’s next catch will also break a school record for most receptions in a single season, currently shared with O.J. McDuffie and Engram.

Will it be a record-setting day for Penn State? Regardless, a win will clinch a winning season for Penn State in a year some may not have expected to end that way. There are still plenty of challenges ahead for these Nittany Lions, but Indiana does not look like one of them.

Best of NBA: Harden's 38-points fuels Rockets past Bucks

Best of NBA: Harden's 38-points fuels Rockets past Bucks

HOUSTON -- James Harden had 38 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and the Houston Rockets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 111-92 on Wednesday night.

Harden drilled a straightaway 3-pointer with six minutes left to give Houston a 13-point lead and shimmied his shoulders down the court in a celebratory dance as the Bucks called timeout.

After losing three of four, the Rockets regained their form while improving to 17-4 at home this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three blocks for Milwaukee (see full recap).

Rose powers slumping Knicks past Celtics 117-106
BOSTON -- Derrick Rose matched his season high with 30 points, and the slumping New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics 117-106 on Wednesday night.

New York played without injured starters Kristaps Porzingis and Joakim Noah, but Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Willy Hernangomez each scored 17 points to help make up for their absence. It was just the third win in 14 games for the Knicks.

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 39 points, his 13th time this season with 30 or more points. Jae Crowder added 21 for the Celtics, who lost for only the fourth time in 17 games.

Al Horford, Boston's big free-agent acquisition during the summer, had five points on 2-of-14 shooting. He was 1 for 8 on 3-point attempts.

Boston closed to 97-96 on Jaylen Brown's two free throws with just under eight minutes to play, but Justin Holiday and Courtney Lee nailed 3-pointers 29 seconds apart, pushing New York's lead back to seven. Rose then capped an 8-0 spree by putting in his own miss after Thomas missed a jumper -- his seventh straight shot that was off (see full recap).

Home cooking: Wiz top Grizz 104-101, 13th win in row in DC
WASHINGTON -- A vastly different team at home, the Wizards won their 13th consecutive game in Washington by edging the Memphis Grizzlies 104-101 Wednesday night behind two late layups from John Wall, who finished with 25 points and 13 assists.

James Ennis III missed a potential tying 3-pointer at the buzzer for Memphis.

The Wizards are just 4-13 on the road but now 18-6 at home, where they've compiled their longest winning streak since a 15-game run in the 1988-89 season.

Washington never trailed and led by as many as 19 points in the first half, then held on after a 10-0 run by Memphis made it a two-point game with 2 1/2 minutes left. That's when Wall took over, scoring on consecutive drives (see full recap).

Walker, Hibbert lead Hornets past Blazers 107-85
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kemba Walker scored 23 points, Roy Hibbert provided a huge boost off the bench, and the Charlotte Hornets stopped a five-game slide with a 107-85 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night.

Nicolas Batum added 17 points for the Hornets, who limited the Trail Blazers to 35 percent shooting and snapped an eight-game streak of allowing at least 100 points. But it was the 7-foot-2 Hibbert who stole the show.

Hibbert, who came in averaging 5.2 points per game, had a season-high 16 points on 7-of-8 shooting.

Damian Lillard scored 21 points and C.J. McCollum had 18 for Portland, which has lost three straight and 16 of 22 since Dec. 5 (see full recap).

Penn State falls to Indiana, 78-75, on buzzer 3-pointer

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Penn State falls to Indiana, 78-75, on buzzer 3-pointer

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Shep Garner gathered his teammates along Penn State's bench to remind them they needed one more stop to head to overtime.

Indiana's James Blackmon was ready to head home, however.

Blackmon took an in-bounds pass with less than five seconds to go, sprinted down the court and drained a 3-pointer to lift the Hoosiers to a 78-75 win over Penn State on Wednesday night.

Blackmon, Thomas Bryant and Robert Johnson all scored 17 points for the Hoosiers (13-6, 3-3 Big Ten) who survived a late Penn State rally.

"They definitely grew up," Indiana coach Tom Crean said. "It wasn't easy, but they definitely earned the victory. It would've been a shame if they hadn't gotten this win because they earned it."

Tony Carr scored a career-best 24 points and Garner added 15 for the Nittany Lions (11-8, 3-3) who trailed by 14 with 9:19 left. Garner brought Penn State within striking distance with a 3-pointer that cut it to 75-73 with 39 seconds to play.

It was the second straight win for the Hoosiers (13-6, 3-3 Big Ten) who took control by halftime and led the entire second half until a pair of Lamar Stevens free throws tied the game with less than five seconds left.

"I'm really proud of the kids, the way they fought back," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "I felt like Penn State really hurt Penn State tonight, missed layups, little things. If we shoot better from the free-throw line, maybe the outcome's different."

Memories of Watford
There's a good reason Blackmon's shot was strikingly similar to the one Christian Watford sank at the buzzer to beat then-No. 1 Kentucky in 2011.

"It was the same play-call," Crean said. "But we got open differently. Usually we run off a screen but in this case we knew they'd switch it so James did a great job of setting it up."

Penn State coaches and players knew they'd have to defend a similar play, Chambers made note of it in his scouting report, but Blackmon was able to slip past Josh Reaves at midcourt and pull up over Julian Moore to hit the winning basket.

Rim un-protected
Indiana didn't have as big of a challenge on the glass with Penn State's designated rim-protector Mike Watkins in early foul trouble. Penn State's leading rebounder played just 13 minutes and finished with no rebounds.

The Hoosiers won the battle on the glass 37-33 and Penn State made just 21 of 31 free throws.

Hurt Hoosier
Indiana lost OG Anunoby on the final play of the first half to a right knee injury. The sophomore forward came down after battling for an offensive rebound and crumpled to the floor where he clutched at his right knee before trainers helped him slowly to the locker room. He did not return.

Anunoby started eight games and was tied for sixth in the Big Ten with 1.4 steals per game.

Crean said Anunoby would be evaluated when the team returned to Bloomington.

The big picture
Indiana: The Hoosiers entered Wednesday's game having lost five of their last eight. They'll have a chance to gain momentum with four of their next five against middle-of-the-pack Big Ten foes before a trip to Madison to take on No. 17 Wisconsin on Feb. 5.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions' inability to put a full game together has to be grating on coach Patrick Chambers. Even in their last win against No. 24 Minnesota, the Nittany Lions were out of sorts early before a late rally paid off. They were competitive early and late in this one but sluggish and mistake-prone midway through when Indiana took over.

Up next
Indiana hosts Michigan State on Saturday.

Penn State plays at No. 22 Purdue on Saturday