Pickett, Penn State beat Indiana 77-73 in Big Ten semis
CHICAGO — Jalen Pickett scored 28 points, Seth Lundy had 16 and Penn State beat No. 19 Indiana 77-73 on Saturday to advance to the Big Ten Tournament championship.
Andrew Funk added nine points as 10th-seeded Penn State (22-12) won for the eighth time in nine games. The Nittany Lions went 8 for 23 from 3-point range, compared to 2 for 14 for the Hoosiers.
Next up for Penn State is top-seeded Purdue, which stopped Ohio State’s surprising run with an 80-66 victory in the first semifinal. The Nittany Lions were swept by the Boilermakers this season, losing 76-63 on Jan. 8 and 80-60 on Feb. 1.
The deep Big Ten run has Penn State in position for its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2011. The Nittany Lions looked as if they were going in 2020, but the tourney was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trayce Jackson-Davis had 24 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Indiana (22-11), and Tamar Bates had 14 points. The third-seeded Hoosiers shot 56% in the second half, but they ran out of time after making a frantic comeback in the final minutes.
Trey Galloway's layup with 33 seconds left got Indiana within one, but Lundy responded with two free throws for Penn State. Jalen Hood-Schifino then missed a 3 and Camren Wynter hit another foul shot to help the Nittany Lions hold on.
Penn State went 23 for 26 at the line, compared to 9 for 11 for Indiana.
Jackson-Davis' jam had tied it at 47 with 10:23 left. But Penn State responded with a 14-4 run.
Pickett kicked off the decisive stretch with an offensive rebound and a layup. Funk made a big 3-pointer, and Kebba Njie then dunked off a pass from Wynter. After Hood-Schifino made two foul shots for Indiana, Wynter connected from deep for a 61-51 lead with 5:22 to go.
Hood-Schifino had 11 points for Indiana, which lost 85-66 at Penn State on Jan. 11.
Pickett scored 13 points to help Penn State to a 34-26 halftime lead. The Nittany Lions used a 22-4 run to erase an early six-point deficit.
Indiana shot 38.2% from the field in the first half, but one of its baskets was a soaring alley-oop jam by Race Thompson with 4:46 left that drew a big round of cheers from the United Center crowd.
Penn State advanced to the semis with close victories over Northwestern and Illinois. It struggled against Indiana's press in the final minutes, but it made enough plays to close it out.
Indiana struggled on the glass, getting outrebounded 38-30.
Penn State is making its first appearance in the Big Ten Tournament championship since 2011.
Indiana waits to see where it is going for the NCAA Tournament.
Follow Jay Cohen at https://twitter.com/jcohenap