Despite playing the No. 16 Iowa Hawkeyes tough, and entering the second half with a lead, the Penn State Nittany Lions were unable to pull off the upset at home. Penn State entered the game looking for a second-straight win, but fell to the talented Hawkeyes 82-70.
Penn State started slow at home, trailing for much of the first half. However, the Nittany Lions tied the game with less than a minute to go and ended the half on a 12-2 run. They took the momentum into halftime when D.J. Newbill drove the lane nailed a layup in the final seconds of the half to give the Nittany Lions a 33-31 lead.
Newbill made up for a poor shooting night in his last outing at Indiana, a game in which he scored just seven points. He poured in 12 in the first half against the Hawkeyes. He finished the game as the team’s leading scorer with a game-high 22 points.
Although the Nittany Lions had the momentum heading into the second half, they went nearly four minutes after the break before making a field goal. The game went back and forth for the first few minutes of the second half before the Hawkeyes grabbed the lead with around 12 minutes remaining and never looked back.
Iowa, the top-scoring team in the Big Ten, averaging 84 points a game, had to overcome a great defensive performance by the Nittany Lions in order to pull out the victory. A strategy by Penn State coach Patrick Chambers to begin fouling earlier helped inflate the Hawkeyes’ score.
Iowa’s leading scorer Roy Devyn Marble, who was coming off a 26-point game in his last outing, was held to 15 in this one. The Hawkeyes had four players score in double-digits, led by Melsahn Basabe, who scored 16 points and also led the game with eight rebounds.
A difference in this game was foul shooting, as the Hawkeyes got to the line an amazing 40 times. Iowa converted on 31 on those chances. Iowa, one of the best rebounding teams in the nation, also won that battle. The Hawkeyes outrebounded the Nittany Lions 40-36.
Penn State struggled to get much offense going outside of Newbill. Tim Frazier, the team’s star point guard, managed just 11 points. Reserve guard John Johnson contributed 11 points off the bench.
The Nittany Lions will look to get back into the win column on February 20th when they travel to Nebraska. Penn State knocked off the Cornhuskers 58-54 in the last meeting on January 23rd in Happy Valley.
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