Penn State Basketball Dominates Iowa At Home 82-58
Penn State (16-9, 6-6 Big Ten) defeated Iowa (12-13, 3-9 Big Ten) on Saturday night in a blowout 82-58 victory, rebounding from a loss on the road to No. 5 Michigan State. Mike Watkins led the way with 19 points and 10 rebounds for his eleventh double-double of the season.
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions started off the game with a bang, with Mike Watkins and Lamar Stevens trading huge dunks. From there, the Hawkeyes remained tough behind sophomore Tyler Cook’s strong play inside. But with 12:15 left in the first half, Cook picked up his second foul forcing him to the bench. With Iowa’s leading scorer out of the game, Penn State exploited the Hawkeyes defense going on a 9-0 run to make it 23-14.
Shep Garner made his second three of the game to make it a double digit lead, followed by another huge slam by Nazeer Bostick. After a three pointer by Tony Carr, the Hawkeyes were forced to call a timeout due to the Nittany Lions shooting a blistering 70% from the field. Not only that, but Penn State was locked in on defense forcing seven turnovers and three blocked shots with four minutes to go before halftime. The Nittany Lion lead ballooned to as much as 21 behind Carr and Watkins, with Watkins going a perfect 6-for-6. Junior Josh Reaves, who’s been earning more playing time as of late, was held to eight minutes due to foul trouble. Despite this, Penn State still held a 19 point lead shooting over 50% from the field and from three.
The second half started off with a three pointer from Shep Garner, but was relatively sloppy at the beginning. The three was the only field goal made until the 14:26 mark, which allowed the Hawkeyes a chance to claw their way back into the game. However, Iowa didn’t make the most of its opportunity, only managing to shoot 2-13 to begin the half. Both baskets were scored by Tyler Cook, who returned after picking up three early fouls.
Mike Watkins missed his first basket of the game at the nine minute mark of the second half, solidifying why he’s one of the best young big men in the conference. Just a few minutes later, Josh Reaves started to heat up. He had back to back and-ones, the first being a one-handed tomahawk jam over Iowa’s Jack Nunge. The dunk-fest continued as Lamar Stevens picked off two passes, throwing down a 360 dunk on the break and extending the lead to 23 with 3:59 left.
Iowa could never string together a run to make the game more competitive, despite Cook having an extremely efficient performance. Starting center Luka Garza disappointed by shooting 3-for-13 on the road, one of his worst games of the season. Carr, Stevens and Watkins combined for 52 points and were hardly tested in the second half, while Iowa only had two players in double figures.
Player Of The Game
Mike Watkins | Sophomore | Forward
The Philadelphia native had another stellar performance, missing only once for 19 points and grabbing 10 boards. Watkins’ game gave him 500 career rebounds, an impressive feat for a player who’s only played two seasons so far. He bounced back after struggling against the Spartans last game, where he failed to break double digits in scoring and rebounding. Expect him to continue dominating the glass when Maryland comes to State College later this week.
The Nittany Lions take on Maryland at the Bryce Jordan Center on Thursday, hoping to improve their NCAA Tournament resumé. The game will be at 6:30 p.m. and will broadcast on BTN.
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