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No. 16 Penn State Hoops Falls To No. 18 Iowa 77-68

No. 16 Penn State men’s basketball (21-8, 10-6 Big Ten) fell to No. 18 Iowa (20-9, 10-6 Big Ten) 77-68 Saturday afternoon in Iowa City.

Myreon Jones returned to the Nittany Lions’ lineup after missing five straight games. The sophomore guard made little impact, however, and scored just four points as his team struggled in the second half.

How It Happened

Iowa got things started by winning the tipoff, but the Nittany Lions quickly took control and jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. Lamar Stevens made a significant impact early, but the Hawkeyes quickly tied the game with a three.

Both teams embarked on a string of fruitful scoring possessions before trading back-and-forth scoreless possessions. Big man Mike Watkins got the Nittany Lions on the board again with his first basket of the game, and Lamar Stevens sank a jumper just eight seconds later to give his team a 12-11 lead.

A combination of sloppy shooting by Iowa, solid defense led by Mike Watkins, and a pair of three-pointers from Seth Lundy in 36 seconds made the perfect concoction for brief momentum for the Nittany Lions.

After a Curtis Jones three-pointer, the Nittany Lions went on a three-minute-long scoring drought and finally got back on the scoreboard with another basket by Jones.

Iowa kept the slight edge, though, and took a 35-34 point lead into the locker room at halftime.

The second half got off to a disastrous start for Penn State, as Iowa scored seven points in just a minute and a half, forcing the Nittany Lions to take an early timeout.

John Harrar got Penn State on the board again with two free throws but recorded a foul on the ensuing Iowa possession. Redeeming himself with a tough offensive rebound, Harrar kept the next Nittany Lions’ possession alive briefly before a turnover.

Watkins recorded a block to give Penn State the ball back, but the Nittany Lions once again turned the ball over. They got back on the scoreboard again when Stevens sank a free throw.

Iowa big man Luka Garza put his team back on the board with a two-hand slam, but Myles Dread answered with a key three-pointer to cut the Hawkeye lead to seven points. Iowa later jumped to a 13-point lead following some troubling Penn State fouls.

Watkins made a layup and drew a foul, capitalizing on the and-one, which paved the way for a Stevens layup to cut the deficit to eight. The Nittany Lions would be down by double digits again following two Hawkeye free throws.

Later, Penn State just couldn’t catch a break. Another Stevens foul led to two Iowa free throws that extended the already large deficit. Back-to-back Iowa turnovers briefly quelled the Hawkeye’s scoring barrage, but Penn State turned the ball over yet again.

A Lamar Stevens layup and Myles Dread three-pointer cut the deficit to eight, but the Hawkeyes scored a quick five points to gain ground as Penn State took a timeout with 4:33 remaining.

With a 17-point deficit, Seth Lundy finally got on the board again — his first points of the half — on a reverse layup. But Iowa refused to back down, preserving its lead on another dunk from Garza, who recorded both a 20-point game and his 1,500th career point in one fell swoop.

Despite a pair of late Penn State three-pointers, the Hawkeyes simply dribbled out the clock en route to a dominant 77-68 win.

Takeaways

  • Seth Lundy is a weapon that needs to be used more. The Nittany Lions would certainly benefit from giving Lundy the ball more, as the forward had a hot first half and sank four of his first six shots from beyond the arc.
  • To stay competitive in a wild conference, Penn State needs to limit its turnovers. Perhaps the biggest weakness for the Nittany Lions in this game was giving the ball away, which the Hawkeyes frequently capitalized on with points on several possessions.
  • The Nittany Lions won’t go far if foul trouble remains such a pressing issue. Penn State sent the Hawkeyes to the free-throw line for a total of 17 shots — 14 of which went in. Fouling is a part of the game, but surrendering free points won’t do you any favors in the Big Ten.

What’s Next?

Penn State will return to the Bryce Jordan Center for a matchup with No. 24 Michigan State at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.

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About the Author

Andy Mollenauer

Andy is a writer for Onward State, a senior majoring in journalism, and a die-hard Wisconsin pro sports fan despite being from our nation's capital. His taste in music is absolute garbage, ranging from Bon Jovi to Slipknot to Avril Lavigne. If you want to talk sports or share memes and cute photos of French bulldogs, email him at [email protected]

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