Penn State Hoops Grabs Dramatic 90-86 Win Over Iowa In Double Overtime

Penn State men’s basketball (9-9, 4-6 Big Ten) outlasted Iowa (14-7, 4-6 Big Ten) in double overtime on Monday night in the Bryce Jordan Center.

Both teams put on a show and provided fans with an exciting game right up until the very end. John Harrar paced the Nittany Lions with 19 points and 10 rebounds in a competitive matchup from Happy Valley.

How It Happened

Other than first-time starter Dallion Johnson, head coach Micah Shrewsberry rolled out a lineup chock-full of veterans. The Hawkeyes took the opening tipoff and found the basket first from the free throw line.Johnson was the first Nittany Lion to notch the scoreboard, then Shrewsberry’s starters didn’t let up. Penn State opened the game with an 11-0 run over Iowa and looked consistent on both ends of the court.

Myles Dread sunk the first three of the night and the Nittany Lion offense created a solid lead during the first 10 minutes of the opening half. Seth Lundy put up steady numbers throughout the half to keep things going on the scoreboard, but Iowa started to get into its rhythm and look more competitive as the game went on.

What once was a fast-paced, dominating Penn State offense turned into a slower group trying to hold onto a tight lead. Lundy kept things going at the forward position, but Iowa managed to unlock the Nittany Lions’ zone defense and ultimately take the lead. Harrar drew three fouls and went three-for-six from the charity stripe, missing critical opportunities to stay competitive against the Hawkeyes.

The Nittany Lions’ shot just weren’t sinking in the dwindling minutes of the first half in contrast to Iowa’s comeback offensive showcase. Shrewsberry’s lineup closed out first 20 minutes down 34-32 after dropping a 100point lead.

Dread opened up the scoring out of the locker room with an offensive rebound after two Penn State possessions. The Nittany Lions looked energetic out of the break and moved the ball effectively around the Hawkeye’s tight man-on-man defense.

Iowa’s only points in the opening minutes of the half came from the free throw line whereas the Nittany Lions started to put on a show on their opponent’s half. The Penn State lineup broke the Hawkeyes’ lead and several big time rebounds from Harrar turned the tide of the matchup.

The Hawkeyes’ first basket from off the free throw line came after nearly eight minutes of play in the game. After these points, though, the pace of the matchup sped up as Iowa was only within two points of the lead. Both Penn State and Iowa traded three-pointers and the energy in the Bryce Jordan Center increased dramatically.

After lots of back and forth action from both the Nittany Lions and the Hawkeyes in the final leg of the game, the fouls began to fly. In such a close matchup, each team resorted to aggression and lots of time was spent shooting free throws at the end of the night.

Penn State spent a lot of time on the ball in an attempt to run out the clock in the last two minutes of the game. It was anyone’s game right up until the end and the pace was high to reflect that.

Every play in the final minute of the game was followed by a timeout and the Nittany Lions’ final possession of the night came from the free throw line. Sam Sessons went one-for-two and gave the Hawkeyes the chance to tie the game. Iowa’s Keegan Murray did in fact tie the game at 66-66 right as the final buzzer rang throughout the arena, sending night into a final five minutes of overtime.

Iowa won the overtime tipoff and notched the first basket of the period. Harrar took to the basket on the Nittany Lions’ possession and earned the and-one shot. He missed the extra point but tied the game at 68-68.

Iowa picked up the next three points to extend its lead to 71-68 over Penn State. Lundy responded to this with a three-pointer of his own and tied the game right back up.

In the two following possessions, both the Nittany Lions and the Hawkeyes earned two shots at the charity stripe. Penn State picked up the short lived one point lead. Iowa picked up another two foul shots, followed by two more from Harrar on the other end of the court. The teams traded free throws for what felt like an eternity until Sessoms was denied via swat to register an Iowa lead at 76-75 in the final minute of play.

Dread punched a fade away three pointer with coverage in his face to tie the game at 78-78 with less than 10 seconds remaining in overtime. Iowa couldn’t convert during its possession and Shrewsberry and Co. headed to a second overtime period.

Iowa took the tipoff and clocked the first bucket of the second overtime period. Pickett picked up a basket and drew a foul to earn an extra point from the line. He converted the shot and took the lead to open overtime. Pickett then posted a jumper immediately after as a result of an Iowa turnover.

Sessoms didn’t come to play in overtime. The senior broke through two Iowa defenders to convert an impressive layup to hold onto a three point Nittany Lion lead.

After a failed three point attempt from Iowa, Dread headed to the line and sunk two free throws. Immediately after, Greg Lee posted up on the line and went one-for-two to lock the Nittany Lions in at 88-83.

Iowa sunk a three-pointer with less than five seconds on the clock, leaving the Nittany Lions with a two point lead and 1.5 seconds remaining in the game. Dread drew a foul, went two-for-two on his attempts, and solidified the lead for the Nittany Lions.

Frequent timeouts and free throws created a choppy end to a wild game. Ultimately, Penn State took the matchup 90-86 and closed out an exciting game from Happy Valley.


  • Penn State was a first-half team for much of Monday’s action. Head coach Micah Shrewsberry has a reliable starting five that can always put up consistent numbers. However, come midway through the half, things slow down for the Nittany Lions, and that was evident on the scoreboard tonight.
  • John Harrar can change a game from the post. Penn State needed a second-half resurgence and Harrar managed to single-handedly provide the energy that was missing in the offense and picked up 10 boards. After Harrar picked up three offensive rebound in a row, the Nittany Lions broke through Iowa’s lead and forced a comeback. Harrar has the ability to change the game and that shouldn’t be overlooked.
  • Free throws were a huge test throughout the final leg of the second half and in overtime. Penn State was able to hang tough and shot 75% from the line. Interestingly enough, both teams registered a 75% free throw percentage and it proved to be the game changer for both squads.
  • That was a fun game to watch, folks. Enough said.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will head north to Madison to take on No. 11 Wisconsin on Saturday, February 5. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be available to watch live on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a senior from Richmond, Virginia, majoring in journalism. She's an associate editor and talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State, too. You can usually find her on a porch, but if not, feel free to contact Keeley on Twitter @keeleylammm or [email protected].

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