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Penn State Hoops Falls To Iowa 90-81

Penn State men’s basketball (14-15, 8-10 Big Ten) was defeated by Iowa (17-12, 9-9 Big Ten) 90-81, splitting the season series. The Nittany Lions trailed by as many as 17 points but kept it close, cutting the deficit to two, though unable to pull out the victory.

Qudus Wahab led the way with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Rayquawndis Mitchell and Ace Baldwin Jr. added 16 and 11 points, respectively. Zach Hicks’ seven-game double-digit point streak ended as the forward finished with just two points.

How It Happened

The Hawkeyes won the opening tip, but Ben Krikke was unable to score on his opening possession. Qudus Wahab got the Nittany Lions on the board first, tipping in a Nick Kern Jr. missed layup for two points.

Iowa answered right away with Owen Freeman driving to the hoop for a layup, and after a missed three by Kern, Josh Dix knocked down the first three of the ballgame. Payton Sandfort knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the lead to five, but Wahab scored another layup to make it a one-possession game.

However, after Wahab’s layup, the Hawkeyes went on a big run. It started with Dix scoring an and-one layup and free throw and was followed by another Freeman layup. Dix extended the lead to double-digits, scoring another layup after getting a great pass from Sandfort, and the two teams went into the first media break.

After the timeout, Freeman scored another layup right off the inbound pass to make it 16-4 in favor of Iowa. Demetrius Lilley, who was playing in his first game since the previous Iowa game, finally ended the 9-0 Hawkeyes run with a layup.

Dix continued his hot start, scoring another layup after nearly two minutes of neither team scoring. Kern got a hook shot to drop but was answered right away by Freeman with another layup. Wahab got another shot to drop, but on the ensuing Iowa possession, Patrick McCaffery drilled a three. Wahab and Ladji Dembele traded layups, and Pryce Sandfort drilled a triple, receiving the pass from his brother.

After the three, Mike Rhoades was called for a technical foul for arguing with the referees over a missed call, and Payton Sandfort hit 1-of-2 technical free throws.

Down by 17, Penn State got a scoring run of its own going. It started with a pair of free throws from Jameel Brown and was followed up by another layup from Lilley. D’Marco Dunn was fouled on back-to-back possessions and hit all four free throws to cut the deficit back to single digits.

The 8-0 Nittany Lion run ended as Dix got another layup to drop, got the foul call, and finished the three-point play with a made free throw. Payton Sandfort was fouled and hit both his free throws to get the lead back to 14.

Brown drove to the rim and got a tough layup to drop. Dix drilled a long three-pointer, although Puff Johnson answered him with a three of his own. The scoring continued with Krikke and Johnson exchanging two-point shots to make it 39-27 with just over five minutes left in the half.

Down 12, Wahab slammed home a dunk, and Rayquawndis Mitchell hit a tough layup to put the Nittany Lions within single digits once again. Krikke was fouled and hit both free throws, but Wahab and Kern hit back-to-back layups to make it a six-point game.

With just over two minutes until the half, Krikke was fouled again and hit 1-of-2 free throws, and after a miss from Ace Baldwin Jr., Dix hit another jumper. Mitchell was fouled heading to the hole and hit both free throws, but Brock Harding drilled his first three of the night to put Iowa back up by 10.

As the final seconds of the half ticked down, Mitchell picked a steal drove to the rim and got a layup to drop with just over a second remaining. He was also fouled but missed the free throw as the first half came to an end with Iowa leading 47-39.

At the start of the second half, Baldwin finally scored his first points of the game with a driving layup. Freeman continued to score hitting a shot in the lane. Zach Hicks, who also went scoreless in the first half, hit a layup for his first bucket, cutting the game back to six points.

Krikke was fouled and hit a pair of free throws, and Baldwin picked Tony Perkins’s pocket, drove down the floor, and missed a wide-open layup but got the rebound and hit a tougher layup. The scoring run for Baldwin continued as he hit back-to-back layups to make 51-49.

While the run from Baldwin was great, he said a few too many words to the official and was called for a technical foul. Payton Sandfort hit both free throws, and Perkins hit a layup on the possession after. Back down six, that deficit was cut in half thanks to a Leo O’Boyle three-pointer.

The Hawkeyes then got five straight points from free throws — two from Perkins and three from Payton Sandfort. Dix picked up a steal and drove down the court for a tough layup to put Iowa back up 10. Penn State kept in it, though, with O’Boyle drilling another triple heading into a media timeout.

Out of the break, Freeman was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free throws, and on the ensuing Penn State possession, Kern was fouled and made the layup and the free throw to finish the three-point play. With the score 63-58, Iowa got the lead back up to 10 quickly by way of a Payton Sandfort three and a nice layup from Perkins.

With under 12 minutes to play, the Hawkeyes continued to knock down shots as Dembele drilled a three and Payton Sandfort hit a wide-open layup. Johnson ended Iowa’s 10-0 run with a driving layup, and he followed that up with a dunk.

Perkins continued his hot second half and hit a driving layup and followed that up with a pair of free throws. Mitchell hit a driving layup but was answered with a pair of free throws from Payton Sandfort.

Wahab was fouled and hit 1-of-2 free throws and after turnovers by both teams, meanwhile Mitchell was fouled, and he also hit 1-of-2 free throws. Payton Sandfort turned it over again and that allowed Wahab to score another dunk, and he followed that up with another basket to cut the game back to single digits once again.

Down nine, Wahab was fouled and again hit 1-of-2 free throws. On the other end, Payton Sandfort drilled a long three-pointer to go back up 11. With under three minutes to play, Mitchell drove to the hole and slammed a dunk to make it 82-73.

In the final minutes of action, both teams were unable to get shots to fall. Both teams missed for nearly two minutes of game time until Baldwin was fouled while scoring a layup with 58 seconds remaining. He hit the free throw to make it a six-point game, however, Penn State played the foul game.

Payton Sandfort was fouled first and hit both free throws to go back up eight. On the ensuing Penn State possession, Johnson missed a layup, and Payton Sandfort grabbed the layups and was fouled and hit both free throws again.

Mitchell hit a layup after a great pass from Baldwin, and Penn State fouled Payton Sandfort once again. He hit both shots, and on the other end, Baldwin was fouled but missed the first of the one-and-one shots, giving the ball back to Iowa.

McCaffery was fouled, and he hit both free throws, and Mitchell drilled a long three-pointer, however, with just 10 seconds remaining, the Hawkeyes dribbled out the clock and held on to the 90-81 win.

Takeaways

  • After scoring the first basket of the game to go up 2-0, Penn State didn’t lead for the remainder of the contest. It went down by 17 points and cut the deficit back down to two points but was unable to retake the lead. The scoring struggled for a large part of the beginning of the first half as it dug itself into a hole.
  • The defense struggled to contain the Iowa shooters, who had an excellent night from beyond the arc and from the field overall.
  • For a large part of the game, Qudus Wahab seemed like the only Nittany Lion who could consistently knock down his shots. The forward totaled 18 points, tying a season-high for the big man, and seven rebounds.
  • A surprising move of the night was the stellar play from Rayquawndis Mitchell. Mitchell has seen little playing time recently, but he made every minute count as he finished with 16 points and four rebounds in 13 minutes of play.

What’s Next?

The Nittany Lions will travel to Minneapolis for their final road regular-season game against Minnesota. The game is set to tip off at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, March 2, and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

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About the Author

Matt Brown

Matt is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism and minoring in sports studies from Bensalem, Pa. Matt is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and an overall sports fan in general. When not watching sports, you'll find him taking down any Dollar Dog challenge or rewatching the Big Ten Maps Commercial. To reach him, follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @matt_brown63, or email him at [email protected].

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