Feb. 16, 2012
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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Aaron White, a freshman, led the University of Iowa men’s basketball in the first half Thursday at Penn State, scoring 10 points.
Matt Gatens, a Hawkeye senior, poured in 19 second-half points and made 5-of-7 3-point field goals.
The blend of Hawkeye youth and experience rallied for 40 points during the final 20 minutes at the Bryce Jordan Center, but host Penn State benefitted from a 3-point field goal by Jermaine Marshall with 1:44 left, and added three free throws in the last 24.6 seconds, to hold on for a 69-64 win.
Iowa, which won the first meeting between the teams by 13 points 12 days ago, falls to 13-13 overall, 5-8 in the Big Ten Conference. The Nittany Lions, winners of two in a row, improve to 12-15, 4-10.
It was a tough first half shooting-wise for the Hawkeyes, who made 7-of-26 field goals. Two bright spots were White, who made 4-of-8 field goals, and Roy Devyn Marble, who scored the first five points for Iowa, and went into the break with nine points, four rebounds and two assists.
Gatens was 0-for-5 from the field in the first half, but he heated up in the second half. That’s when Gatens scored 19 of his game-high 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting, including five 3-point field goals.
“The second half I found some spots, my teammates set some good screens and kicked it out on the drives,” Gatens said.
“I thought he was fabulous,” UI head coach Fran McCaffery said. “I have tremendous confidence in him. The job he did in the second half was unbelievable.”
Penn State took a 14-point lead into the locker room at halftime, 38-24. The Nittany Lions extended that to 16 (40-24) on two made free throws by Jon Graham. Graham was 4-for-4 from the line, boosting his season average to 44.4 percent. He also sank two free throws with 24 seconds left in a one-possession game.
“You can’t get down 14 on the road and start quick-shooting the ball,” McCaffery said.
“We spotted a team 14 on the road at the half and it’s tough to come back from,” Gatens said. “We were right there and had a chance at the end, but that’s something we can’t find ourselves in a hole like that. In this league you have to play 40 minutes of tough basketball to get wins.”
Iowa made 13-of-23 field goals in the second half, with five 3-pointers. Gatens finished with 21 points, White had 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Marble added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
“To a certain extent I am (proud of the team), but I’m disappointed in how we prepared, and how we fell behind by 14, especially in light of the fact that we had just beaten this team with tremendous focus,” McCaffery said. “We didn’t pay any attention to detail in the first half. In the second half, Marble, Gatens, (Melsahn) Basabe, Aaron White, (Josh) Ogelsby played great defensively.”
The Nittany Lions have now won five in a row against the Hawkeyes in University Park.
Iowa returns to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for home games Sunday, Feb. 19, against Indiana (5 p.m. CT), and Thursday, Feb. 23, against Wisconsin (8 p.m.).
“We have a great opportunity with games at home against two ranked opponents who are playing well,” Gatens said. “It’s not going to be easy, so we have to get to work and figure some things out. That’s what we’re working toward.”