March 12, 2015
- Read the March issue of Hawk Talk Monthly
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly iOS app
- Download your Hawk Talk Monthly android app
- Download your Iowa Hawkeye Android app!
- Big Ten Network: Free Hawkeye Video
- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
By JAMES ALLAN
CHICAGO — No. 13 seed Penn State stunned the fifth-seeded University of Iowa men’s basketball team, handing the Hawkeyes a 67-58 defeat Thursday at the United Center in the second round of the 2015 Big Ten Tournament.
The Nittany Lions (18-12) held Iowa to a season-low 26.3 percent field goal percentage and out-scored the Hawkeyes, 48-31, in the second half. Iowa made just 7-of-32 field goals in the final 20 minutes, but still had a chance to win, after making 25-of-31 free throws and out-rebounding Penn State, 49-34.
The Nittany Lions led by nine points with 5:17 remaining before the Hawkeyes began its comeback, reeling off five-straight points on two Aaron White free throws and a Jarrod Uthoff 3-pointer to trim the deficit to 54-40 with 4:43 remaining.
After Penn State pushed its lead back to six on two Ross Travis free throws with 3:04 left, Iowa countered with two Gabriel Olaseni free throws to make it a four-point contest before White made a pair from the foul line to cut the lead to 58-56 with 1:42 remaining.
Iowa had a chance to tie the game or take the lead after forcing a D.J. Newbill miss on the next Penn State possession, but couldn’t capitalize. Uthoff’s off-balance, fade-away field goal attempt from the free throw line clanked off the rim, and Penn State snagged the rebound.
“They shot the ball well, we made some mistakes,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “They took advantage of those mistakes, but they made some shots at a critical juncture in the game, which changed a lot.”
One of those shots came with 31 seconds left.
After Iowa’s full-court pressure forced Penn State to burn its final two timeouts, Travis provided the dagger with an three-point play, converting a wrap-around layup and making his free throw to push the Nittany Lions lead to 61-56 with 31 seconds left. Newbill provided the exclamation point, slamming home a fast-break dunk following an Iowa miss to send the Nittany Lions to its second-straight victory.
“We give up 48 points in the second half,” said White. “That’s more where we lost the game rather than the shooting percentage.”
White led all scorers with 21 points, making 5-of-13 field goals and 10-of-12 free throws, while grabbing 13 rebounds for the double-double. Uthoff finished with 17 and seven rebounds, making 5-of-14 attempts.
Newbill led Penn State with 18 points with most of his damage coming when it mattered most. The Big Ten’s leading scorer scored 11 of his 18 points in the final 7:33. Travis scored 17 points and had seven rebounds, while Geno Thorpe had 11 points and three assists.
“You’ve to credit D.J.,” said White. “He’s having a good Big Ten Tournament. We kind of let him get away from us there in the second half.”
Penn State jumped out to a 6-1 lead over the first three minutes before Iowa’s defense forced the Nittany Lions into missing 16 of their next 17 shots. The Hawkeyes didn’t capitalize when it had a chance to take control.
Iowa finally clicked late in the opening half, scoring 12 of the final 18 points to take a 27-19 lead into the break. The Hawkeyes then pushed their advantage to double figures on a one-handed slam from Uthoff coming out of the locker room and a three-point play from Gesell at the 18:27 mark gave the Hawkeyes a 32-21 lead — their largest of the game.
Penn State clawed its way back, scoring seven-straight points and used a 15-4 run to tie the game at 36. Iowa missed 10-straight field goals and endured an eight-minute field goal drought. “They played good defense, but I’d also say we were a little stagnant on offense,” said White. “Not moving like we usually do, not screening, and cutting with purpose to score. You have to attribute them for some good defense, but also take credit as a team that we didn’t play like we usually do.”
Trailing 42-40, Iowa’s Adam Woodbury missed a layup that appeared to be defensive basket interference. Iowa’s bench was whistled for a technical foul, where Newbill drained both free throws before draining a pull-up jumper for a four-point possession to push the lead to 46-40.
Thirty-one seconds later, it was Newbill again, as he made a 3-pointer for his seventh point in a 44 second span to push the lead to 49-42. Shep Garner pushed the PSU lead to 54-45 with a 3-pointer at the 5:17 mark.
Iowa (21-11) will learn its NCAA Tournament fate Sunday during the annual Selection Show. The Hawkeyes are expected to earn an at-large bid.