Feb. 3, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The No. 5/7 University of Iowa men’s basketball team cruised to its ninth Big Ten Conference victory with a 73-49 dismantling of Penn State on Wednesday night on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes move to 18-4 overall and keep pace with Indiana for the league lead at 9-1. It is Penn State’s fourth straight defeat, dropping its record to 11-12, 2-8.
Iowa shot 53.6 percent in a 45-point first half and finished with a 46.3 field goal percentage for the game. Iowa’s defense created offense to the tune of a 13-0 advantage in fast break points. The Hawkeyes made just six 3-pointers (in 17 attempts) and went 17-of-26 from the free throw stripe, but their defense gave the Nittany Lions fits.
“From the outset, our defense set the tone,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “We got stops, run-outs, and established how we want to play.”
Penn State shot 29.7 percent in a 26-point first half and 30.4 percent for the game. The Nittany Lions made just 1-of-20 3-point field goals for the game, and netted just 23 points in the second 20 minutes. The 49 points against were a season-low by a Hawkeye opponent.
“We got in space and made everything difficult for them,” said senior Jarrod Uthoff. “It set the pace.”
Uthoff led Iowa with 14 points, making 5-of-12 attempts, and blocked five shots in 17 minutes. Senior Anthony Clemmons had 12 points (4-of-8 field goal), six rebounds, and four assists, and junior Peter Jok netted 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
“I was fortunate, the ball bounced my way a couple of times,” said Woodbury. “They missed shots and I got in the right place at the right time.”
Iowa outmatched Penn State from the opening tip, jumping out to a 14-4 lead over the first 6 1/2 minutes, and the Hawkeyes used a two-handed slam and jumper high off the glass from Wagner to push the lead to 19-7. Uhl’s 3-pointer stretched the lead to 24-9 at the half’s midway point.
Penn State managed to close the gap to 29-20 on a Deividas Zemgulis 3-pointer with 5:44 left before Iowa ended the half on a vengeance. Uthoff answered with a 3-pointer to make the score 32-20 and Baer connected on a 3 from the corner 1 1/2 minutes later to push the lead to 14.
Iowa took a 43-26 advantage into the half on a put-back dunk from Uhl off his own missed jumper. Seven Hawkeyes scored in the first half, including three players with eight or more points.
The Hawkeyes’ lead continued growing in the second half. Back-to-back Uthoff field goals stretched the lead to 51-28 at the 16:25 mark, and the lead climbed to as many as 28 points. Iowa’s reserves played the final 12 minutes, but Penn State never got any closer than 24 points.
“Any win in the Big Ten is a good win,” said Uthoff. “It’s not like you’re playing a bad opponent. Penn State is a good team. They came out and fought us and were physical with us.”
Brandon Taylor was the only Nittany Lion in double figures, finishing with 15 points on 7-of-20 shooting.
Iowa returns to action Sunday, traveling to Champaign to face Illinois.
“It’s a tough place to play,” said McCaffery. “The last couple times we’ve played them, they have been good, close, hard-fought games. We have to be ready.”