By JAMES ALLAN
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It took 22 points from sophomore Luka Garza and a back-breaking 3-pointer from Jordan Bohannon to secure the No. 23/24 University of Iowa men’s basketball team’s fourth consecutive victory.
The Hawkeyes rallied from a 45-40 halftime deficit to defeat Penn State, 89-82, Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. Iowa moves to 15-3 overall, 4-3 in Big Ten play.
Iowa led 83-82 with under one minute remaining when freshman Joe Wieskamp corralled an offensive rebound off a Connor McCaffery missed 3-point field goal. The Hawkeyes reset their offense, forcing the Nittany Lions to extend their defense.
After Bohannon avoided pressure by giving up the ball to junior Ryan Kriener, the forward went back to Bohannon, who drained a deep 3-pointer — from five steps behind the arc — to give Iowa an 86-82 lead with 36 seconds to play.
“It’s a good shot because he took it,” said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. “I would have been surprised if he didn’t shoot it.”
Iowa trailed 45-40 at the half after attempting 19 first-half 3-pointers. Iowa scored just eight points in the paint in the opening 20 minutes before going to its bread and butter. Iowa scored 32 of its 47 points in the paint in the second half, finishing with a 40-30 advantage for the game.
Midway through the second half, Kriener and Garza took over. Kriener scored six straight by attacking Penn State center Mike Watkins. During a six-minute stretch, Kriener and Garza combined for 15 of Iowa’s 18-points, tying the game at 72 with 7:14 left.
After Iowa extended its lead to 79-72 via a Wieskamp layup, a Bohannon 3-pointer, and a McCaffery layup, Penn State used an 8-0 spurt in a 56 second span to take an 80-79 lead with 3:06 left.
The Hawkeyes shot 50 percent from the field for the game, making 32-of-64 attempts, including 12 3-pointers. Iowa finished with a 37-35 advantage on the boards and scored 18 points off 12 Penn State turnovers.
Garza led a group of five Hawkeyes in double figures, finishing with 22 points off 9-of-17 shooting. He also had 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
Bohannon finished with 19 points, making 5-of-8 3-pointers, and six assists, Kriener tied a career-high with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting, junior Isaiah Moss had 12 points via four 3-pointers, and Wieskamp added 10 points — all in the second half.
The Nittany Lions shot 46.9 percent en route to their second-highest point total of the season. Penn State hit 12 3-pointers, but couldn’t overcome an off night from leading scorer Lamar Stephens. Iowa limited Stephens to 4-of-18 shooting. Josh Reaves and Rasi Bolton led Penn State with 16 points apiece.
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“You have to give Penn State credit, we’re up seven with four minutes left, they score eight straight and Josh Reaves makes two unbelievable plays. They took the lead back, after they had the lead, gave it up, took it back. You have to give that team credit for how that team fought in that situation and how we maintained our composure and got the lead back and got the stops we needed.”
COOK SITS AGAIN
The Hawkeyes were without Tyler Cook, their leading scorer and rebounder, for the second time in three games. The junior sat after spraining his ankle in Saturday’s win over Ohio State.
“He was close, he tried yesterday and tried today,” said McCaffery. “The thing with a sprained ankle is you can run, but you can’t cut. He had no explosion. To his credit, he wouldn’t help us if he was laboring. He’s going to be diligent rehabilitating that to get ready for Sunday.”
Cook also missed the Jan. 9 game at Northwestern due to knee tightness.
- Iowa’s 89 points are the most scored at Penn State, dating back to 1955. The previous high was 86 on Jan. 6, 2001.
- Iowa has won nine of its last 10 games, dating back to Dec. 6.
- Garza’s double-double was the sixth of his career (22 points, 12 rebounds). Garza netted 20+ points for the third time this season and seventh time on his career.
- Iowa improved to 5-1 in games decided by nine points or less this season.
- Nicholas Baer corralled five rebounds to top 500 rebounds in his career. Baer becomes just the fifth player in program history to amass 500 rebounds, 500 points, 100 blocked shots, and 100 steals.
- Iowa made 12 3-pointers versus Penn State, its highest total in a Big Ten game this season (10 vs. Nebraska on Jan. 6).
- Ryan Kriener tied a career high with 15 points, marking the fourth time in five games the junior has reached double figures.
- Jordan Bohannon finished with 19 points and six assists. The Hawkeye junior has been credited with 14 assists the last two games.
ON THE HORIZON
The Hawkeyes return to action Sunday, hosting Illinois at noon (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are available at hawkeyeports.com/tickets.