UNIVERSITY PARK, Pennsylvania – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team fell at Penn State, 83-79, on Sunday evening at the Bryce Jordan Center.
A second-half Iowa comeback came up just short, as the Hawkeyes cut an 18-point halftime deficit down to just two points with just 16 seconds remaining in the game.
Iowa scored 53 points in the second half, shooting 56 percent (18-of-32) in the final 20 minutes. The Hawkeyes final possession ended in a Penn State steal with five seconds left to preserve the Nittany Lion victory.
Junior Kris Murray was the game’s leading scorer with 32 points, including 22 points in the second half. Murray shot 60 percent (12-of-20) from the floor — including three triples — to go along with nine rebounds, three assists and a block.
Junior Tony Perkins was next in scoring for Iowa, putting up 17 points, seven rebounds, three assists and one steal for the Hawkeyes. Fifth-year Filip Rebraca also reached double figures with 13 points, five rebounds, one assist and one block against the Nittany Lions.
The Hawkeyes out-rebounded Penn State, 34-30, including a 10-2 margin on the offensive glass. Likewise, Iowa posted 17 second-chance points while defensively allowing just three second-chance points.
HEAR FROM HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“We got off to a decent start, but really didn’t play well in the first half. The last possession hurt us. We had a chance to take the last shot, took a rushed shot, and they hit a three at the buzzer. I thought we did a better job in the second half guarding their stuff. They were five out. Lot of hand offs, lot of ball screens, lot of slips, lot of curls. Not an easy offense to guard. As the game went on, I thought we did a much better job.
… To me, [Kris Murray] is just consistent. He is going to move without the ball. Nothing is going to rattle him. If he is open, he will shoot it. If he is covered, he will pass it. He can score with threes, with drives. I thought he played through contact. They obviously were focusing on him and doubling him. If we got it to him inside, they were coming on him, but he didn’t rattle. He had 32 and nine, but he also had three assists, four offensive rebounds. Again, he scored in a variety of ways.
The other thing is, you sometimes take him for granted, but he is a really good defender. When we didn’t have him and when we didn’t have Connor [McCaffery], they are our two best wing defenders. So, you need both of those guys. Kris gives you somebody at both ends that is really special.”
- Junior Kris Murray scored a game and career-best 32 points. Murray has tallied 30+ points three times (31 vs. Georgia Tech; 30 vs. Omaha). Murray scored 22 of his 32 points in the second half. He has tallied 20+ points a team-best five times and reached double figures a team-best 11 times this season. He also grabbed a team-best nine rebounds.
- Senior Filip Rebraca and junior Tony Perkins reached double figures in scoring for the 11th and ninth time, respectively, this season. Rebraca netted 13 points, while Perkins scored 17.
- Five of the last seven Iowa-PSU games, including today, have been decided by seven points or less.
- Iowa made six of its seven 3-pointers in the second half.
- Today was Iowa’s 11th game played on New Year’s Day in program history and first time away from home on New Year’s Day since 1940.
- Today was the only regular season meeting between the two teams.
- Junior center Josh Ogundele was unavailable today due to injury (knee).
Iowa (8-6, 0-3) returns home after consecutive road games, hosting nationally-ranked Indiana (10-3, 1-1) on Thursday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:07 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.