Sandfort’s Historic Night, Hawkeyes Defeat Penn State

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa men’s basketball team defeated Penn State, 90-81, on Tuesday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes advance to 17-12 on the season and 9-9 in Big Ten conference play.

Junior Payton Sandfort had a historic night, becoming the first Iowa men’s basketball player to record a triple-double. Sandfort finished with 26 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds.  Sandfort tied his career high in points and set a new career high in assists. Sandfort also set new career bests for free throw attempts and makes, shooting 18-of-19 (94.7%) from the free throw line.

Sophomore Josh Dix started the game 7-of-7 from the field including 2-of-2 from three. Dix finished the game with 20 points, just one shy of his career high. Freshman Owen Freeman scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Freeman shot 5-of-9 (55.5%) from the field.

Senior Tony Perkins finished the game with 10 points despite having to sit the first half in foul trouble. Perkins pulled in five rebounds, dished out five assists, blocked a shot, and had two steals.

The Hawkeyes dominated the Nittany Lions in the opening minutes of the game, starting with a 16-4 run in the first 5-minutes of the game. The Hawkeyes led by as much as 17 points (29-12) before Penn State had an 8-0 run of their own. Iowa shot 5-of-9 (55.6%) from deep in the first half compared to the Nittany Lions 1-of-9 (11.1%) on 3-point shots in the first half. Penn State cut the lead to as few at six points, but Iowa would lead 47-39 at halftime.

Penn State jumped out to 8-2 run in the opening three minutes of the second half, cutting the Iowa lead down to just two points.

The Hawkeyes answered. Sandfort caught fire, finishing the half with 21 points. Much of that production came at the free throw line, where the Waukee, Iowa, native was a perfect 13-of-13 down the stretch.

Perkins scored 10 points in the second half on 3-of-4 shooting, combining with Sandfort for 31 of Iowa’s 43 points in the final 20 minutes.

Iowa shot 25-of-53 (47.2%) from the field and 8-of-16 (50.0%) from deep. The Hawkeyes improve to 5-0 on the season when shooting at least 50 percent from three. Iowa shot 32-of-37 (86.5%) from the free-throw line.

“Yeah, we played these guys a couple weeks ago and they played better than we did. Tonight, we played better. Made some adjustments. We had some really impressive individual performances. That’s a really good team we just beat. They play hard. They challenge you with their defense. You get to the free throw line 37 times and have 22 assists on 25 field goals, that was really important. Turned it over less. Probably gave them too many offensive rebounds. They are really good at that. We’ve got to be better there. We also went small for a while. Just really proud of the guys.”

“Well [Payton’s] rebounding when we went small was critical. When they are guarding him they way they are to have 10 assists is really important. He made the biggest three of the game. We were struggling to get a basket there. Josh had a good look. Patrick had a good look. Ben had a good look. Tony had a good look. The ball wasn’t going in and someone had to make one and he did”


  • The Hawkeyes beat Penn State, 90-81, to salvage the season split.
    • Iowa has won 16 of the last 17 meetings over the Nittany Lions in Iowa City.
  • Iowa led 63-58 before using a 10-0 run to open up a 73-58 lead with 10:49 to play.
    • Iowa made six of its first eight field goals over the first five minutes to jump out to a 16-4 lead. 
    • The Hawkeyes led by as many as 17 points (29-12) at the 9:43 mark before taking a 47-39 lead into the locker room.
  • Sophomore Josh Dix notched his second straight 20 point game, finishing with 20 points on 8-of-10 shooting.
    • It was Dix’s third 20-point game this season and his eighth game in double digits.
    • He made his first seven field goals and finished with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting (2-of-3 3-pointers) in the first half.
  • Junior Payton Sandfort tallied the first triple-double in program history, tying a career-high with 26 points, a career-high 10 assists and 10 rebounds.  He also had a career-high three blocks.
    • It was Sandfort’s eighth 20-point game this season – tied for the most on the team.
    • He went 18-of-19 from the free throw line – career-highs in free throws and free throw attempts.
  • Freshman Owen Freeman finished with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting to go along with eight rebounds.
    • The forward has had seven or more rebounds in 14 games.
    • Freeman also had one block, giving him 51 for the season — the most by a freshman in school history, passing Acie Earl (50).
  • Senior Tony Perkins scored 10 points – all in the second half – making 3-of-4 field goals and 4-of-4 free throws.
    • He has been in double figures in a team-best 25 games this season.
    • He also had five assists – his 10th game with 5+ assists.
  • Graduate Ben Krikke finished with seven points on 1-of-5 shooting.
    • Krikke surpassed the 2,000 point mark for his collegiate career in the game.   He scored 1,596 points in his four-year career at Valparaiso.
  • Senior Patrick McCaffery finished with five points to become the 53rd player in program history to score 1,000 career points.
  • The Hawkeyes finished with 22 assists on 25 field goals – the most assists by the team since Jan. 15 at Minnesota.
    • The team is 9-1 this season when it has 20 or more assists.
    • Iowa assisted on its first 14 field goals and on 15-of-16 field goals in the first half.
  • Iowa made 32-of-37 free throws – the most makes and attempts for Iowa in Big Ten play this season.
    • The Hawkeyes are 11-2 when attempting 20 or more free throws.
    • Iowa made more free throws (30) than Penn State attempted (13).
  • The Hawkeyes made eight 3-point field goals – the most since Jan. 27 at Michigan.
    • Iowa is 8-1 when making eight or more 3s.
    • Iowa limited Penn State to four 3-pointers; the Nittany Lions made 12 on Feb. 8 in Happy Valley.

The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday, traveling to Evanston to face Northwestern at 4:30 p.m. (CT) at Welsh-Ryan Arena.