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Penn State 82, Iowa 58: No Letdown Here, Folks.

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The Nittany Lions rebounded from a rough second half against Michigan State to complete a season sweep of Iowa.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a road loss at Michigan State in which a promising start was hurt by a second half defensive collapse, Penn State sought to quickly shake it off and avoid a letdown against an Iowa team sitting near the bottom of the Big Ten basement. After all, there is still the possibility of finishing above .500 in Big Ten play and setting themselves up for serious NCAA Tournament consideration with a deep run in the conference tournament in New York.

And quickly correct themselves, they did: Watkins was a scoring and rebounding machine who provided more than his share of dunks on the offensive end (side note: Watkins was the first sophomore to reach 500 career rebounds), Lamar Stevens did his best Watkins impression (swatting four shots in the first half alone), while Tony Carr and Shep Garner combined to go 4-for-7 shooting from behind the 3-point arc. By halftime, the Lions had shot nearly 60% themselves, while holding Iowa to 40%, while coasting to a 47-28 lead.

PSU picked up where they left off at the start of the second half, going up by as much as 22 points early on before went on an 8-0 Iowa run to cut the lead down to 14. That was the closest the Hawkeyes would get though to making this a ball game, as the Lions woke up offensively and would go on to provide the crowd with a series of steals and dunks that resembled the And-1 Tour or the NBA Dunk Contest. Perhaps most notable of the dunks was Lamar Stevens’ 360-degree slam (see video, below).

PPP and Four Factors

Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Team Total Possessions PPP eFG% OReb% TO% FT Rate
Penn State 68 1.21 58.6% 37.9% 16.3% 15.6%
Iowa 0.86 39.1% 31.6% 19.2% 40.0%

Given the final score, it should come as no surprise to you that Penn State dominated the PPP and efficient FG% battles. Iowa’s dominance in the FT Rate category came from the fact they had 22 trips to the line compared to PSU’s 10. The Hawkeyes however, did not take the best of advantage, hitting on only 15 of those 22 FT attempts while PSU went 7-for-10 from the charity stripe.

Player Of The Game

Watkins had his 11th double-double of the season and also became the first sophomore in school history to surpass 500 career rebounds, so congrats on that, Mike! Stevens was also very active in the interior, swatting four shots and grabbing six boards to go with his 17 points (including a couple highlight reel-worthy dunks).

Random Observations

  • Today was the 5th annual “Team Ream” day at the BJC. Team Ream was named after State College native and former Penn State punter Brandon Ream, who passed away from cancer in late 2013. The charity was initially started while Brandon was battling cancer but has since become a support vehicle for helping others going through struggles similar to Brandon’s. During the game, it was announced that Team Ream raised $35,000 for the Mt. Nittany Health Foundation, which helps with financial support for low-income individuals suffering from serious illnesses.
  • On a side note: Brandon was my high school classmate and while I didn’t have much interaction with him personally, I will never forget how kind enough he was to let me borrow his cell phone when I had no change on me to use a pay phone in order to call my parents for a ride home from track practice (this was back when virtually no high school kid had a cell phone). When I see others’ testimonials to Brandon’s kindness and charitability, I know first-hand of which they speak.
  • Okay, here’s a basketball-related observation: Are you as frustrated as I am that Josh Reaves’ academic issue didn’t get resolved sooner? There is no doubt in my mind that if he never had to sit out, Penn State would have 2-3 additional wins and the team would already be on the NCAA bubble (as opposed to still trying to play their way onto it).

Up Next

Penn State (16-9, 6-6) is back at home this coming Wednesday when they host Maryland. Tip-off is at 6:30 PM ET on BTN.