MBB: Hawkeyes Drop Big Ten Opener to Penn State 77–73

MBB: Hawkeyes Drop Big Ten Opener to Penn State 77–73

HawkeyesMic.com — Podcasting 11 Years of Original Content on Iowa Athletics

By Jack Brandsgard (jbrandsgard@hawkeyesmic.com) 12/02/17

Iowa had their chances, but couldn’t get over the hump against Penn State. Down three in the final minutes, the Hawkeyes missed a layup, a dunk, a three, the front end of a one-and-one, and turned the ball over. That’s the difference between winning and losing, and it allowed Penn State to leave Iowa City victorious for the first time since 2001.

Penn State started the game on an 11–2 run and never looked back. The Nittany Lions finished 12–23 (52 percent) from downtown and answered every run Iowa made.

“We made shots today,” Penn State head coach Pat Chambers said. “We got contributions from a lot of guys.”

Chief among those contributors was Lamar Stevens, who led Penn State with 22 points on 7–15 shooting. Mike Watkins added 19, Tony Carr chipped in 16, Shep Garner scored 12, and Josh Reaves contributed eight points. That’s it. The bench didn’t score.

Tyler Cook had his best game of the year, scoring 23 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead Iowa in both categories. But he also led the Hawkeyes in turnovers (five), and Iowa coughed the ball up 18 times for the game.

Ryan Kriener was active off the bench, Pemsl had 10 points and five boards, but Iowa needs more from its backcourt.

Jordan Bohannon was quiet all game. He needs more than six shots, and that’s something Fran McCaffery acknowledged after the game. Brady Ellingson and Maishe Dailey were nonexistent, and Isaiah Moss took his foot off the gas down the stretch. Iowa misses Connor McCaffery badly, but I’m not sure he’s the solution.

The Hawkeyes need guards who can get into the paint and create for others. I like Bohannon, but he’s far from a slasher who can collapse the defense. Four assists to three turnovers isn’t going to cut it.

Iowa was in a worse position last season. Remember when the Hawkeyes were 1–5 and had just lost at home to Nebraska-Omaha? This isn’t the end of the world. There’s plenty of season left to figure things out.

“I love these guys,” Fran McCaffery said. “They’ll get it. It’s frustrating, but they’re good people, they have character, and we’ll get it figured out.”