Game Preview: Penn State vs. Iowa

Story posted January 15, 2019 in Sports, CommRadio by Preston Shoemaker

The Penn State Nittany Lions are back in action this week at the Bryce Jordan Center as they play host to No. 23 Iowa Hawkeyes. Tipoff is Wednesday at 7 p.m. and will be covered by Comm Radio.

Penn State continues to struggle this season in the Big Ten, as they enter this contest with a 7-10 (0-6) record. They are coming off a tough loss at home vs No. 6 Michigan State that ended with a score of 71-56. Junior forward Lamar Stevens was the leading scorer with 20 points. Penn State had no points off the bench.

The Nittany Lions have lost five of their last six games, being outscored by Big Ten opponents by an average of 10.3 points per game. They are last in the Big Ten in points per game, assists per game, and field goal percentage.

Despite these struggles, Penn State has had some individual players find success. Stevens is fifth in the Big Ten in scoring with 18.6 points per game, and sixth in rebounds with eight per game. Penn State senior guard Josh Reaves leads the Big Ten in steals per game with 2.59.

Reaves and the Nittany Lion defense will have their work cut out for them against the Hawkeyes, who are second in the Big Ten in scoring with 81.7 points per game.

Iowa comes into the game with a 14-3 (3-3) record. After falling to 0-3 in the Big Ten, the Hawkeyes have won three games in a row and eight of their last nine. This streak has helped them regain their position in the AP Top 25.

Iowa is led by junior forward Tyler Cook, who is averaging 17.1 points per game. Cook, a double-digit scorer in all but two games this season, is a physical inside threat that can get to the basket with authority.

The Hawkeyes are also led by junior guard Jordan Bohannon. Bohannon is a facilitator for this offense, running the point and leading the team in assists per game.

Expect Iowa to drive to the basket often. The Hawkeyes are at their best when they can find their big man cutting to the key. They are constantly searching for backdoor cuts and screen opportunities.

Penn State will need a productive day defensively out of their big men underneath. Junior forward Mike Watkins and sophomore forward John Harrar must make their presence felt. Protecting the basket inside will be crucial to stopping Cook and the Iowa offense.

On the offensive end, the Nittany Lions need to capitalize on their opportunities. They are averaging 13.1 turnovers per game this season. Penn State must find ways to protect the basketball and get the offense going early. Freshman guard Myles Dread is coming off of back-to-back double figure scoring contests and will be a key factor for Penn State’s offense. 

If Penn State is going to avoid their first 0-7 start the Big Ten play since 2012, they will need to be firing on all cylinders. However, containing Iowa’s physical offense will be no easy task. Penn State is 5-3 at home this season.

 

 

Preston Shoemaker is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism.  To contact him, email pus144@psu.edu.