Penn State Downs No. 4 Iowa Behind Senior Leadership
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - If you’re ranked in the Top 25 then you suggest you don’t make your way into the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, PA.
Penn State (13-13, Big Ten 4-9) seems to be making a habit of beating ranked teams at home. After upsetting No. 22 Indiana last Saturday, the Nittany Lions were able to take down the visiting No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes (20-6, B1G 10-3) 79-75 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Going into Wednesday night’s game, the Nittany Lions were the underdog but they didn’t play like it. After going down early in the first half by eight points, Coach Pat Chambers subbed in senior forward Donovon Jack who immediately made a difference and would continue to all game.
Jack quickly put the first points on the board for the Nittany Lions. Breaking the four-minute scoring drought, the Lions went on to pull the game within two coming off of two big 3-pointers from Shep Garner with 13 minutes left in the first half.
Penn State kept the score close and was finally able to take the lead off of the only 3-pointer made by Isaiah Washington with just five minutes left to play in the first half.
After taking this lead the Nittany Lions would not look back, never allowing the Hawkeyes to regain the lead for the remainder of the game.
Senior leadership was key for this game with Jack being the all around leader finishing the game with 19 points and five rebounds , even though only playing eight minutes in the first half, and a total of 22 minutes.
“I couldn’t have done this without my teammates. It’s a big win for us,” Jack said.
He wasn’t wrong on that one. Garner and Brandon Taylor both ended the game with 18 points. Garner nailing his four 3s in the first half and helping to get Penn State the lead that it would hold on to.
“I’m so proud of my team, especially the seniors,” Chambers said, “You practice the way you play, and our practice translated to tonight.”
Free throws were an important part of this matchup with fouls in abundance and it obviously translated that Penn State practiced free throw shooting as they shot over 77 percent from the line going 17 of 22.
“It’s not all perfect, but it is a process. The fact that we can beat Indiana and play like we did tonight shows progress,” Chambers added.
Chambers specifically looked at Washington, who was 6 of 6 from the charity stripe - with all of those coming in the second half when they were most needed.
“He’s a really confident kid,” Chambers said, “He kept shooting threes and I was really proud of him , when they got up on his three he started driving the ball and went six for six from the free throw line in critical situations.”
Not only did the starters do a great job for the Nittany Lions but the bench played exceptional, totaling 29 points, opposed to Iowa’s 10 points.
Iowa did not go down without a fight though. Team leading scorer Peter Jok ended the game with 28 points and 18 of those coming in the second half. Jok accounted for the last eight points for the Hawkeyes and hit two key threes to make it an incredible game.
Iowa will go home and get a week off before hosting conference foe Wisconsin (16-9, 8-4) next Wednesday.
Penn State will make a trip to New Jersey to take on another conference team in Rutgers (6-20, 0-13) on Saturday.
Mark Fagnani is a senior majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, firstname.lastname@example.org.