Penn State Eyes Win Over Iowa Thursday Night
Penn State (8-15, 0-11 Big Ten) continues to search for its first conference victory Thursday night as they host the visiting Iowa Hawkeyes (15-9, 4-7 Big Ten) at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Hawkeyes prevailed 76-67 when the two squads met just two weeks ago in Iowa City.
It has unquestionably been a difficult year for Pat Chambers and company. Penn State is 4-14 since star point guard Tim Frazier was lost to a season-ending Achilles injury. All enthusiasm for the program had seemingly been lost until this week.
With Penn State’s world-renowned Dance Marathon set to kick off Friday afternoon, Chambers ignited the student body on Monday, pledging to donate $10 for every student that attends Thursday night’s battle with the Hawkeyes. Chambers’ pledge not only sent a message to the students, but to his team as well.
“He has a heart,” point guard D.J. Newbill said Tuesday. “He understands that there are things more important than winning and losing basketball games or being the head coach at Penn State. It’s really a testament to his character.”
Newbill, whose mother passed away in September from cancer, continues to carry much of the load offensively for the Nittany Lions. Newbill leads the Nittany Lions in scoring (15.8 ppg) and assists (4.0 apg), while also ranking second on the team in rebounding (5.7 rpg).
The Hawkeyes travel to State College, where they haven’t won at the Jordan Center since 2006. In his third year as head coach, Fran McCaffery has turned the Iowa program into a legitimate fighter in the Big Ten. Five of the team’s seven conference losses have come by four points or less, a feat last accomplished in the Big Ten by Penn State in 2010.
Sophomore forward Aaron White leads the team in scoring at 13.5 ppg. White tallied a career-high 27 points in the last meeting between the two teams and Iowa is 8-1 in games when White scores 16 or more.
Penn State junior guard Jermaine Marshall failed to start for the first time all season in the team’s 67-53 defeat last Saturday at Nebraska. Marshall is shooting just 25.6% from the floor over the past three games and was held out of the starting lineup with an apparent knee injury.
“No, I wouldn’t say that,” said Marshall on whether the injury was playing into the poor shooting. “I just need to get back into the gym and work on the fundamentals of shooting. I know what I have to do.”
The Nittany Lions have won the last five meetings between the two teams at the BJC and with four of their last six on the road, this may be their best remaining shot of getting in the win column. Chambers’ announcement should draw a sizable crowd for the first time since conference season began; a well-deserved reward for a bunch that have continued to battle since losing their star player.
“A lot of students will probably be there that haven’t seen us play all year,” said Newbill. “It’ll probably have us a little more jacked up and we’re just going to come out and play.”
Tip between Penn State and Iowa is set for 9 pm and can be heard live on ComRadio. Coverage begins at 8:30 with the ComRadio Penn State Basketball Pregame Show.
Matt Lawrence is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and economics. To contact him, email email@example.com.