Penn State Dominates Iowa at Home
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Coming off a tough road loss to Michigan State, the Nittany Lions proved Saturday night they had buried that game in the past.
Outscoring the Hawkeyes 47-28 in the first half, the Nittany Lions entered the final 20 minutes of gameplay hoping to continue their momentum. After a slow start, Penn State began to crank up the energy after a Lamar Stevens steal turned 360 dunk gave them the spark they needed to finish strong. With 14 field goals in the second half for a season-high 35 total and a tremendous effort all game long by Mike Watkins, Penn State was able to soar to an easy victory.
“I was concerned about our mental conditioning and our mental mindset coming into the game,” Head Coach Pat Chambers said. “They really stepped up after that Michigan State game and came back to work.”
Iowa’s Jordan Bohannon began the game with a steal and drained 3-pointer, but Watkins quickly answered back by slamming one down for his first of many dunks on the evening.
After Iowa started to incorporate a half-court trapping press on defense, Penn State began to feel the pressure a little. However, after adjusting and working to move the ball quickly, they were able to establish confidence in shooting beyond the arc and driving to the basket.
With close to 2 minutes left in the first half, Watkins picked up his third dunk and Penn State’s final points of the half. Heading into the locker room, Watkins totaled 12 points after going 6-6 on field goals, Carr registered 14 points and five rebounds and Stevens had nine points and a career-best four blocked shots.
After a dominant first-half display, Penn State continued to excel in the second half on both sides of the ball. After a 3-point make by Garner and free throw by Josh Reaves, Penn State found themselves leading the Hawkeyes by 21 points.
With close to 14 minutes left in the half, Watkins picked up his sixth rebound of the evening and career 500th rebound. Watkins is now only the second Penn State sophomore to ever record 500 rebounds.
Instead of losing gas in the final few minutes of the game, Penn State asserted their dominance during a 39-second stretch that came in the game’s 36th minute.
Stevens grabbed an offensive rebound and fed the ball to Watkins for a dunk. After Iowa’s Tyler Cook turned the ball over, Stevens then picked up his own dunk and close to 20 seconds later, picked up a second dunk off a steal to hand Penn State eight points in 39 seconds for a 77-52 lead.
As the final seconds of the second half dwindled down, Penn State was able to walk away with an 82-58 win over Iowa, sweeping the Hawkeyes for the first time ever in the regular season.
Watkins led four Nittany Lions in double figures, scoring 19 points while Stevens contributed 17, Carr scored 16 and Reaves finished with 11. Watkins also finished with a field goal percentage of 90 after going 9-10 on shooting, tying Penn State’s single game and the program’s Big Ten single-game record for field goal percentage.
“We’re just making progress as a team,” Carr said. “I just find that the only way from here is up for the team.”
The Nittany Lions will continue their Big Ten play on Wednesday as they host Maryland at the Bryce Jordan Center. Tip-off is set for 6:30 p.m.
Ellie French is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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