STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Iowa finally won a tight Big Ten road game Thursday, and this one went down to the final second.
The Hawkeye men escaped Big Ten cellar dweller Penn State 74-72 at the Bryce Jordan Center. Iowa wasn’t able to breathe a sigh of relief until Devyn Marble made the first of two free throws with a second hanging on the clock. Marble intentionally missed the second, and Penn State could manage only a desperate full-court heave.
Iowa improved to 5-7 in Big Ten play and 16-9 overall. The Hawkeyes had lost their previous three league road games in overtime at Purdue, at Minnesota by three and at Wisconsin in double overtime.
“We’ve had a number of tough games that we didn’t close,” coach Fran McCaffery said. “We didn’t play perfect. But we made enough stops to beat a team that is going to fight youlike no other team.”
Iowa snapped a five-game skid at the Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State fell to 0-12 in the Big Ten and 8-16 overall.
“They made winning plays, timely plays,” Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. “That’s what we need to do.”
Marble led the Hawkeyes with 22 points, including two free throws with 20.7 seconds to play that gave Iowa a cushion it needed.
“This was good for our confidence, winning a close game,” Marble said. “You’ve got to be able to close games out.”
Marble, who broke out of a slump with 21 points against Northwestern, backed it up on Thursday.
“It was only a matter of time,” McCaffery said. “I kept going to him down the stretch.”
Mike Gesell added 13 points and Melsahn Basabe had 11 to go with six rebounds and four blocks. One of those blocks, on a drive by Jermaine Marshall with under 30 seconds to play, preserved Iowa’s two-point lead that Marble doubled with his two free throws at the other end of the floor.
“I knew I had to protect the basket,” Basabe said.
Iowa jumped to a 17-7 lead in the game’s first 7 minutes. But back-to-back 3-pointers by D.J. Newbill and Jermaine Marshall started Penn State, the Big Ten’s most offensively challenged team, on a 16-0 run. It took the Nittany Lions, averaging just 54.8 points a game, 2:17 to score 16.
The Hawkeyes countered with an 11-0 run to regain the lead at 28-23. Newbill, who scored 16 points in the first half, gave the Nittany Lions a 34-32 edge with 50 seconds left. But Marble’s conventional three-point play and Aaron White’s 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer gave Iowa a 38-34 halftime lead.
Iowa had seven first-half turnovers, many of them careless miscues, but had a 24-11 rebounding edge. Penn State had just two first-half turnovers. The Nittany Lions had four first-half 3-pointers, more than they’ve made in six different Big Ten games this season.
When Penn State’s Sasa Borovnjak was called for an intentional foul as White attempted to score, White made one of two free throws with 10:36 on the clock to give Iowa a 61-49 lead. Iowa got possession, too, but Josh Oglesby missed a wide-open look at a 3-point shot from the right wing. Penn State responded with a 10-1 run, cutting the deficit to 62-59 with 6:29 to go.
The Lions had a chance to take the lead or tie the game in the final minute. But Newbill missed a 3-point attempt with his team down 70-68. On the next possession, Marshall’s drive to the basket was blocked by Basabe.
Marble gave Iowa a 72-68 lead with 20.7 to go by making two free throws. Newbill got Penn State within 72-70 when he put back his own miss at the 4.5-seond mark. Basabe was fouled before any time went off the clock. Basabe made the first, but missed the second that would have clinched it.
Marble fouled Marshall, on McCaffery’s orders, as he tried to get a shot off with 1.5 to go. Marshall made both, even though he tried to miss the second. Marble was fouled on the in-bounds pass and sealed the deal by making the first.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball