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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Iowa-Penn State Recap

Penn State 65 Iowa 64

Box Score

The Iowa Hawkeyes dropped a heartbreaker on the road last night to Penn State 65-64. The Hawkeyes had the game in hand and a 64-57 lead with 2:40 left to play, but saw the Nittany Lions finish on an 8-0 run to take the victory. With the win, Penn State improved to 5-10 in Big Ten play and moved ahead of Iowa (5-11) in the standings for the time being.

Penn State’s David Jackson converted on an old fashioned three-point play with 18 seconds left in the game to give the Lions a one-point lead and the eventual win. Iowa called a timeout with 9.4 seconds to set up the final play of Tony Freeman driving the lane, drawing contact, but missed the left-handed layup. Jake Kelly and Seth Gorney each had a tip at the ball but could not connect and eventually saw the ball bounce out of bounds with 1.2 seconds remaining. The last three-point attempt was stripped from the hands of Justin Johnson which gave Penn State the win, their third straight at home.

Both teams played a very efficient offensive game averaging 1.14 points per possession each. Iowa shot very well on the evening making 23 of 40 shots for 58% and a remarkable 55% (12-22) of their three-pointers. However, turnovers were once again a major problem for the Hawkeye offense. Iowa turned the ball over 17 times (30.2% of their possessions) compared to only 10 turnovers for Penn State (17.5% of their possessions). Couple that with a 8-4 offensive rebounding advantage for the Lions, and that would explain why Penn State took seven more shots (22-47 FG) than Iowa and 10 more free throws (14-17 FT).

The Hawkeyes were led in scoring by Freshman Jake Kelly who poured in 17 points, his 2nd highest total on the season. Tony Freeman finished with 14 points on 5 of 14 shooting and Justin Johnson had 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting, all from three-point range. Cyrus Tate was the only other Hawkeye in double-digits and fouled out with 11 points and 2 rebounds in only 19 minutes played.

Penn State was led by forward Jamelle Cornley who scored 22 points, pulled down 7 rebounds, and had his way inside all night long. Cornley took advantage of his matchup with Seth Gorney as he faced up and abused Gorney for most the game. Gorney played his least effective game of the season and did not take a single shot in his 39 minutes on the floor.

Iowa will try to bounce back from this very tough loss on Saturday night in this year’s home finale against rival Illinois. The Illini come to Carver with a 11-17 overall record and are only 3-12 in Big Ten play this year. The Hawkeyes will then wrap up the regular season next Wednesday at Northwestern.