Iowa

No. 21 Penn State beats No. 23 Iowa at packed Palestra

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USA Today Images/Bill Streicher

No. 21 Penn State beats No. 23 Iowa at packed Palestra

BOX SCORE

Izaiah Brockington scored 23 points to lead No. 21 Penn State to its fifth straight win, 89-86 over No. 23 Iowa on Saturday at the Palestra.

Luka Garza scored 34 points for the Hawkeyes (10-4, 1-2 Big Ten), but he missed three crucial free throws down the stretch that helped the Nittany Lions win in front of a raucous home crowd on Philly's most famous court. Garza, who scored 44 points last month at Michigan, scored 12 straight points in one stretch in the first half but missed two foul shots with 3:21 left in the game and Iowa clinging to a two-point lead.

Curtis Jones put Penn State in front with a 3-pointer that rocked the building. Garza went 1 of 2 from the line to even the score at 79-all, but Mike Watkins delivered for PSU with a go-ahead dunk. Penn State forced a turnover and Lamar Stevens sealed it with a late layup.

Stevens and Myreon Jones each scored 16 points for the Nittany Lions (12-2, 2-1).

Penn State coach Pat Chambers might finally have a team he can take to the NCAA Tournament in his ninth season.

Penn State might want to petition to play all its Big Ten games at the Palestra. The Nittany Lions got the best of Iowa and coach Fran McCaffery, a former Penn standout who played home games at the Palestra.

Penn State barely averaged an announced attendance of 10,000 fans last season at its on-campus arena, the Bryce Jordan Center. But 193 miles down the road at the Palestra, the heart of Philly hoops, the steamy gym was packed. Tickets on the secondary market were going for $150 a seat in the corners - or, "Corners! as its known when the Palestra is sold out -- and fans arrived early to walk the concourse that serves as much as a hall of fame as it does a stop for a $4 hot dog.

Walk past the pictures of Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain in their high school uniforms, and there's a photo of McCaffery in his No. 23 Penn jersey. The caption read, "Fran McCafferty, 1979-82, was integral in three Ivy League Championship titles for the Quakers." McCaffery walked in the same concourse doors Saturday as fans and fist-bumped a row of black-and-gold wearing supporters. Yes, even an Ivy League school can't ace spelling -- there's no T in McCaffery -- and McCaffery left with another unwanted letter: an L.

Penn State alumni roared "We Are!" from the opening tip and the Palestra decibel meter hit 11 when the Nittany Lions seemed poised to break the game open. Seth Lundy and Myles Dread hit 3s, Stevens turned a steal into a fast-break layup and another Penn State steal ended with a Stevens dunk and a 35-27 lead. Iowa collected itself and Dread's jumper to end the half gave the Hawkeyes a 39-38 lead.

Stevens sparked the idea of PSU making a return trip to Palestra. A graduate of Philadelphia's Roman Catholic High School, Stevens badgered Chambers about playing a game at the Palestra before his career ended. He surely could not have imagined a showdown between two nationally ranked teams going basket-for-basket in front of a packed house once Iowa agreed to play in Philly.

Big picture

Iowa: The Hawkeyes can only hope this kind of loss won't cost them an NCAA Tournament bid.

Penn State: Penn State played its first game as a ranked team against a ranked team for the first time since 1996. Chambers found little success over his first eight seasons, and has failed to lead the program to the NCAA Tournament. But powered by a deep, veteran roster, the Nittany Lions cracked the Top 25 this season for the first time since March 1996.

Up next

Iowa plays Tuesday at Nebraska.

Penn State plays Tuesday at Rutgers.

Penn State cruises past Iowa

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USA Today Images

Penn State cruises past Iowa

BOX SCORE

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Mike Watkins scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season and Penn State beat Iowa 82-58 on Saturday.

Lamar Stevens added 17 points and Tony Carr 16 for the Nittany Lions (16-9, 6-6 Big Ten Conference), who've won three of their last four.

Tyler Cook led Iowa (12-13, 3-9) with 19 points and Luka Garza had 13 for the Hawkeyes, who have dropped seven of their last 10.

Penn State seized control early when a dunk from Watkins with 12:39 left in the first half turned a 14-all tie into a 33-14 run. Carr fueled it with 12 points while Watkins had eight during the stretch to give Penn State a 47-28 halftime lead.

Shep Garner hit his third 3-pointer to open the second half and Iowa trailed by as many as 25 and got no closer than 14 the rest of the way.

Big Picture
Iowa: The Hawkeyes' continue to struggle on the road where they're 1-7 overall. That includes a 1-5 mark in enemy Big Ten arenas where the Hawkeyes have fallen by double figures each time. They'll play three of their final six on the road.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions had been in a similar position numerous times this season where seemingly comfortable second-half leads slipped away and turned into losses. It's happened at home and on the road, recently when the Nittany Lions led No. 5 Michigan State by 12 with 15:23 left. If Penn State can continue to finish teams like they did Iowa, the program's best Big Ten finish in coach Patrick Chambers' seven years should be easily attainable with six games left.

Up Next
Iowa hosts No. 5 Michigan State on Tuesday.

Maryland visits Penn State on Wednesday.

No. 4 Penn State at Iowa: Pair of unbeaten teams meet in Big Ten opener

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CSN

No. 4 Penn State at Iowa: Pair of unbeaten teams meet in Big Ten opener

No. 4 Penn State (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at Iowa (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) 
Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, Iowa
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC

Scouting Penn State
The fourth-ranked Nittany Lions (3-0) drubbed Georgia State, 56-0, last week, as Trace McSorley threw four touchdown passes and Saquon Barkley accumulated 226 all-purpose yards, 85 coming when he turned a short pass into a spectacular first-quarter touchdown. Barkley is second in the FBS in all-purpose yards per game (218.3), while McSorley is 10th in passing efficiency, having clicked on 67.1 percent of his throws, for 753 yards and nine touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice. The defense registered five takeaways last week, including three interceptions, and its six picks to date have all been by defensive backs. The secondary had six thefts all last season.

Scouting Iowa
The Hawkeyes (3-0) outlasted North Texas, 31-14, last week, as Nate Stanley threw for 197 yards and two touchdowns and freshman Ivory Kelly-Martin ran 11 times for 74 yards and two scores. Kelly-Martin and fellow freshman Toren Young saw extensive duty after Iowa’s top two tailbacks, Akrum Wadley and James Butler, were knocked out of the game with ankle and elbow injuries, respectively. Wadley, who is third in the Big Ten in all-purpose yards per game (170.0), is expected to play, but Butler is not. The defense is led by linebacker Josey Jewell, who is fifth in the conference in tackles, with 28. He also has a pair of sacks.

History
PSU leads the all-time series, 14-12, and won last year’s meeting, 41-14.

Storyline to watch
Lions coach James Franklin has expressed concern about his team’s play along both lines — how Penn State has neither run the ball consistently nor stopped the run as well as he might like. Those things are particularly critical in a conference like the Big Ten, which has always defined itself by its smash-mouth tendencies.

What's at stake?
This is Penn State’s first milepost in a season of great expectations — a road game against a tricky opponent. And certainly the Hawkeyes are eager to atone for last year’s poor performance against the Lions.

Prediction
Penn State 35, Iowa 31