It doesn’t matter that Iowa gave up 82 points to the lowest-scoring team in the Big Ten. All that matters is that the Hawkeyes went to Penn State and pulled out an 89-82 win on the road to bring their record to 15-3 on the year and a 4-3 conference record.
With a limited roster once again, Nick Baer was once again in the starting lineup in the absence of Tyler Cook. And boy, did the Hawkeyes need every contribution they got. Luka Garza led all scorers with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan Bohannon was back in form with 19 points, including a 5-8 performance from deep. Isaiah Moss was crucial in erasing the first half deficit and finished the night with 12 points on 4-4 shots from deep, and Ryan Kriener added 19 off the bench. No other Hawkeye scored in double figures.
Let’s see how we got there, shall we?
Penn State started the game off on a quick 8-0 run that made Iowa call a timeout with 18;45 remaining in the half. The defensive intensity that we all saw in the second half was gone, replaced with a defense that gave up easy transition shots from deep. Bohannon responded on the ensuing possession with a 3 pointer of his own that quieted the crowd. But Penn State once again responded by placing a fast-paced offense and opened up an 11-3 lead, including 9 of those from Myles Dread. The Hawkeyes just couldn’t catch an early break, getting blocked in the paint and having good shots rim out.
This resulted in Iowa trying to cut the deficit quickly by taking long shots early in the shot clock that they couldn’t rebound. Isaiah Moss ended the small scoring drought that ensued for both teams and soon it was 11-6 with 14:30 remaining. Iowa stepped up its defense on the next possession but immediately turned the ball over, which resulted in another Nittany Lion three.
Finally the Hawkeyes got the ball to Luka Garza beneath the basket who posted up for a basket, but Penn State responded once again; the Hawkeyes couldn’t cut the deficit. Maishe Dailey then got himself into the scoring column for the first time in what felt like forever with a three pointer of his own, and Ryan Kriener joined the 3-pointer club as well.
Suddenly, the lead was only 16-14, until Bohannon hit a transition 3 to give the Hawkeyes a 17-16 that caused the Nittany Lions to call a timeout with 11:13 remaining in the half. The sharpshooting had switched teams.
Kriener from deep once again tied things up with 8:59, before Moss brought the lead back to 3, and immediately responded with another mere seconds later, bringing Iowa its largest lead of the game at 26-20, and Out of the timeout he did it again, capping a 12-0 run for Iowa.
But Penn State quickly got the deficit down to 31-28. The teams battled back and forth for the rest of the half from there, until the Nittany Lions took back the lead with 2 minutes remaining. Soon Penn State had a 41-38 lead with 1:00 left in the half, and Iowa entered the half down 45-40.
Penn State started the second half scoring before Garza tipped in a rebound to cut the deficit to 3. Wieskamp tied things up thanks to a three point play, and followed it up on the next possession with another one. In less than three minutes, Iowa had regained the lead at 50-49.
Garza started to come alive, but got called for a technical for yelling at the referees and the Nittany Lions converted both freebies, before following it with another shot from deep. From there, the Hawkeyes tried to play catch up with the Nittany Lions. It felt like the beginning of the game all over again, with Penn State responding any time Iowa cut into the lead. Penn State jumped out to a 68-60 lead with just under 11 left in the game before Bohannon cut into the lead with a 3. Garza cut the lead down to three with some beautiful post moves and footwork, and followed it up with a rebound on the other end of the floor.
Bohannon found Kriener under the basket, who was able to float in a basket while getting fouled, but he missed at the charity stripe. Soon it was all tied up at 72 with 6:15 remaining thanks to a tenacious will to get to the rim from Garza. Wieskamp coming alive in the second half again gave the Hawkeyes a lead once again with 5:45 remaining, and Penn State turned the ball over the next possession.
Another Bohannon 3 suddenly gave Iowa a 77-72 lead, and Connor McCaffery got into the scoring column to make it a 10-0 run before the Nittany Lions responded with a 3. Suddenly, it was a four-point game once again. And then, the lead was one thanks to another three-pointer. Bohannon tried another three, it didn’t go, and Penn State went coast-to-coast to bring their run to 8-0 and retake an 80-79 lead with 3:04 remaining. And yet, Iowa responded with another basket from a double-teamed Garza.
Everything was tied up at 82 with 1:40 remaining in the game, and Garza was fouled again, sending him to the line since the Hawkeyes were in the Bonus+. He went 1-1 from the line. Penn State was sent to the foul line, where they missed both, and on the ensuing Iowa possession, the Hawkeyes missed a shot before Wieskamp managed to get a rebound. With under 50 seconds remaining, Bohannon launched a prayer from near half-court, which his swished, giving the Hawkeyes an 86-82 lead.
Penn State couldn’t manage to get anything going, and Iowa somehow, someway, earned another gritty road win without Cook, holding Penn State scoreless for the last two minutes. of the game.
So are we ready to call Garza and Wieskamp Iowa’s new second half clutch scorers? I am.
I feel pretty confident saying that this is not a game that Iowa would have won last season. This team really showed some heart in this game, and there were a lot of times I thought there was no way they would win.
And yet here we are. Another conference win. A second-straight road win. Multiple comebacks from down 8 or 10. But Iowa won. Without Tyler Cook. I still don’t know what to think about this team, as the wins keep racking up, the more likely an appearance in the NCAA Tournament seems possible — if not likely,