#8 - Keegan’s Penn State Tip Drill
Look - this game sucked. This was the second game with the Nittany Lions in a span of 9 days, and we mostly saw the exact same game twice. Penn State made a TON of tough, off-balance shots to keep them close in Iowa City or, in this case, extend the lead in Happy Valley.
Penn State pushed the lead out to 6 in the final 1:11 off a jumper from Sam Sessions. Then Keegan came alive - a 3-pointer made the game 65-62. After a Penn State turnover, Patrick McCaffery scored a quick 2 to pull within 1. Iowa was forced to foul in the closing seconds. Penn State only made 1 of 2 free throws to lead 66-64. Iowa rushed down and Jordan Bohannon went for the win. The shot was short, but here’s our hero again:
I could not believe this play in real time. I don’t think I’ve seen an Iowa player do something like this, in that situation, in my life, and my memory of Iowa basketball goes back to 1990. I haven’t thought about my all-time favorite Iowa plays list in awhile, but the top of the list is increasingly Keegan-centric and this play would make the cut. It would’ve been near the top if Iowa won the game (it then was superseded by some monstrous Keegan stuff around the rim in later games; we’ll get to that later, as Keegan is going to feature prominently here). The game should have been over right there and he does...this?? When do you ever see this sort of thing happen? Keegan doesn’t give up on the play and does that. Good GOD what a year he had.
And yeah, the end of the game stunk. The refs missed a clear travel at the end of the first overtime, and of course Penn State made the shot to force a second overtime, and more tough shots went down, and Penn State won. It was the second time in 12 days Iowa had fallen victim to bad officiating. At the time, it felt like a damaging loss, just another terrible luck loss for the Hawks. The loss dropped Iowa to 4-6 in league play and had them firmly on the bubble. The Hawks were in that 10-11 range seeding-wise heading into Columbus. It wasn’t exactly a feel-good atmosphere in the fan base.
Then the game at Ohio State was postponed due to weather, Iowa reset, and we know what they did from that point until the NCAA Tournament.