Jarrod Uthoff scored 14 points and blocked four shots, Adam Woodbury pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds, and the Iowa Hawkeyes mollywhopped Penn State 73-49 before a lethargic crowd at Carver Hawkeye Arena Wednesday night. Anthony Clemmons added 12 points and four assists for the Hawkeyes, who improve to 18-4 on the season and 9-1 in Big Ten play.
Iowa jumped out to a double-digit lead in the game's first seven minutes and were never seriously challenged again. Iowa struggled from the field, at least by their lofty standards, but looked like the Golden State Warriors in comparison to Penn State. The Nittany Lions shot just 30 percent from the field, including a Lickliter-esque 1 of 20 from behind the three-point arc. Throw in 10 Penn State turnovers and a 50 percent rate at the free throw line, and Pat Chambers' team managed just 0.73 points per possession. Nobody, not even Western Illinois, has performed that poorly against Iowa's defense this season. When Ahmad Wagner drove down the baseline and threw down a two-handed dunk, the game was effectively over.
That dunk came with 11 minutes left in the first half.
With the game never really in doubt, the already-sparse crowd for a 6 p.m. weekday start fizzled out. The television cameras caught every conversation and sneaker squeak, with the biggest cheers coming for a halftime dance routine performed by the Iowa Dance Team and members of the football team.
Most of Iowa's standard rotation did not see the floor in the final ten minutes, after Iowa had built a 25-point lead. The BTN, itself bored with what it was seeing, turned to a kid with an ice cream cone. It was, in short, the lowest-stress game of the season, played against a team that somehow knocked Iowa out of last year's Big Ten Tournament. Neither Iowa's lackluster shooting nor its 27-point second-half output mattered in the least.
The Hawkeyes travel to Illinois this weekend to face a team that, at the time of writing, is in its third overtime against Rutgers. From there, it's a crucial trip to Bloomington before another series of games against the conference's dregs. The Hawkeyes have survived the tough part. They should be favored significantly in every game left but one. But unlike Wednesday night, losing interest could have serious ramifications.