Penn State men earn 1st win in Iowa since 2001
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Penn State's underclassmen came through in their Big Ten opener, securing a key league road win a month ahead of schedule.
Iowa's kids are still learning how to play together.
Sophomore Lamar Stevens scored 22 points, fellow sophomore Mike Watkins added 19 and Penn State held off Iowa, 77-73, on Saturday, snapping a 12-game road losing streak against the Hawkeyes.
Tony Carr, also a second-year player, scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half for the Nittany Lions (7-2, 1-0), who never trailed in picking up their first win in Iowa City since 2001.
“It shows me we're taking small steps to becoming the team that I envision for this program,” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said. “We grew up and matured a little bit in this game.”
Penn State buried a season-high 12 3s on 23 attempts, including one from Carr that put it up 67-59 with just under five minutes left.
Iowa (4-4, 0-1) rallied, pulling within 69-67 on sophomore Tyler Cook's emphatic dunk and free throw with 1:11 left.
But the young Nittany Lions stepped up.
Stevens hit a contested jumper at the top of the key with 41 seconds left and the shot clock set to expire. Watkins then broke past Iowa's defense for an uncontested dunk and a 73-69 lead with 22 seconds to go.
Stevens' free throws with 4.3 seconds left pushed Penn State's lead back to four points.
Cook had 23 points and 12 rebounds for Iowa, which suffered its fourth loss in five games. The Hawkeyes turned it over 18 times.
“I thought our decision-making at times was really poor,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We just have to be better with our execution in a lot of ways.”