No. 16 Iowa rolls past Penn State
University Park, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Melsahn Basabe led the way with 16 points and eight rebounds as No. 16 Iowa used a strong second half to dispatch Penn State, 82-70, at Bryce Jordan Center.
Roy Devyn Marble posted 15 points, Aaron White added 14 with seven boards and Mike Gesell connected for 13 and seven assists for the Hawkeyes (19-6, 8-4 Big Ten), winners in three of their last four.
"I think that this was a game where you had to get a feel for it. When you play Penn State you know they're going to fight you, it is going to be physical and you got to learn how to fight through that physicality," said Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery. "In the first half I thought they were better at it than we were, that's is why they came back and was up by two at the end of the first half."
D.J. Newbill poured in a game-best 22 points for the Nittany Lions (13-13, 4-9), who have dropped three of four. John Johnson and Tim Frazier each totaled 11 in defeat.
Geno Thorpe's free throw with 13:03 to play was the last time Penn State held the lead, 44-42. Marble connected twice from the charity stripe to tie the game, Jarrod Uthoff added two more to put Iowa on top, and Marble struck from long distance for a 49-44 edge.
PSU closed within three twice on consecutive Newbill buckets, but the Hawkeyes gained separation both times thanks to a two-pointer from White and a triple by Gesell which made it 54-48 with 9:17 left.
White's layup with under seven minutes to go then provided a 10-point margin for the visitors. The hosts managed to get back to 60-55 on a Johnson layup with 4:06 to play, but two free throws by Marble and a trey from Gesell restored Iowa's double-digit edge just over a minute later.
Penn State's defense faltered from there, allowing Iowa's advantage to reach as high as 13 on four occasions in the final minutes.
"It is luxury to be able to reverse the ball and a lot of guys make different plays. They did a very good job with handling our pressure," stated PSU head coach Pat Chambers. "Obviously I am disappointed that we lost but that is a tough team to play against."
Gesell's first 3-pointer of the afternoon opened up an 11-4 lead for the Hawkeyes early on, and a Basabe bucket with under 5 1/2 minutes left in the half provided a 27-19 edge.
Iowa led 29-21 under a minute later, but the Nits ended on a 12-2 run and took a 33-31 edge to the break. Newbill scored six during the surge, including the first two shots of the burst and the final one.
Iowa has won 26 of the 39 lifetime meetings with Penn State, including 23 of 36 since the Nits joined the Big Ten in 1992 ... Gesell finished 4-of-5 from long range, but the Hawkeyes only converted 7-of-19 shots from distance ... Marble was good on 10-of-12 chances from the free-throw line ... Basabe also recorded a game-high four blocks.