Unranked Penn State got off to a hot start and held off a late surge by No. 4 Iowa to upset the Hawkeyes 79-75 at the Bryce Jordan Center earlier tonight. Senior Donovan Jack, who entered the game averaging 3.9 points over 12.6 minutes per game on the season, hit 8 of 9 shots and three three-pointers to lead the Nittany Lions with 19 points, while Brandon Taylor and Shep Garner each chipped in 18 points.
In terms of why Penn State won, it was simply luck and strong defense. The Nittany Lions were shooting above 50 percent from three-point range at halftime and the same could not be said for Iowa, who saw team leader Jarrod Uthoff shut down early despite his finishing with 19 points. Iowa shot just 41 percent from the field on the game and made a third of its attempts from long range. Due to Uthoff’s struggles, junior Peter Jok led with 28 points.
Penn State, on the other hand, just couldn’t miss. The Nittany Lions came back down to earth after leading 38-31 at halftime and were outscored 44-41 in the second half, but the damage had been done. Perfectly timed blocked shots and steals propelled Penn State to victory, leaving Iowa stunned with such a bad Big Ten loss late in the season.
Penn State (13-13, 4-9 Big Ten) next faces lowly Rutgers in Piscataway this weekend, while Iowa (20-6, 11-3 Big Ten) has a week to prepare for a visit from Wisconsin.