The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Hawks wary of Penn State ‘trap’

The Daily Iowan
Iowa center Adam Woodbury walks off the court after the game against Augustana in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. The Vikings defeated the Hawkeyes, 76-74. (The Daily Iowan/Joshua Housing)

The Iowa men’s basketball team blew out Penn State at home in the teams’ first matchup of the season.
The second matchup, at 5:30 p.m. today in Happy Valley, comes on the heels of the Hawks’ surprisingly close game against Minnesota.

On paper, the No. 4 Hawkeyes, at 20-5 on the year, 11-2 in the Big Ten, should run the Nittany Lions out of their own gym. However, the Hawkeyes seem to be playing a bit sluggishly recently, and tonight has a classic “trap game” feel to it.

Penn State beat Indiana — one of two Big Ten teams to beat the Hawkeyes this season — 70-64 in University Park on Feb. 6.

While the marquee wins don’t come often for Penn State in the Bryce Jordan Center, but when they do, they make a splash.

“I think they’re going to be ready for us, and we’re going to be ready for them,” senior Anthony Clemmons said.

Clemmons said he couldn’t explain why he and his teammates find Penn State a hard place to play, just that it is.

Head coach Fran McCaffery, however, said it’s obvious a team will play better at home.

“I’d be surprised if the numbers were any different. The home team wins 75 percent of the time across the board.” he said. “Teams shoot it better. You play with a little more confidence. You play a little bit better defense.”

Whatever the reason for Penn State’s relative success at home, the Hawkeye do have a win over the Nittany Lions.

Senior Jarrod Uthoff led the Hawkeyes with 15 points in their 73-49 rout of Penn State on Feb. 3. Clemmons and junior Peter Jok each added 12.

But the Nittany Lions also bounced the Hawkeyes from the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago as the No. 13 seed a season ago, so no one is looking past Penn State.

“I don’t know to be honest; part of it is the way they play,” senior Mike Gesell said.

Dom Uhl, Nicholas Baer, and Ahmad Wagner each had 8 points, although the bench saw extended minutes in the second half. The Hawkeyes never trailed, and Penn State missed 19 of 20 3-point attempts.

McCaffery quickly dismissed the Nittany Lion’s poor shooting as a fluke.

“They had some open looks for them that didn’t go in … They’re not a team that’s going to go 1 for 20 again,” he said. “It’s just one of those nights, and you hope it doesn’t happen to you.”

Still, Penn State seems to have more of those nights than most; the Nittany Lions are just 12-13 on the year, 3-9 in the Big Ten. The three wins are over Minnesota, Northwestern, and Indiana.

But the Hawkeyes were quick to point out the record is a non-issue and not something they are keen to look at. Especially in the Big Ten.

More to Discover