Teams looking to bounce back from poor stretches in their previous game meet Saturday when Penn State visits Iowa in the Big Ten opener for each team. The Nittany Lions scored the first 11 points at North Carolina State on Wednesday before nearly falling behind by double digits later in the half, while the Hawkeyes took a tie into the break against Virginia Tech on Tuesday and were outscored 41-17 in the second half.
Tony Carr continued his impressive start to the 2017-18 season with 29 points as the Lions got within three late in the second half of the 85-78 defeat. “We need to show a little bit more discipline and we need some leadership to step up,” Penn State coach Pat Chambers said afterwards. “We have talented guys; we came in here and competed and got back in the game.” The Hawkeyes shot 51.7 percent in the first half but just 18.9 percent over the final 20 minutes, making 7-of-37 field goals, including 1-of-12 3-pointers. “We couldn’t make anything (in the second half). It affected our defense, which is disappointing,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “When you’re struggling on offense, you need to ratchet up your defense and get stops. We didn’t do that. You have to give credit to them.”
TV: 5 p.m. ET Big Ten Network
ABOUT PENN STATE (6-2): Sophomore forward Lamar Stevens, the Lions’ second-leading scorer and rebounder (14.4 points, 6.9 rebounds) recovered from a scoreless first half to finish with 13 points against the Wolfpack. Sophomore Mike Watkins, who had 17 points on a perfect 8-of-8 from the floor and 12 rebounds last season against the Hawkeyes, is averaging 10 points on 67.4 percent shooting, 7.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in 22 minutes per game. The lanky 6-4 Carr is quickly becoming one of the biggest stars in the Big Ten, averaging 21.3 points on 49.5 percent shooting with 4.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
ABOUT IOWA (4-3): Junior Nicholas Baer, who last season became just the fourth player in school history to the lead the team in both blocks (48) and steals (43) last season, scored five points and grabbed four rebounds in 22 minutes against the Hokies after missing the first six games with a hand injury. Sophomore Jordan Bohannon, who leads the team in scoring (14.1 points), assists (4.9) and 3-pointers (22), made all four of his 3-point field-goal attempts before halftime but was scoreless on 0-for-6 shooting from the field after the break. Sophomore Tyler Cook, a 6-9 junior is averaging 14.1 points on 59.3 percent shooting and 6.6 rebounds after tallying over 12.3 points and 5.3 boards as a rookie.
1. Iowa won the lone meeting between the teams last season 90-79 as Carr struggled with just six points on 2-of-13 shooting.
2. After shooting 2-of-14 beyond the arc in his first two games this season, Penn State senior G Shep Garner, one of the top 3-point shooters in school history, has drained 18-of-46 in the last six contests, including at least two in each game.
3. The Hawkeyes, led by Bohannon (48.9 percent) and Isaiah Moss (42.4), are one of the most accurate 3-point shooting squads in the country, hitting 40.3 percent while yielding just 32 percent.
PREDICTION: Penn State 76, Iowa 72