Feb. 14, 2013
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Junior Roy Devyn Marble's 22 point performance helped the University of Iowa men's basketball hold off a feisty Penn State charge, as the Hawkeyes downed the Nittany Lions, 74-72, on Thursday night in the Bryce Jordan Center. It was Iowa's first win in Happy Valley since 2006.
"We knew this wasn't going to be easy," said Marble. "They were sticking with us, and we just had to keep fighting. I told the guys we had to grind this out. We didn't want to go home with that bad taste like we did the last 3-4 games on the road. We just dug in."
Iowa appeared to be pulling away midway through the second half, using an 11-0 run to build a 61-49 lead. Freshman Anthony Clemmons' 3-pointer opened the run, a 3-ball from senior Eric May made the score 60-49 and a free throw by Aaron White following a Penn State intentional foul made the score 61-49 with 10:36 to play.
The Nittany Lions, who are winless in the Big Ten, didn't blink, as it answered with a 10-1 run, cutting the deficit to 62-59 with 6:29 remaining. The Hawkeyes pushed the lead to seven points on two May free throws and a Marble jumper, but Penn State kept coming.
"When they start hitting some perimeter shots, they're a tough team," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "They're going to battle you. I thought our rebounding was critical and our play down the stretch was critical."
A Brandon Taylor 3-pointer made it a two-point (66-64) game with four minutes remaining, but Marble followed with four straight points courtesy of a dunk and two free throws to give Iowa a 70-64 lead. A three-point play by Sasa Borovnjak made it a one possession game (70-67), and Jermaine Marshall's free throw made the score 70-68 with 1:13 left.
"They kept making shots and were coming at us," said Marble.
With 35 seconds remaining, D.J. Newbill, who led the Nittany Lions with 26 points on 11-of-20 shooting, had a wide open look from 3-point range to give Penn State the lead, but it bounced off the back iron. After White missed the front end of a one-on-one, Penn State had another opportunity, but junior Melsahn Basabe swatted Jermaine Marshall's attempt, which forced the Nittany Lions to foul.
Iowa made 4-of-6 free throws in the final 20 seconds to close out its second straight win and improve to 16-9 overall and 5-7 in Big Ten action.
Marble made 6-of-12 field goals and was 9-of-11 from the charity stripe en route to his 22-point output -- his second straight 20-point game. Freshman Mike Gesell scored 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while Basabe scored 11 points, making 4-of-8 field goal attempts. Freshman Adam Woodbury grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
Iowa shot 44.4 percent (24-of-54) from the floor and 28.6 percent (6-of-21) from 3-point range, while Penn State made 27-of-61 attempts (44.3 percent) and 8-of-17 (47.1) from long range. Iowa gained a 10-point advantage in free throws, making 20-of-26, while Penn State was 10-of-15. The Hawkeyes also dominated the action on the glass, 40-29.
The Hawkeyes got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 17-7 lead over the first seven minutes, but Penn State had an answer. The Nittany Lions reeled off 16 unanswered points to grab a 23-17 lead at the 9:16 mark.
Sophomore Josh Oglesby ended the Penn State spurt with a jumper at the 8:58 mark, and it jump-started an 8-0 run, giving the Hawkeyes a 28-23 advantage. After Penn State battled back to take a 34-32 lead on a Newbill jumper, Iowa scored the final six points of the half, courtesy of a three-point play by Marble and a 3-pointer by White at the buzzer, giving the Hawkeyes a 38-34 lead.
"It's a huge play," said McCaffery of White's 3. "They had the opportunity to take great momentum into the locker room, but we bang a 3 at the buzzer, and it changes everything."
Iowa shot 43.8 (14-of-32) from the floor over the first 20 minutes, while Penn State was 14-of-31 (45.2 percent). The Hawkeyes had a 24-11 rebounding advantage, but the Nittany Lions committed just two first half turnovers.
Iowa returns to action Sunday, hosting Minnesota at 1 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"We're taking it one game at a time," said Marble. "We have Minnesota coming up, but we're going to prepare the rest of the week and get after them on Sunday."