White aids 'big time' in victory over Penn State


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Aaron White stood alone at the charity stripe for his 10th free-throw attempt of the night after an intentional foul with 1:14 to play and his team holding on to a 71-62 lead over Penn State.

The sophomore put up the shot and watched it bounce right back to him off the front end of the rim. It was one of the few things that went wrong for White on Thursday night.

The sophomore carried the Hawkeye offense with a career-high 27 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and a 10-for-11 effort from the free-throw line. He moved back to the wing against the Nittany Lions to make room for Melsahn Basabe in the starting lineup, and it let him run the floor more effectively, he said.

“It’s a little different running from the 3 spot, and I kind of like it,” White said. “You can get out on the wing and get out ahead of [the play]. Mike [Gesell] found me, Dev [Marble] found me a couple times. That really gets us going.”

White wasted little time in getting the Black and Gold running game going, and he brought the Hawkeyes back from an early 10-3 deficit with an individual 7-0 run. When the game got down to crunch time in the second half, he came through again. White scored 7 points in the final two minutes to put away Penn State for good.

White said the team didn’t come out with the mentality to put the game away early, and he was just trying to follow his coach’s orders when he went on his tear.

“Coach keeps saying we need to find someone who, when times get tough, we’ve got to be able to go to,” he said. “It was 8-1, and we all knew that we had to make something happen. The transition really got us going, and if that’s what helped, I tried to step up and got a few easy buckets.”

Nittany Lion head coach Pat Chambers said White played up to his reputation.

“They are playing him at the wing, they are playing him at the 3, at the 4; he can cover anybody on the floor,” Chambers said. “When they need a big shot, he hits a big shot; when they need a big rebound, he gets a big rebound, and he gets an extra possession for them. He’s relentless; he’s a big time player.”

White played 34 minutes on the night, which was more than Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said he initially intended him to see. But the sophomore was simply bringing too much effective energy to sit.

“We just felt like he was affecting the game at both ends, and we needed to leave him out there,” McCaffery said. “When we took him out, [it was] time to put him back in.”

But White didn’t play a perfect game. McCaffery said he wasn’t pleased when White missed an open Basabe under the basket to take a 3-pointer that missed the mark late in the game.

He also seemed to rely more on his jump shot, something he’d gone away from as of late. He hit a 3-pointer early in the first half and didn’t hesitate to take a couple more. It’s something he plans to continue.

“I try to tell you guys, I’m making them in practice,” White said with a grin. “I’m just going to start shooting [jumpers] with confidence.”

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