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Hawkeyes top Penn State, 82-70

BY RYAN PROBASCO | FEBRUARY 17, 2014 5:00 AM

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Despite the Black and Gold’s trailing Penn State at halftime, it never seemed as if the No. 16 Hawkeyes lost control in its 82-70 defeat of the Nittany Lions on Feb. 15.

The win was crucial for Iowa, as every conference road victory is; but it moved the Hawkeyes to 8-4 in the Big Ten. And losses by Michigan and Michigan State on Sunday mean Iowa is just one game back in the loss column of the Big Ten’s regular-season race.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Hawkeye head coach Fran McCaffery said in a release. “In the first half, I thought it came a little easy early. I didn’t think at that point our defense was where it needed to be against a quick, talented group of Penn State guards, D.J. Newbill and [Tim] Frazier in particular.”

Senior forward Melsahn Basabe was extremely impressive. The Glen Cove, N.Y., native’s 16 points (6-of-9 field goals), 8 rebounds, and 4 blocks were all team highs.

Sophomore point guard Mike Gesell also continued his stellar play, turning in a 13-point, 7-assist performance highlighted by four 3-pointers, which tied a career high.

“[Gesell] is a terrific shooter, and he is really feeling comfortable shooting the ball," McCaffery said. “Guys are looking for him.”

On a relatively poor shooting day (2-of-9 field goals), senior Devyn Marble continued his streak of being the only player to score in double digits in every Big Ten game.

With a few minutes remaining in the game, Iowa clung to a small, but comfortable lead. Penn State then decided that if Iowa was going to win, it would have to be from the free-throw line.

The Hawkeyes went 31-of-40 from the line in the game — the most they’ve taken and made in Big Ten play. And in the final 2:31, Iowa went 13-of-14 from the line, burying any chance Penn State had at winning.

On Tuesday, Iowa will aim for its fourth-straight road victory when it plays Indiana.

The Hoosiers have struggled at times this season, but with wins against both Michigan and Wisconsin, it’s clear Indiana has the talent to defeat more talented squads.

And if this season has taught us anything, no one is exempt from the upset scare.

“We’ll rest [Sunday],” McCaffery said. “It is a very difficult place to play at Indiana. We have had a road toughness about us that I’ve been impressed with. They will lock into the game plan, and we’ll be ready.”


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