It was a game they should have come away with a win, being the favorite and a much better team than Penn State. However, for the first time this year, Iowa suffered a defeat in a game where they were by far the better team. They had won every game they should have all year until tonight. It was a huge letdown in State College as they fell to the Nittany Lions 79-75.
Peter Jok and Jarrod Uthoff still got their points. Jok finished with 28 while Uthoff poured in 19. There was little offensive production anywhere else, unfortunately. 6 points was the next high by all of Nicholas Baer, Anthony Clemmons, Adam Woodbury, and Mike Gesell.
Adam Woodbury also collected 9 rebounds in the disappointing loss.
WHAT A BORING ENVIRONMENT
I've seen various environments at Big Ten venues throughout the season. This is by far the worst, even below the RAC at Rutgers. There was barely anyone there. It's a place that can make you go to sleep. I didn't realize how terrible an atmosphere for a basketball game could be. This was not good. It likely didn't help that the Nittany Lions are a struggling program and the game is mid-week and started at 6:30 local time.
COLD FROM THREE POINT LAND
It was kind of on display tonight how Iowa can be heavily reliant on the three-ball. That's nice when they're falling but there not always going to fall. This is a team that has guys with the ability to get to the rim. They had to do that to score tonight and that's probably a very good teaching moment for Fran McCaffery and his staff. They'll want their team not to become one-dimensional and use all facets of their game. This shows them that sometimes you need to do more offensively than pop behind the three-point line and chuck away.
Iowa had first place all alone to themselves. All they had to do was beat Minnesota and Penn State. The Hawkeyes played poorly but escaped Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday to squeak out a win over the Gophers. They weren't that lucky tonight. They fell to the Nittany Lions on the road with Big Ten title hopes on the line. They now come back down and are locked back up with the Terps and Hoosiers. They just had to take care of their own business against two inferior programs and weren't able to do so. That has to be disappointing for this squad.
MISSED FREE THROWS DOWN THE STRETCH
Not to beat a dead horse, but I did warn about this early on in the Big Ten season. I saw some glaring free throw misses that didn't throw those games away but I said that if it didn't improve, it could later on. This was one of those games where it may have played a role. It may have played a role in a few other games in the past month. There's many contributing factors to the struggles but this is certainly a major one. They missed four down the stretch against Penn State, including one from Uthoff. Iowa shot a ton more free throws than the Nittany Lions before they had to foul each possession in the final mintue and a half. They couldn't use that to their advantage.
TIME FOR A BREAK
Iowa looks like a team that is in need of some time off. They're still winning games but they aren't nearly as sharp or impressive and they look low on energy. There's a week until their next game and I think it would do them a lot of good to get some time away on the court and take some much needed rest. They need to get re-energized to finish off the last four games in hopes of an outright Big Ten Championship. It's time to heal up, get their legs underneat them, re-set, and focus on finishing 4-0.