All the negativity the last few weeks about the Hawkeye basketball team was evident on Saturday afternoon. The Hawks Nest had several empty seats due to the January slide of the Iowa basketball team. However, the fans in attendance were treated with a much better performance by the Hawks.
The week off seemed to help the Iowa basketball team. Fresh legs and spirit seemed evident as the Hawks whacked the Nittany Lions. After Penn State jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, many fans were groaning that the January swoon would continue into a February falter. However, a 15-0 run in the first half propelled the Hawks into a home victory on Saturday afternoon.
Luke Recker started the run after receiving a fine inside feed from Sean Sonderleiter. Recker scored nine of Iowa's fifteen points in the rally that put them up for good. Luke added a basket late in the first half that gave Iowa a 32-15 lead, capping a 30-7 scoring run fot the Hawks.
Ryan Hogan continued his fine play by coming off the bench to contibute fifteen points.Hogan went 5-for-7 from the field, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range as Iowa shot 52 percent.
Reggie Evans got back his pair of deuces as he had 18 points and 13 rebounds. Reggie's inside presence keyed a 48-24 advantage Iowa had on the boards.
Alhough the NCAA tournament and this Iowa basketball team would not have been used in the same sentence in the last week, the talk re-opened on Saturday. "I've thought about the NCAA Tournament, I'm not going to lie to you", Iowa guard Luke Recker said after Saturday's 81-64 victory against Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. "We really haven't talked a lot about it as a team. We've just talked about having a great February."
Although February is off to a positive start, Tuesday is looming large in everybody's mind. Steve Alford and Luke Recker go "Back Home in Indiana" to a hostile environment at Assembly Hall in Bloomington. Steve and Luke both want to repay Mike Davis and the Hoosiers for an embarrassing loss at Iowa City in January.
Certainly the Hawks will be keyed up for that game as they try to redeem themselves and save this season.