But the Hawkeyes answered back.
Trailing by one with just under two minutes to play, it was Erek Hansen that grabbed an offensive rebound and scored on the putback. He was also fouled on the play and made his free throw.
But Penn State battled back and took a 73-72 lead with under one minute remaining.
It was time for some senior leadership, and Greg Brunner was fouled with :49 seconds left and calming made both free throws to give the Hawkeyes the lead that they would not lose the rest of the way.
Iowa made six straight free throws down the stretch when the contest was still a one possession affair.
Adam Haluska scored a career high 29 points powered by six three-point shots, including five of them in the first half. He scored 21 of his points in the first stanza. Jeff Horner scored 17 points & dished out nine assists and Greg Brunner added 13; all of Brunner's points came in the second half as he was saddled with his second foul with just under 10 minutes in the first half. Brunner also tweaked an ankle in the first half that sent him to the bench for a spell.
Iowa's defense, an area that has led the way for them this year, was befuddled by Penn State's small and quick lineup. PSU played three and sometimes four guards during the game, with their post players being out of the mold of a Cortney Scott or an Alondo Tucker. Penn State outscored Iowa in the paint 26-24.
The 76 points scored by Penn State is the most points Iowa has surrendered all season. Iowa State was the only other opponent to have cracked the 70-point mark on the Hawkeyes when they scored 72 back in December. Still, Iowa limited Penn State to just .400 shooting from the floor.
Iowa made more than 49 percent of its shots in the contest, so this game was a turnaround from what Iowa's staples and deficiencies have been thus far.
Iowa made 11 of 28 three-point attempts on the say, nearly 40-perecnt. Jeff Horner was 4 of 10 from behind the line.
Iowa attempted more three-point shots than free throws (23). The Hawkeyes and Nittany Lions made 15 free throws, each.
Penn State enjoyed a five-rebound advantage on the game, including +5 on the offensive glass. Penn State was +14 on the offensive glass in their road win at Northwestern earlier this week.
Erek Hansen and Doug Thomas pulled down seven rebounds each, an area that was crucial with Brunner on the bench for so many minutes in the first half. Hansen scored seven points and had six blocks. Thomas added four points to go along with two blocks.
NOTES: The crowd was into this game as it was their first home conference game and the Penn State football team was honored at halftime for their Big Ten and Orange Bowl Championships, something that brought more fans to the arena than would normally have been there…Tony Freeman appeared to have injured his ankle late in the game. He was helped off the court and did not return…since coming back from his injury, Jeff Horner is 11-31 (.354) from beyond the arc. He was just 11-51 (.294) prior to injuring his knee against Northern Iowa...Iowa committed 12 turnovers on the road, compared to Penn State's nine.