Nittany Lions' Slide Continues

Battle's 31 points not enough as Penn State remains winless in the Big Ten following a tight loss at Iowa.

Talor Battle did his part in trying to rally Penn State past Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Saturday afternoon.

The Nittany Lion junior guard went off for a game-high 31 points, including PSU's final 15, but he once again got little help from his teammates down the stretch as Penn State fell to the Hawkeyes, 67-64.

The Lions dipped to 8-9 overall with their fifth consecutive loss, extending the program's longest losing streak since dropping six straight in 2008. More troubling is that Penn State is now 0-5 in the Big Ten and in sole possession of last place in the conference standings.

Iowa, which had been winless in the league, improved to 7-11 and 1-4.

Battle did his best to help get the Nittany Lions into the Big Ten win column, but he couldn't do it alone. The only other PSU player in doubles was forward David Jackson, and he scored only two of his 10 points in the game's final 10 minutes.

Trailing 22-11 with 7:25 left in the first half, Iowa closed the period with a 20-6 run to take a 31-28 lead into the locker room. It was more of the same early in the second half, as the Hawkeye lead reached a dozen (47-35) when Devan Bawinkel made a 3-pointer with 12:23 remaining.

But then Battle took over. He broke a long dry spell for the Lions when he was fouled on a 3-point try and made all three free throws. Penn State slowly but surely climbed back in, and it was 53-49 when Jeff Brooks made one of two free throws with 7:07 left.

And that was the last time a PSU player other than Battle would score.

Down 59-51 with 3:03 to go, Battle made two free throws. Then Hawkeye Cully Payne missed the front end of a one-and-one and Battle countered with a layup to make it 59-54.

Later, an Eric May free throw made it 60-54 in favor of Iowa, and again Battle responded with a hard drive on which he was fouled. He made both free throws and the lead was 60-56 with 1:49 left.

May missed a 3-pointer but PSU center Andrew Jones was whistled for pushing Aaron Fuller in the paint. Fuller made one of two free throws. The Lions were down 61-58 when Battle scored on another drive to make it 61-60.

There were 21 seconds remaining. Cammeron Woodyard quickly fouled Payne, who made two free throws this time to make it 63-60 with 19 seconds to go. Battle made two more layups in the final nine seconds, but Matt Gatens responded with a pair of free throws each time, as the Hawkeyes squeaked out the win.

Penn State's best chance to tie came with three seconds to go and trailing 65-62. Iowa fouled Tim Frazier to prevent the Lions from attempting a 3-point shot. That meant Frazier had to make the first and miss the second on purpose, hoping a teammate would gather in the rebound and score.

Instead, he bricked the first. Then, he tried to fling the second hard off the rim but missed it entirely. The ball was blown dead and Iowa given possession.

Fuller led Iowa with 20 points and manhandled the PSU post players, making 6 of 9 shots and grabbing seven offensive rebounds. Gatens added 14 for Iowa.

Penn State's retooled starting line, which worked well in a tight loss at Illinois Tuesday, was not nearly as effective this time around. Guard Chris Babb was 0-6 from the floor and played poor defense until he was pulled. He played 14 minutes overall and spent most of the second half on the bench.

Frazier did some good things defensively but was 1 of 4 from the field. Center Andrew Ott was limited to seven minutes and three points due to early foul trouble.

Coming off the bench for the second straight game, Jeff Brooks was the only Lion other than Battle or Jackson to score more than one bucket. He was 3 of 5 from the field for nine points and four rebounds. But he also had three of Penn State's eight turnovers.

Battle, meanwhile, was 9 of 18 from the floor and 11 of 13 from the line while grabbing a team-high seven rebounds. He was 4 of 6 from the floor in the final eight minutes.

SHORT SHOTS

• The 0-5 start to conference play matches the second worst for the Lions. They began 0-10 in 2003, which was Jerry Dunn's last season. They were also 0-5 in 1997.

• Penn State is now off until next Thursday, when it faces Indiana at the Jordan Center.

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