STATE COLLEGE – Penn State’s (7-12, 4-11 Big Ten) losing streak extended to four games on Sunday as No. 11 Iowa (17-6, 11-5 Big Ten) earned a 74-68 home win against the Nittany Lions at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Iowa’s is now 19-4 all-time against Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena and won its 14th contest in 15 attempts against the Nittany Lions.
Iowa built an 11-point lead in the first half before Penn State surged ahead to a 41-36 lead at halftime. The Nittany Lions extended that lead to seven points early in the second half before an all-too-common shooting lull allowed the Hawkeyes to regain the lead.
The Hawkeyes allowed just two Penn State field goals during the last 12:16 of the game.
“Obviously, we had a stretch where we went seven minutes without scoring and in a really tight game on the road against the No. 10 (11) team in the country, you just can’t do that,” Penn State interim coach Jim Ferry said. “I thought we had some pretty good looks at the basket. I’m proud of our guys’ effort.”
Myreon Jones and Izaiah Brockington led the Nittany Lions with 11 points apiece. Brockington also contributed a team-high seven rebounds. Myles Dread added 10 points.
Penn State shot 35.5% (22 of 62) from the floor.
The Nittany Lions forced a season-high 16 turnovers for the Hawkeyes of which they turned into 13 points.
Garza sets Iowa record
Iowa center Luka Garza during the second half snapped a 32-year school record to become the Hawkeyes’ all-time leading scorer (2,126 points). Garza surpassed former Iowa star Roy Marble on the school's all-time scoring list.
The 6-foot-11, 265-pound Washington, D.C., native tallied a game-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds and two assists on Sunday.
Despite etching a new school record for scoring, Garza said he received more joy in earning the team win and extending the Hawkeyes’ win streak to four games.
“It wouldn’t have felt the same, it felt good to get a win, continue this streak, and have that as a bonus at the end,” Garza said. “It wouldn’t have felt right without a win. That’s why the whole game I was locked in, trying to do what I could to help the team win.”
Garza’s Big Ten-best 24.7 points per game spearheads an Iowa offense that also paces the conference in points per game with 86.4. The Hawkeyes have recorded 1,987 points this season, which is 181 more points than second-place Ohio State (1,806). Both squads have played 23 games apiece.
“He’s an amazingly gifted athlete on so many different levels,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey said of Garza. “It’s great to see the recognition he got after the game from all the former players, that meant a lot to him.”
Penn State’s 16 forced turnovers against the Hawkeyes set a new season-high.
Trent Buttrick and Sam Sessoms each nabbed three steals. Brockington, Dread, Jones and Jamari Wheeler ended with one steal apiece.
The Nittany Lions boast one of the Big Ten’s peskiest defenses, as it only trails Rutgers in the conference in steals with 149 (7.84 per game). Penn State claims top honors in the Big Ten in turnover margin (2.89).
“We’ve played hard; we’ve played really good basketball for stretches in these games,” Ferry said of back-to-back games against Ohio State and Iowa. “We’re talking about two of the best teams in the country. We’re like two plays away from winning those games… I think you take a lot out of it.”
Up next: Penn State plays at Nebraska (5-15, 1-12 Big Ten) at 8 p.m. on Tuesday (Big Ten Network).