By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Iowa men’s basketball team is in danger of falling to 0-3 in Big Ten play as it prepares to face Penn State on Sunday in University Park, Pennsylvania.
The Hawkeyes are coming off back-to-back losses to Nebraska and Eastern Illinois, with the Eastern Illinois loss being called the biggest upset over the past 30 years.
Iowa fell to Nebraska 66-50 this past Thursday in Lincoln, Nebraska, and failed to score during a nine-minute stretch in the first half.
Iowa also lost its Big Ten opener against Wisconsin 78-75 in overtime on Dec. 11 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes were finally at full strength against Nebraska as Kris Murray and Connor McCaffery both returned from injuries.
But it wasn’t enough as Murray only scored four of his 17 points in the second half.
Iowa only made 19-of-73 field-goal attempts against Nebraska, and was just 7-of-28 from 3-point range.
“We got 73 shots up, that’s a lot of shots to get 50 points,” said Iowa coac Fran McCaffery.
And now Iowa hits the road again to face what appears to be a vastly improved Penn State squad under second-year head coach Micah Shrewsberry,
Penn State enters the New Year’s Day contest 10-3 overall, including 7-1 at home, and 1-1 in conference play. The Nittany Lions’ Big Ten loss came at Michigan State.
The Nittany Lions lead the conference and nation in both turnovers per game (8.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.87). They also lead the league in four other categories: free throw percentage (.769), 3-point attempts per game (28.5), 3-point percentage (.398), and
3-pointers per contest (11.3).
Senior guard Jalen Picktett has tallied one triple-double this season. He also leads the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (4.65), assists per game (7.8), and fi eld goal a! empts (175).
Senior guard Andrew Funk, who transferred from Bucknell, leads the Big Ten in 3-point attempts (83), 3-pointers made per game
(2.92), and total 3-point fi eld goals made (35).
Penn State is shooting 46 percent from the fi eld, 38.4 percent in the 3-point range, and 76.9 percent from the free-throw line.
Iowa (8-5. 0-2) vs. Penn State (10-3, 1-1)
When: Sunday, 4:31 p.m.
Where: University Park, Pennsylvania, (Bryce Jordan Center)
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network
Series: Iowa holds a 33-19 advantage in the series versus Penn State. The Hawkeyes have won 13 of the last 21 overall mee! ngs. Each team won on its home fl oor in the two mee! ngs in 2022. Penn State holds a slim 13-10 edge in games played at University Park. The NiÅ any Lions edged the Hawkeyes, 90-86, in double over! me last year. Iowa’s last victory in the Bryce Jordan Center was on Jan. 16, 2019 (89-82).
Iowa was the fi rst visi! ng team to win (67-59) in the Bryce Jordan Center (Jan. 4, 1997).