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Lions turn it over in Iowa City

Penn State got off to a rare commanding start on the Big Ten road Thursday but it didn't last long. Turnovers and unbalanced scoring once again did the Nittany Lions in during a 76-67 loss to Iowa. The Nittany Lions (8-13, 0-9 Big Ten) had 17 giveaways and racked up 27 personal fouls, sending the Hawkeyes (14-7, 3-5) to the free-throw line 39 times. Iowa enjoyed a 31-14 advantage in made free throws.

Top performers: D.J. Newbill had 20 points, five rebounds and four assists, and Jermaine Marshall had 15 points, three assists and three steals for Penn State.

Aaron White scored a career-high 27 points for Iowa, which got 10 points and 10 rebounds from Melsahn Basabe.

What went right: Penn State wasn't exactly blistering the nets but the Nittany Lions' 40 percent field-goal shooting represented one of their better road performances of the season, and they were also 14-of-16 at the free-throw line. Jon Graham turned in some solid minutes off the bench, contributing six points, four rebounds and two blocked shots. Marshall and Newbill were once again able to get to the basket, if not always the free-throw line, and had some strong finishes around the hoop. The Nittany Lions did a decent job on Iowa stud Roy Devyn Marble, holding the Hawkeyes' leading scorer to eight points on 3-of-10 shooting.

What went wrong: The Nittany Lions' role players are not delivering at the offensive end. Brandon Taylor opened the game with a three and had some early scoring but finished with just eight points and was a non-factor in the second half, fouling out with four minutes remaining. Ross Travis missed all seven of his field-goal attempts and finished with one point. Penn State failed to take advantage of its 10-3 start and let the Hawkeyes back in the game with too many empty possessions and another lengthy scoring drought. Turnovers and poor shot selection prevented the Lions from stringing together any sort of run late in the game, as they played much of the second half down double digits.

Statworthy: Marshall, Newbill and Nick Colella were the only Nittany Lions to record assists Thursday. … Penn State's 67 points accounted for its highest total in a road game this season. … The Nittany Lions were 14-of-16 from the line; White and Belsabe alone were 18-of-21. ... Penn State's last Big Ten road win came at Northwestern on Feb. 24, 2011.

Summary: The Hawkeyes looked and played like a team in the bottom half of the Big Ten and gave the visitors plenty of chances to make it a game. The Nittany Lions really didn't take them, though. Penn State put together some good defensive possessions and showed flashes on offense but had just as many head-shaking turnovers and poor shots. Patrick Chambers is getting consistent offensive production from two players and consistent defense from no one. That's not a recipe that's going to win many games this time of year, in the Big Ten or any other major conference.

Up next: The Nittany Lions return to the Bryce Jordan Center to host Purdue at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

  • Yeah, turnovers are a stat in the game you can point to when you look at the box score. And some people scream over the free throw disparity. But the truth is that Iowa got the ball on the blocks at will against the PSU zone. At some point, the coaches decided they couldn't play man defense, obviously because it couldn't, and switched to the matchup zone.

    Iowa penetrated and/or passed to the block with such ease, the only thing PSU could do was foul and prevent the easy bucket. It was brutal to watch. The Lions stayed with it for far too long without changing up. Racked up the free throws. I guess the strategy was to make them earn it at the line. They did. But make it a little harder to get there!!!

    This team plays really really hard, but it is something like this that makes you wonder if its the talent disaprity or the execution.

    As John McKay said when asked about his teams execution ... "I think its a good idea".

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