Aaron White scored a career-high 27 points and Melsahn Basabe chipped in with a double-double as Iowa defeated Penn State 76-67 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena Thursday night.
Basabe, inserted into the starting lineup in place of Anthony Clemmons, scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Hawkeyes improved to 14-7 overall and 3-5 in the Big Ten. It was the 10th double-double of Basabe’s career.
“It gave us a bigger lineup,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said of the switch. “[Penn State] is a team that rebounds, a very physical team. I think a bigger lineup was effective for us tonight.”
D. J. Newbill scored 20 points for the Nittany Lions, who remained winless in league play. It’s easy to see why that’s the case as Penn State turned the ball over 18 times against the Hawks.
Iowa shot 40 percent from the floor on the night but the Hawks were just 5 of 21 from beyond the arc.
"It wasn't the prettiest game, and we didn't execute that great, but a win is a win,” White said. “We'll take good stuff from it, and we'll break it down and see the bad stuff."
The win was a critical one for the Hawks as they hit the road for games at Minnesota and Wisconsin before returning to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to face Northwestern next Saturday night.
“What we need to do is play a little bit better, again, offensively,” McCaffery said in looking forward to the games ahead of his team. “That's been a little bit of a struggle for us. We hit some more jumpers tonight, that's good to see. But our execution is still a little bit off. It's closer. They're working at it. They're trying, but it's got to be better.”
Iowa led 34-26 at the half. The Hawks led by as many as 15 points in the second half before the Nittany Lions clawed back to within striking distance. McCaffery, displeased with his team’s play, was not shy about his feelings afterward.
“Our execution when we were trying to run clock, run a set late in the clock, that wasn't very good,” he said. “Then we turned the ball over in the backcourt against the press with four time outs. Can't do that. You find yourself in that position, you got to call timeout.
“So those are the things that hopefully we learned tonight.”