The Big Ten only had one game on Thursday, which put Iowa on the road to face Penn State. It figured to be a key opportunity for the Hawkeyes to add a road win to the team’s resume.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-Penn State Nittany Lions 89, Iowa Hawkeyes 79
The Hawkeyes projected as mild favorites heading into this one and controlled multiple segments of the game. However, a few big Penn State runs were too much for Iowa to overcome on the road, allowing the Nittany Lions to grab the win. Ace Baldwin led the way with 22 points, six assists, and two rebounds. Qudus Wahab also had 14 points.
For Penn State, it’s hard to understate how well the Nittany Lions are playing right now. Despite a horrid 4-5 start to the season, the team has now won three straight and four of its last six games, including multiple road wins and wins over Iowa and Wisconsin. The team suddenly now finds itself at 12-11 overall and 6-6 in Big Ten play and with a viable shot at finishing the season above .500, which would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago.
On the other side, Iowa fell to 13-10 overall and 5-7 in Big Ten play. It was a tough loss that should put the final nail in the team’s NCAA coffin. While the Hawkeyes have faced an uphill battle for the postseason for the better part of two months, Iowa had done enough to keep some hope alive. Unfortunately, that ended on Thursday. This was a “must win” game and the team fell short. With just eight games remaining and multiple challenging road games, an at-large bid just isn’t realistic anymore. That will be a tough pill for Hawkeye fans to swallow.
The Nittany Lions will return to action on Sunday on the road against Northwestern. Penn State is expected to be a major underdog in that game. Iowa will get Minnesota at home on Sunday for a chance to score another rivalry win.