University Park, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - With only a few weeks left in the regular season, the jockeying for position in the Big Ten Conference conference continues, as the 16th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes tangle with the Penn State Nittany Lions at the Bryce Jordan Center on Saturday afternoon.
Iowa had put forth an outstanding effort during the non-conference portion of its schedule, going 11-2, but against Big Ten foes, the team has gone 7-4. The Hawkeyes have alternated defeats with victories in the last six games, and is coming off an 85-67 rout of visiting Michigan one week ago. Iowa is an even 3-3 in true road games this season, and the squad has won its last two away from the friendly confines of Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Penn State recently put an end to a two-game losing streak by posting a narrow 66-65 win at Indiana on Wednesday. The triumph improved the team to a game over .500 overall (13-12), and inched it closer to achieving the same in Big Ten action (4-8). The Nittany Lions own an 8-6 home record, and they've won two of their last three in front of the hometown faithful.
Iowa owns a 25-13 lead in the all-time series with Penn State, and that includes wins in three of the last four meetings.
Roy Devyn Marble nailed six 3-pointers en route to a game-high 26 points, as he helped power the Hawkeyes to their 18-point win over Michigan last weekend. Aaron White added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Mike Gesell chipped in 10 points to go with eight assists. Iowa was credited with 22 helpers on 29 field goals, and the team went 10-of-17 from beyond the arc. A 38-29 rebounding margin certainly helped maters, as did the fact that the Hawkeyes scored 34 points in the paint compared to 18 for the Wolverines.
Iowa continues to produce at an elevated level at the offensive end, as the team leads the Big Ten and ranks among the national leaders with an average of 83.7 ppg. Marble paces the unit with 16.5 ppg, and White is the only other double-digit scorer with his 13.2 ppg. A total of eight others are netting between 5.0 and 8.4 ppg. The team is hitting its shots 47.3 percent of the time, which includes a 36.8 percent showing from long range, while permitting the opposition just 38.7 percent success on their total shots and only 29.5 percent on 3-pointers. Add in a near double-digit advantage on the glass (+9.8), and it's not difficult to see why the Hawkeyes are enjoying a solid campaign.
Despite being outshot and outrebounded, the Nittany Lions managed to slip past Indiana on the road earlier this week. Penn State made good on only 40.7 percent of its field goal attempts, while the Hoosiers were 51.2 percent efficient. The Lions did drain eight treys compared to five for the home team, and they took advantage of 20 IU turnovers. Tim Frazier paced PSU with 14 points and six assists, while Brandon Taylor and Donovon Jack tacked on 10 points apiece.
D.J. Newbill, who had an off night against the Hoosiers (3-of-12 from the floor, seven points, five turnovers), continues to pace the team in the scoring column with his 17.2 ppg, while Frazier is hot on his heels with 16.1 ppg. Frazier hands out six helpers per contest, helping the Lions generate 73.7 ppg. Defensively, they are allowing 71.9 ppg, and while they are in the red in rebounding margin (-0.9), they are on the plus-side of the ledger with regard to turnover differential (+0.8).