IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) Iowa’s scorers often get the attention, but it’s the fifth-ranked Hawkeyes’ aggressive and trapping defense that is making the difference this season.
And Iowa is converting turnovers and missed shots – and sometimes even made baskets – into quick and easy points on the other end.
Jarrod Uthoff scored 14 points and Adam Woodbury had a career-high 15 rebounds to help Iowa roll past Penn State 73-49 on Wednesday night.
The Hawkeyes forced only 10 turnovers, but held Penn State to 30 percent shooting. The 49 points are a season-low for an Iowa opponent this season.
“Right from the outset, our defense set the tone,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “We got stops, we got run-outs. . I thought we really were locked into throwing it ahead and attacking in transition.”
Peter Jok scored 12 points and Anthony Clemmons had 12 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Hawkeyes (18-4, 9-1 Big Ten), who won their 15th straight home game.
Brandon Taylor had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Penn State (11-12, 2-8). Taylor shot 6 of 18 from the field.
The Nittany Lions never settled down in their first visit to Iowa City in three years.
Penn State opened the game shooting 3 of 16 from the field. The Nittany Lions – one of the worst 3-point shooting teams in the Big Ten – made only one 3 in 20 attempts.
“We got into their space and made everything difficult for them,” said Uthoff, who blocked four shots.
Iowa won to stay even with Indiana on top of the Big Ten standings. The Hawkeyes and Hoosiers will meet twice in the last four weeks of the season, starting Feb. 11 in Bloomington.
Iowa has won by double figures in eight of their nine conference wins.
The Hawkeyes opened the game on a 14-4 run. Later, Uthoff hit a 3-pointer with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first half to put Iowa up by 12 points. Penn State didn’t get any closer.
Dom Uhl finished the first half with a two-handed putback dunk off his own missed floater to give the Hawkeyes a 45-26 lead.
Iowa built a 20-point lead early in the second half and never gave it up.
The Hawkeyes had 13 fastbreak points and didn’t allow any. Iowa’s bench outscored Penn State’s 28-14.
Penn State has lost four straight and six of seven.
Shep Garner and Julian Moore scored eight points each for the Nittany Lions.
The Hawkeye football team was recognized at halftime to celebrate the program’s undefeated regular season and first Rose Bowl appearance in 25 years. They received a loud standing ovation.
About 40 members of the Big Ten West championship team – including quarterback C.J. Beathard and cornerback Desmond King – came out to midcourt with Iowa’s rivalry trophies. A dozen stayed after the presentation for a performance with the Iowa dance team.
King, the Jim Thorpe Award winner who announced last month he will return for his senior season, stood out from the group with white cowboy boots and a dark cowboy hat.
Penn State: Two of the Nittany Lions’ next three games are against ranked opponents – including another game vs. Iowa in two weeks. … Penn State’s Payton Banks (plus-9.0) and Iowa’s Jok (plus-8.3) rank atop the Big Ten in points per game improvement from last season.
Iowa: Woodbury’s 13 defensive rebounds were the most by a Hawkeye since 2006. … McCaffery coached his 100th Big Ten regular season game Wednesday.
Penn State hosts No. 22 Indiana on Saturday.
Iowa plays at Illinois on Sunday.