There were no surprises Wednesday night.
The Iowa men's basketball team built an early lead and never looked back en route to a 73-49 win over Penn State in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. The No. 7 Hawkeyes (18-4, 9-1 Big Ten) shot 46 percent from the field, while the Nittany Lions (11-12, 2-8) shot 30 percent.
"Right from the outset, our defense set the tone," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "We got stops, we got run outs. We established how we wanted to play."
Three different players scored in double figures for McCaffery's club. Jarrod Uthoff led with 14 points. Anthony Clemmons and Peter Jok each added 12 points. Nicholas Baer, Dom Uhl and Ahmad Wagner all scored eight points.
Adam Woodbury added five points and pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds.
The Iowa junior marvels at the play of the two seniors. Chad Leistikow/HawkCentral.com
Iowa emptied its bench as all 14 active players logged time on the hardwood. No starter played more than 27 minutes. Uhl, Baer, and Wagner all recorded significant playing time with 20, 19, and 17 minutes, respectively.
"That's how you need to be in this league for the entire journey," McCaffery said. "You've got to be able to go to your bench. You've got to be able to rest your guys. You've got to get productivity off the bench. We're getting points, rebounds, assists, and not a lot of mistakes. Whether we're home or away, we need that."
The Iowa coach wanted to play him even more in a rout of Penn State. Chad Leistikow/HawkCentral.com
Missed shots by Penn State plus a consistent defensive effort resulted in the Hawkeyes allowing season-lows of 49 points and 30 percent shooting. The previous scoring low was 59 points in the first game of the season to Gardner-Webb and then Jan. 14 to Michigan State.
Penn State also went cold from the the 3-point line, going 1-of-20 from beyond the arc.
"Obviously, Iowa’s a great team," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "I apologized to Franny, we didn’t give them much of a game. You can’t play a great team, a top-five team, and shoot 1-for-20.”
Iowa shut the door on any glimmer of hope Penn State mustered in the first half. The Nittany Lions narrowed the deficit to nine points with less than six minutes to go, but the Hawkeyes promptly went on a 16-4 run into the break to stake out a 45-26 advantage at halftime.
Perhaps the performance on defense led to the offensive barrage.
"When we got in space, we made things things difficult for them," Uthoff said. "That definitely fueled our transition game and fueled our offense. Any win in the Big Ten is a good win."
The walk-on from Bettendorf had a 2016-high 8 points vs. Penn State. Chad Leistikow/HawkCentral.com
There were no hiccups Wednesday. Iowa cruised from the opening tip, never once trailing.
But that's what should be expected from one of the top teams in the nation at this stage of the year, especially when going up against an inferior opponent.
"We try to come out with a championship mindset," Clemmons said. "That's the ultimate goal. We want to win. Everybody's mindset is to do what you got to do to win. Everybody's on the same page. That's what's sparking us."
The Iowa basketball player hears about King, the Hawkeye football star, wearing a cowboy hat and boots. Chad Leistikow/HawkCentral.com