On off night, Keegan Murray's late heroics can't save Iowa from rough loss at Penn State
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Keegan Murray’s heroics forced a first overtime and got Iowa to a second.
But the star sophomore’s 3-point attempt with 14 seconds to go misfired with a chance to give Iowa a late lead and maybe the win Monday at the Bryce Jordan Center, and the Hawkeyes walked away with a frustrating 90-86 Big Ten Conference loss.
This was Iowa’s first double-overtime game since having two (both losses, to Nebraska and Minnesota) in the 2016-17 season. For the game, the Hawkeyes shot just 35% (27-of-77) and were outrebounded, 53-43, but still found themselves with multiple chances to win.
Murray experienced foul trouble for the second straight game. The nation’s fifth-leading scorer at 22.4 points per game didn’t score a basket until his dunk with 8:03 to play and didn’t seem himself most of the night.
But his second bucket, a 3-pointer from left of the key with 53.8 seconds left, chopped Penn State’s lead to 65-62.
Murray’s blocked shot of Jalen Pickett with 23 seconds left forced a shot-clock violation, giving the Hawkeyes the ball with a chance to tie. Iowa instead took an easy 2-pointer by Patrick McCaffery with 13.7 seconds left to make it 65-64.
Penn State’s Sam Sessoms made one of two free throws with 8.4 seconds left, and Jordan Bohannon forced a 3-pointer in the waning seconds. It missed, but Murray flew into the lane and tipped it into the bucket for a buzzer-beating two-pointer. That forced overtime at 66-66.
Penn State delivered the dramatics in the first overtime. With Iowa holding a three-point lead in the waning seconds, Myles Dread connected on a top-of-the-key 3-pointer with 9 seconds left to tie the score at 78-78. Kris Murray’s last-second jumper came up short, forcing the second extra session.
Penn State took control of the second overtime as Iowa went cold again.
Iowa dropped to 14-7 overall and 4-6 in Big Ten play. Penn State improved to 9-9, 4-6, in avenging a 68-51 loss to the Hawkeyes nine days earlier at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Keegan Murray wound up scoring 21 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Patrick McCaffery scored 16 and Filip Rebraca added 11.
For the second straight game, Iowa got off to a miserable start. Four days earlier against Purdue, Iowa got behind 21-9 early in a 10-point home loss.
Monday, the Hawkeyes missed nine of their first 10 shots and fell into a 15-5 hole in the game’s first 7 minutes, 50 seconds. Keegan Murray, who earlier in the day was named to the Wooden Award’s late-season top-20 list, was 0-for-5 in the first half before heading to the bench with his second foul.
His substitute, freshman Payton Sandfort, got the Hawkeyes going. A cutting layup and quick-release 3-pointer within a span of 24 seconds brought Iowa to within 20-17. And, suddenly, the Hawkeyes seemed to have some life.
Enter Connor McCaffery. The fifth-year senior entered Monday’s game with five field-goal makes in 297 minutes of playing time. In Monday’s first half alone, he matched his season total with four 3-pointers — including back-to-back-to-back treys on three straight possessions to turn a 30-25 Hawkeye deficit into a 34-30 lead.
All of McCaffery’s attempts were uncontested, a reasonable approach by Penn State considering he had converted just 4-for-25 from 3 all season. But he made the Nittany Lions pay and gave the Hawkeyes a jolt entering the locker room with a 34-32 lead. Led by McCaffery’s 12 points, the bench scored 24 of Iowa’s 34 points. McCaffery’s previous season high in points was five.
Unfortunately, McCaffery left the game with 4:01 remaining with a painful right-arm injury.
Iowa’s next game is Thursday at Ohio State. The 7 p.m. CT game will air on Fox Sports 1.
Hawkeyes columnist Chad Leistikow has covered sports for 27 years with The Des Moines Register, USA TODAY and Iowa City Press-Citizen. Follow @ChadLeistikow on Twitter.