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February 3, 2018
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Redshirt sophomore Mike Watkins recorded his 19th career double-double and 11th of the 2017-18 season in leading Penn State with 19 points and 10 rebounds in an 82-58 win over Iowa in the Bryce Jordan Center.
With his sixth rebound of the night, Watkins became only the second sophomore in Nittany Lion basketball history to record 500 career rebounds.
Nine Nittany Lions scored points in the win as Penn State dominated in the paint 50-30 behind 36 combined from starters Watkins and sophomore forward Lamar Stevens.
In addition to his other accolades, with a field goal percentage of 90% on 9-10 shooting, Watkins also tied Penn State’s single-game and the program’s Big Ten single-game record for field goal percentage (minimum 10 attempts). He made eight straight baskets to start the night.
“To be able to get this victory, celebrate Team Ream, which is just an incredible cause, honor (equipment manager and honorary captain) Mitch Stover, who’s been here forever, and to have our alumni back, it’s a win-win for our program and everybody involved,” said Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers. “I was concerned about our mental conditioning and our mental mindset coming into the game. They really stepped up after that Michigan State game and came back to work. That’s growth. That’s a little bit of maturity. Hopefully, we can keep this consistent play going.”
Penn State shot 54.7 percent from the field and now has 10 games this season with a field goal percentage of 50 percent or more. In holding the Hawkeyes to 38.2 percent from the floor, the Nittany Lions moved their record to 11-0 this season and 20-1 over the past two seasons when their opponent has a field goal percentage of 40 percent or less.
The Nittany Lions used a 16-4 run with four minutes left in the first half to take a 47-24 lead into the locker room.
Neither team was able to score in the first five minutes of the second half as Iowa and Penn State combined for 1-12 shooting from the field. Both teams recovered with the Nittany Lions adding 14 field goals for a season-high 35 total and Iowa going 9-18 the rest of the night.
Watkins led four Nittany Lions in double figures with Stevens scoring 17, sophomore guard Tony Carr contributing 16 and junior forward Josh Reaves 11. Senior guard Shep Garner had nine points, all coming on 3-pointers. Stevens recorded a career-best four blocked shots, all coming in the first half.
Hawkeye Tyler Cook tied Watkins for the game-high scoring total with 19 and Luka Garza added 13 points, seven coming from the charity stripe. Cooke, Garza and Nicholas Baer all had six rebounds for Iowa. The Hawkeyes’ one 3-point field goal was their low for the 2017-18 season.
The victory gave the Nittany Lions their first-ever sweep of Iowa in the regular season. It was Penn State’s 16th overall win, marking both the earliest in terms of
This win also marks the first time Penn State has had at least six conference wins in three consecutive seasons since 1993-94, 1994-95, and 1995-96.
Penn State’s next home game is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 7 against Maryland in the second meeting between the two teams this season. Tickets for the game vs. the Terrapins as well as the remaining two Big Ten home games vs. Ohio State (2/15) and Michigan (2/21) are available. Visit gopsusports.com/tickets/m-
Keep up to date with the latest information from Coach Patrick Chambers and the Nittany Lions on Twitter by following @Coach_Chambers and @PennStateMBB, liking the team’s page on Facebook and following the team Instagram account at @PennStateMBB.