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Penn State sets sights on regular-season sweep of Iowa

Feb 24, 2024; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions forward Zach Hicks (24) celebrates with guard Ace Baldwin Jr (1) after making a three point shot during the second half against the Indiana Hoosiers at Bryce Jordan Center. Penn State defeated Indiana 83-74. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State will look to complete a regular-season sweep of Iowa when the Big Ten teams meet Tuesday night in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Nittany Lions (14-14, 8-9 Big Ten) are coming off back-to-back wins against then-No. 12 Illinois and Indiana last week. They have won five of their past eight games, including an 89-79 win at home against Iowa on Feb. 8.

Penn State coach Mike Rhoades said his confidence never wavered in his team. He gave a firm response when asked if there was a lack of belief during lower points in the season.

“By who? Not me,” Rhoades said. “No. Look, if you talk about a lack of belief, then people will think about it. … You’re talking to the wrong person when it comes to that.

“I’ve been frustrated. I’ve been mad. I’ve been disappointed, especially in myself. But losing belief? No way.”

Iowa (16-12, 8-9) will try to halt the Nittany Lions’ momentum. The Hawkeyes are coming off a 95-85 loss on the road against the Fighting Illini. Iowa came into that game after back-to-back wins against then-No. 20 Wisconsin at home and Michigan State on the road.

Josh Dix scored a team-high 20 points on 9-for-15 shooting from the floor in Iowa’s loss to Illinois. Tony Perkins finished with 18 points and eight rebounds, and Ben Krikke tallied 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting.

Iowa’s Payton Sandfort said he and his teammates remained confident.

“We’ve got a really tough group,” said Sandfort, who is averaging a team-high 15.4 points to go with 6.4 rebounds. “We’ve got a lot of guys playing well.

“Obviously, (the game against Illinois) didn’t turn out the way that we wanted. But I’m proud of the way we battled. We had our chances in a really hostile environment against a top 15 team, so it just kind of shows what we’re capable of.”

Kanye Clary, who was averaging 16.7 points, was dismissed by Penn State earlier this month but no reason was given as to why. That leaves Ace Baldwin Jr. as the team’s top active scorer with 14.2 points per game.

Iowa is 12-3 at home this season. Penn State is 2-6 on the road.

–Field Level Media

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