After-thoughts from Iowa’s 82-58 loss to Penn State:
--In what has become a distressingly familiar pattern, the Hawkeyes dug themselves a massive hole in the first half, getting outscored 33-12 over an 11-minute stretch and trailing by 19 (47-28) at halftime. It’s the seventh time in the past 10 games and the ninth time this season that they have trailed by 10 or more points at the half. Their only bigger halftime deficits were 31 (51-20) against Purdue and 20 (37-17) against Louisiana-Lafayette.
--The loss accentuated how important Jordan Bohannon is to this team. The sophomore point guard was clearly affected by an unspecified illness and was a shadow of his usual self. He played only 24 minutes — by far the least he has played in a Big Ten game this season — and was on the court for only eight minutes in the second half. It gave us a chance to see what this team looks like without him. Hopefully, we don’t have to see it again.
--One thing the Hawkeyes generally have done well this season is finish around the basket, but they didn’t even do that well in this game. Luka Garza was only 3 for 13 from the field and Cordell Pemsl, Tyler Cook, Isaiah Moss and Jack Nunge all missed shots from in close that they normally would make. Penn State’s Mike Watkins, one of the league’s premier shot-blockers, only swatted down one shot but he altered a lot of others. Lamar Stevens did manage to reject four Iowa shots.
--Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said after the game that he thought there were moments when the Hawkeyes’ defense was OK. There weren’t many of those moments. When the opposing team gets 50 points in the paint, throws down 10 dunks and gets 13 layups, the opposing defense isn’t getting it done. Penn State never missed more than two shots in succession until the very end of the first half. The Nittany Lions didn’t shoot very well from 3-point range but they were 30 for 49 on two-point attempts.
--The Hawkeyes matched their season average with 13 turnovers but it seemed like more, perhaps because they came in bunches. They had two stretches in the first half in which they strung together three straight turnovers. Both times Penn State went on a 9-0 scoring run.
--With four points, Isaiah Moss now has scored just eight points in the past three road games. McCaffery said after the game that the sophomore guard has been nursing a sore wrist.
--This is the first time in 46 meetings that Penn State has beaten Iowa by more than 12 points. In fact, the Nittany Lions very seldom blow anyone out in Big Ten play. The last time they won a league game by this large a margin was in 2015, when they routed Rutgers 79-51.
--McCaffery stayed in Iowa Friday night while the team traveled to Pennsylvania so that he could take in a high school game between Muscatine and Bettendorf, watching a senior he’s already signed (Joe Wieskamp) player against a junior (D.J. Carton) that he hopes to sign. Wieskamp scored a career-high 54 points in the Muskies’ victory, including his team’s first 31 points. “I’ve never recruited a guy who scored more points than the other team so that was pretty impressive …’’ McCaffery said after Saturday’s game. “I’m excited that he’s coming to play for us.’’