STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania — It was a simple concept, Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. Someone had to make a play and he had just the guy in Aaron White.
White scored 21 points, including six free throws in overtime, and the Hawkeyes were able to scrape past Penn State 81-77 in overtime on Saturday night.
White's steal of a D.J. Newbill in-bounds pass with 30 seconds left in overtime swung momentum the Hawkeyes' way, as did his free-throw shooting. Penn State committed 15 turnovers.
"The steal was the play of the game," McCaffery said. "This was a hard-fought game. Both team put themselves in position to win. Somebody has to make a play; he (White) made it."
Mike Gesell (14), Gabriel Olaseni (12), Josh Oglesby (12) and Jarrod Uthoff (11) also scored in double figures for the Hawkeyes (19-10, 10-6), who were 25 of 27 from the free-throw line.
Newbill scored 19 points for Penn State (15-14, 3-13), which has lost 10 Big Ten games by nine points or fewer. Shep Garner added 17 points, Geno Thorpe 14 and Ross Travis 10 for the Nittany Lions.
Iowa won its fourth straight game, is 6-3 in conference road games and 6-2 in February. Penn State has not won since Feb. 7 and has lost five straight.
Uthoff started Iowa off in overtime with a 3-pointer and Gesell followed with another for a quick 74-68 lead. Thorpe scored Penn State's only two points in the first 2:10 of overtime. Iowa went cold and Newbill's four straight points tied the score at 74 with 47 seconds to play.
Gesell sank one free throw for an Iowa lead and Newbill followed with the key turnover and White was fouled. White converted both free throws for a 77-74 lead and added four more free throws to clinch the win.
"I passed it to the other team," Newbill said. "I didn't see him. We still had a chance. There was a lot of time (30 seconds) left on the clock."
McCaffery said White's steal was a "heads-up play," and one that could only make Penn State coach Patrick Chambers put his head down.
"I feel for him," Chambers said about Newbill. "You know he wants to do the right thing. It's unfortunate. It's unlucky.
"Give Aaron White credit. He came up with a big steal on the road."
White's slam off an assist by Ogelsby with 2:12 to play gave Iowa a 68-66 lead in regulation but neither team scored until Newbill converted two free throws to tie the game with 17 seconds to go.
Uthoff launched an off-target 3-pointer and Olaseni's tip-in attempt failed at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.
"Gabe was great; Josh had four 3s and Uthoff came up with a big 3," McCaffery said. "There were so many good performances out there."
Despite Penn State's seventh loss in eight games, Chambers maintains the Lions still have a spark.
"I feel bad for these kids," Chambers said. "They played their hearts out today. You make 10 3s and have four guys in double figures; we need to win that game.
"Some of the stuff that happens to us is amazing. I've never seen anything like it."
Iowa: Iowa is 18-1 this season when scoring 64 points or more. . The Hawkeyes' White has the country's highest percentage of points scored from free throws; 168 of his 446 points have come from the foul line. . White had averaged 18.4 points in Iowa's nine conference wins and 8.8 in the Hawkeyes' six losses. . The Hawks made their first 13 free-throw attempts.
Penn State: Newbill is six points short of 2,000 for his career and seven shy of 600 for the season. . Penn State hit its first four 3-point attempts and missed its next seven in the first half; the Lions finished 10 of 28 from long range. . Saturday's contest was the annual Coaches vs. Cancer game.
A LITTLE HELP, PLEASE
Penn State's Chambers gave the Lions two days off after a 21-point loss at Northwestern on Feb. 21; he also asked head football coach James Franklin to speak to the squad. . Chambers this week received a vote of confidence from athletic director Sandy Barbour, who said that he would be Penn State's coach next season.
Iowa: The Hawkeyes are at Indiana on Tuesday.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions entertain Ohio State on Wednesday.