IOWA CITY — On a day when Iowa and its fans celebrated the 1986-87 men's basketball program, freshman Aaron White honored them all with his little-bit-of-everything performance.
White, a 6-foot-8 forward, was a force in every phase of Iowa's 77-64 win against Penn State on Saturday. He scored 17 points. He grabbed nine rebounds. He had four assists. He had three blocks and two steals. His performance earned praise from every corner, including the opposition.
"I think he's terrific," Penn State Coach Patrick Chambers said. "He reminds me of (Mike Bruesewitz) of Wisconsin, knows his role, plays hard ... and he brings a lot of energy. Doesn't get rattled. He plays every possession, and that's tough to compete with.
"So he's that's junkyard dog. He's that glue that you need."
White was instrumental early in helping Iowa take a 16-2 lead barely six minutes into the game. Twice he hit 3-pointers in that run and scored another basket to total eight points in the first 6:11.
White's instant offense has helped the Hawkeyes win their last two games. He was a reserve until last Sunday and has started three straight games. He now has scored at least nine points in his last seven.
"I’m the type of player I’m going to grab an offensive rebound, use my length, try to outwork the guy across from me," White said. "I’m not going to over-athletic someone in the lane or anything like that. You’ve got to use your energy; you’ve got to use your mind."
As for the differences between starting and entering the game later, White said, "It’s the same. You’re jumping the ball instead of coming off the bench."
White's energy was contagious. The Hawkeyes led 23-5 with 8:51 left in the first half and 31-10 with 4:51 left. Early in the second half, after leading 36-19, the Hawkeyes started with a 9-0 run and led 45-19.
"I think the one thing we recognized in the second half was the first four minutes are going to be critical when you have a 17-point lead," Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery said. "If you're on the other end, that thing goes from 17 to 10, it's a completely different game. You want to come out with the right mindset and get a lead and you want to come out in the second half and get it past 20 and that's what we did. I thought that was really a key part of the game."
Everything clicked for Iowa (13-11, 5-6 Big Ten). Point guard Bryce Cartwright was solid, scoring 17 points. Perhaps more impressive was his seven rebounds, five assists and one turnover. Guard Matt Gatens put up an all-around effort with 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and no turnovers. He also sank 10 of 11 free throws.
It was important to Gatens for the team to play well in front of 1986-87 team, which was honored before the game. That team won 30 games, was ranked No. 1 during the season and featured eight future NBA draft picks. Former Iowa Coach Tom Davis, the school's all-time leader in wins, was handed a commemorative basketball by McCaffery and Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta, and Davis struggled to keep his composure before a standing ovation.
"It's special," Gatens said. "It was pretty neat pre-game introduction to all of those guys. Emotional. I think you saw Coach Davis get a little emotional, which was awesome. It's what it's all about. The guys coming back to the university that they're proud of, and I was glad we were able to make them proud today on the court."
|PENN ST. (10-14)|
Woodyard 4-11 1-3 11, Graham 2-3 0-0 4, Glover 0-4 0-0 0, Marshall 5-9 0-0 13, Frazier 10-20 1-1 23, Colella 3-8 2-3 10, Borovnjak 0-1 0-0 0, Oliver 1-5 0-0 3, Travis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 25-62 4-7 64.
McCabe 3-7 4-4 10, White 5-9 5-6 17, Marble 2-3 1-2 5, Gatens 3-8 10-11 18, Cartwright 5-9 7-8 17, Basabe 2-6 2-3 6, Oglesby 0-2 0-0 0, May 2-4 0-0 4, Archie 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-48 29-34 77.Halftime_Iowa 36-19. 3-Point Goals_Penn St. 10-29 (Marshall 3-5, Frazier 2-4, Colella 2-7, Woodyard 2-7, Oliver 1-5, Glover 0-1), Iowa 4-13 (White 2-4, Gatens 2-6, McCabe 0-1, Oglesby 0-2). Fouled Out_None. Rebounds_Penn St. 31 (Woodyard 6), Iowa 38 (White 9). Assists_Penn St. 12 (Frazier 5), Iowa 16 (Cartwright 5). Total Fouls_Penn St. 26, Iowa 12. Technical_Penn St. Coach. A_13,510.