STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- With every bucket, Jamelle Cornley got more vocal and animated, riling up the crowd while getting Penn State closer to erasing a 14-point deficit.
Cornley's layup cut Iowa's lead to five, and a 3-pointer got it to three before a tough jumper in the lane got Penn State within two with 2:53 left.
A hobbled Talor Battle took over from there with an open 3 with two-plus minutes left to finally give Penn State the lead, and the Nittany Lions never looked back in a 63-59 win over the Hawkeyes on Saturday night.
"What turned it around? Jamelle Cornley. He put us on his back and carried us," Battle said.
Cornley, sitting two seats away at the podium, mumbled, "Whatever."
Whatever indeed -- the win allowed Penn State (16-5, 5-3 Big Ten) to break the 15-win plateau for the first time in coach Ed DeChellis' six seasons on the bench. It also extended the Nittany Lions' best start in conference play since 1999-2000.
Battle, the Big Ten's top scorer, finished with 20 points, while Cornley led Penn State with 24, including 10 straight at one point late in the second half.
Jeff Brooks grabbed an offensive rebound and found Battle for the 3-pointer to make it 60-59 with 2:14 left.
Battle followed with two free throws after a steal to make it 62-59 with 1:39 left.
"It's fairly simple ... down the stretch they were efficient, very productive," Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said in a soft voice afterward.
Penn State was nearly done in again by missed foul shots, a season-long problem. But the Hawkeyes squandered several opportunities to tie in the game's frantic final seconds.
David Palmer missed an open 3 with 14 seconds left after Battle missed a free throw.
DeChellis couldn't brag enough about how his squad fed off the energy of Cornley and Battle.
"Those two kids are such competitive kids, you can't teach what they have," he said.
While Battle didn't admit he was hurt, DeChellis said his point guard has been nursing a sore hip and groin in recent weeks.
Good thing Penn State gets a week off before returning to action Feb. 1 at Michigan State.
"The break couldn't have come at a better time for us," DeChellis said.
The 6-foot-5 Cornley plays with strength and athleticism that allows him to make up for any height disadvantage he may have against taller opposing power forwards.
Iowa, minus leading rebounder Cyrus Tate for the fourth straight game because of a high ankle sprain, looked helpless inside late as Cornley twisted and turned his way to the hoop.
"If I read it right I think he benches 370 pounds," Lickliter said. "I don't think my whole team benches 370."
The Hawkeyes appeared to have solved any problems during the games first 30-plus minutes, whey they were physical inside and rarely allowed Penn State room on the perimeter.
The Nittany Lions shot just 35 percent in the first half, including 2-of-11 (18 percent) from 3-point range. Iowa was moving the ball well and hitting open shots.
"We were just lackadaisical, and execution-wise, we just weren't very good," DeChellis said.
Enter Cornley's second-half spurt.
He was on such an emotional high that he was whistled for a technical foul midway through the half after talking back to an official. The referee had asked him to tuck in his shirt.
"I was talking a little too much," Cornley said. "It was a mistake on my behalf."
Iowa hit the two technical foul shots, and followed with two more free throws to extend its lead to 13 with 9:13 left. The Nittany Lions trailed 54-41 with 8:05 left after a Kelly 3-pointer.
But Cornley said he still never thought the technical would hurt his team.
"That's what sparked me," he said. "That's when I said, 'If you want to give me a technical foul, I'm going to make sure we're going to fight,' and that's what we did."
The Hawkeyes remain winless in four Big Ten road games, and suffered their fourth loss in the last five games.