Danny Morrissey's 3-pointer ricocheted off the rim and appeared to be headed out of bounds with just 38 seconds to go.
But a leaping Jamelle Cornley came out of nowhere and saved the ball to Talor Battle near the arc, giving Penn State one more possession to ensure its 14-point second half comeback wasn't all for naught in a thrilling 63-59 win over Iowa Saturday.
The 12,210 fans in the Bryce Jordan Center exploded as loud as they had all season, showing their appreciation for the last effort of the senior captain, whose 24-point, six-rebound night seemingly willed the Nittany Lions to their improbable 16th victory, the most in Ed DeChellis' six seasons as head coach at Penn State.
"It's way beyond energy -- believe me," Iowa coach Todd Lickliter said of Cornley. "He's skilled. He's a winner. He is strong."
For a while it looked like the Lions had their sights set on the seven-day break that was to follow the game.
Penn State (16-5, 5-3 Big Ten) lackadaisically watched the Hawkeyes build a 14-point lead with 12:35 left behind an efficient set of ball-screens and hot shooting from sophomore guard Jake Kelly, who went 7-for-10 from the field and finished with 19 points.
But Cornley and the crowd became recharged at the 9:32 mark following a controversial loose ball that was knocked out of bounds. Official Ed Hightower ruled it last touched Cornley, who then received a technical foul after what looked like a subtle exchange.
"I said, 'Yes, sir. I'm gonna make sure that I continue to do my job and you do yours,' " the power forward said through a smile. "You wanna put that in there, that is my fault. That is a senior mistake and it will not happen again."
The infraction cost the Lions four points, as Matt Gatens nailed both free throws before Kelly hit a pair after being fouled on the ensuing possession. Battle and Kelly then exchanged 3's, as Iowa (12-8, 2-5) led 54-41 with 8:05 remaining.
Then Battle, who finished with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists, was fouled by Kelly on a 3-point attempt and knocked down all three tries from the charity stripe. On Penn State's next possession, the point guard nailed a 3-pointer from the elbow to cut the lead to seven.
Cornley then went on a tear, scoring the Lions' next 10 points to bring his team within two and energizing the crowd as Daryll Clark and other Penn State football players were shown on the JumboTron bouncing up and down to Zombie Nation.
"Everybody else really worked hard," Battle said, "but [Cornley] kind of just put us on his back and carried us."
Battle capped the run with another 3, putting the Lions up one before stealing the ball from Kelly and hitting a pair of free throws to make it a three-point game.
Stanley Pringle crushed Iowa's final hopes by rejecting Jeff Peterson's potential tying 3-point attempt and hitting one of two free throws with 4 seconds left.
"These kids played hard, they played tough," DeChellis said. "They were competitive and they weren't gonna lose."