COLUMBUS, Ohio — Iowa left the top scorer in the Big Ten Conference bandaged, but it was the Hawkeyes who limped out of Value City Arena on Tuesday with a 72-63 loss against Ohio State.
The Buckeyes’ Deshaun Thomas, who came into the game with five straight 20-point scoring games, had a game-high 16 points despite taking an elbow late in the game that left him bloody.
Iowa (13-6, 2-4) trailed by as many as 24 points in the second half but cut the lead down to four with 1:30 remaining in the game.
“We just hacked at it,” Iowa junior Zach McCabe said. “Ohio State is a great athletic team. Big and strong. We were right there with them.”
It was a rough game that featured 39 fouls and 31 turnovers.
Thomas spent much of the night under the watchful defensive eye of Ohio native Aaron White.
“Last year I struggled defensively,” White said. “I still probably get a rep of not being a defensive player. I tried to dial in.”
Iowa couldn’t dial in a Big Ten road win in a city where it has not won since 2004. The Buckeyes won their eighth straight game over the Hawkeyes overall.
“We’ve had trouble with this team’s defensive quickness the last two times they beat us,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “They got up in us, and we couldn’t execute our offense. They took us out of what we wanted to run. That’s what happened early.”
Ohio State finally got going on a long-range 3-pointer by LaQuinton Ross to go up 15-13. It started a 13-5 run.
Ohio State then outscored Iowa 19-7 to start the second half and led 53-29 with 13:14 to play.
“They were up 24 with a substantial amount of time left,” McCaffery said. “A lot of times teams don’t have maturity or patience to try to chip away; but that’s what we did.”
White hit a running jumper, then 1-of-2 at the line with the Buckeye student section chanting “We didn’t want you” to cut the lead to 63-59 with 1:29 to play.
“No comment,” said White of the students. White was playing in his home state for the first time as a Hawkeye.
“They said what they wanted to say, that’s fine.”
Ohio State (14-4, 4-2) hit 5-of-6 at the line in the final 1:02 to keep the Hawkeyes at bay. The Buckeyes put an exclamation point on the win with a fast break dunk by Lenzelle Smith Jr.
“The game was pretty physical, and they put pressure on us,” Ohio State’s Evan Ravenel said.
Iowa won the rebounding battle 40-34 and the turnover battle 14-17 but were hurt by poor foul shooting, hitting just 13-of-26 — including 10-of-22 in the second half.
“We’ve been so good in that area,” McCaffery said of his team that came in shooting 71.5 percent, second-best in the Big Ten. “We miss 13 in a nine-point loss? Very disappointing.”
White led Iowa with 13 points. Anthony Clemmons had nine points and Devyn Marble, McCabe and Eric May each had eight points.
Iowa shot 22-of-62 from the field (35.5 percent).
“I think they were a little more physical than we were, why we shot such a low percentage,” Iowa freshman Mike Gesell said. “They are a good defensive ballclub.”
For OSU, Thomas had seven rebounds to go with his 16 points. Aaron Craft and Smith each added 12 points and Ravenel had 11 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Aaron Craft had four steals — becoming Ohio State’s career leader — and Amir Williams had six blocked shots.
Iowa took an early 13-12 lead on an May dunk on an offensive rebound.
Iowa won the offensive rebounding battle 11 to 2 in the first half, and it helped keep the score close despite the Hawkeyes shooting just 8-of-32 from the field over the first 20 minutes.
“We’ve got players that are good on the offensive glass,” White said. “I wouldn’t say their athleticism overpowered us. Clearly they weren’t jumping over us to get offensive rebounds.”
But Iowa struggled at the end of the first half. The Hawkeyes trailed by eight, 30-22, and had the ball with 29 seconds left.
But instead of holding for a final shot, White put up a quick attempt, and the Buckeyes converted on the other end.
Ravenel hit a short bucket, and the following “and-1” foul shot was missed, then rebounded and put back by Smith.
Instead of going into half down eight, or maybe six, Iowa trailed by 12, 34-22.
“The end of the first half really killed us,” Devyn Marble said. “We put ourselves in that hole.”
“We were battling, still in the game,” White said. “That last two minutes of half they get a steal, get a run-out. All of a sudden it’s 12. You work that hard. And then just a 12-point game right before half.
Early in the second half, up 47-29, the Buckeyes got a 3-pointer from Ravenel to spark a 6-0 run.
McCabe had 11 of the next 15 points for Iowa, pushing back against the Buckeyes when things looked the bleakest for Iowa.
“Coach just told us to keep grinding,” McCabe said. “Never give up. All of us guys have the same mindset. I was fortunate to get some buckets.”
A second-chance 3-pointer by Anthony Clemmons cut the OSU lead to single-digits, 57-49 with 5:54 to play.
“I like the fight of the guys to get back into the game in the second half,” Marble said. “I think we did good in that aspect.”
White hit 1-of-2 at the line with 1:30 to play to cut the lead to under five, 63-59.
“We got ourselves in too big of a hole,” White said. “They were physical with us on the defensive end.
“But I think we’re just as good as that team, and I think we gave one away tonight.”
Iowa has another road test Sunday at Purdue (10-8, 3-2). The Boilermakers play at No. 2 Michigan on Thursday.
“If we can battle the whole 40 minutes instead of digging that big of a hole, we’ll make it a lot easier on ourselves,” Gesell said.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball