If January was the free fall, is February the revival?
A week ago, Ohio State hit a low point in their season by losing at home to Penn State. With a 76-69 victory over No. 17 Iowa, the Buckeyes have responded and now have consecutive wins in Big Ten road games.
OSU held a nine point on a pair of occasions in the second half, but the Hawkeyes were able to cut it within four. At the 2:06 mark, Aaron Craft threw the ball away and Iowa hit a jumper to bring them within four. Craft, carrying over his strong performance from the Wisconsin game, made up for his turnover with an aggressive drive to the basket and drew a foul after hitting a layup. He led all players with 17 points and also added six steals and six assists.
Overall, Ohio State shot 51 percent from the field and, largely, avoided the turnover problems that plagued them in their first matchup with the Hawkeyes. Four other Buckeyes finished in double figures – LaQuinton Ross had 13, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Amir Williams both scored 12, while Shannon Scott added 11 off the bench. Williams was particularly effective in the second half, with 8 points and a blocked shot.
After holding a players-only meeting and inserting Sam Thompson into the starting lineup, Ohio State (18-5, 5-5) is starting to resemble the team that was once ranked third in the country. OSU's ability to score off turnovers fueled the first 15 wins, but that quickly disappeared once they got a couple games deep into Big Ten play. The first half against Iowa (17-6, 6-4) was a welcome return to that style, as the Buckeyes capitalized on seven Hawkeye turnovers.
Throughout the game, Iowa uncharacteristically struggled from beyond the arc by hitting only three of their 20 triple tries. Craft also shut down their leading scorer, Roy Devyn Marble, who had 10 points and turned the ball over four times. Hawkeyes center Gabe Olaseni hit all five of his shots and had 14 points, but he saw inconsistent minutes due to foul trouble.
Ohio State won't fight the snow storm and will wait a day to make their return to Columbus. They'll play Purdue at The Schott, Saturday.