Ohio State has struggled to beat top Big Ten teams all season, but bucked that trend in its final regular season home game.
Marc Loving scored a game-high 25 points, Keita Bates-Diop added 19 and the Buckeyes ended the game on a 12-2 run to surge past Iowa 68-64 Sunday at the Schottenstein Center.
Loving buried a 3-pointer in the corner with just under 3 minutes remaining to cut Iowa's lead to one, before Kam Williams nailed a jumper on Ohio State's next possession to give the Buckeyes their first lead since the 14-minute mark of the second half, 63-62. Williams' jumper looked like a 3-pointer, but after review officials called his foot on the line.
A minute later, however, Williams drilled a 3-pointer in the corner to extend the lead to four. Iowa scored on its next possession and had a chance to tie or win the game with 7.5 seconds remaining, but Bates-Diop blocked Mike Gesell's layup attempt at the rim.
|25-56 (45)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||22-54 (41)|
|5-18 (28)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||3-12 (25)|
|13-16 (81)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||17-22 (77)|
Loving made two free throws to secure the victory.
Both teams struggled on the offensive end in the first half. The squads combined for 20 turnovers (11 by Ohio State) in 20 minutes, but the Buckeyes ended the half on a 9-2 run to take a 35-30 lead into the locker room.
The Hawkeyes (20-8, 11-5 Big Ten) shot a forgetful 39 percent from the field in the opening half and missed all seven of their 3-point attempts. They remained in the game by getting to the free-throw line, however, while Loving and Bates-Diop paced the Buckeyes with 13 and 11 points each.
Both teams had 15 turnovers in the game. The game was tied nine times, while it had 12 lead changes.
Gesell and Jared Uthoff led Iowa with 16 points each and Peter Jok pitched in 12. Williams finished with 11 off the bench for the Buckeyes (19-11, 11-6).
Iowa's loss means Indiana owns a share of the Big Ten regular season title. The victory for Ohio State was its first this season without star sophomore Jae'Sean Tate, who is out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Ohio State closes out its regular season Saturday at No. 6 Michigan State, a team it lost to by 19 Tuesday. Tipoff is set for noon.