Ohio State Misses Opportunity to Spark Turnaround; Buckeyes Fall Flat In Loss At Iowa

By Tim Shoemaker on January 28, 2017 at 10:44 pm
Ohio State coach Thad Matta
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State entered Saturday's game at Iowa as winners of three of its last four games.

After an 0–4 start to the Big Ten season, the Buckeyes played themselves right into the thick of a crowded Big Ten picture.

But in the game against the Hawkeyes, Ohio State fell flat. Iowa dominated from start to finish as it cruised to an 85-72 victory at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

For the Buckeyes, it was disappointing for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly, it was a missed opportunity to build momentum for this potential turnaround. A victory over Iowa wouldn't have done much for Ohio State's resume, but it certainly would have built confidence for this team — a fourth win in its last five games — with its next game coming Tuesday at home against No. 22 Maryland.

But once again, just when the Buckeyes looked like they may have turned a corner, they took a giant step backward.

Saturday was arguably Ohio State's poorest performance in Big Ten play as the Buckeyes were outplayed significantly on both ends of the floor. And even though Ohio State didn't do a ton well, its defensive performance may have been worse than its offensive one.

Iowa played without star forward Peter Jok — who missed the game with a back injury — and still scored 85 points, shot 50 percent from the field and made 10 shots from behind the 3-point line. The Hawkeyes essentially got whatever they wanted at the offensive end of the floor; Ohio State had no answers for a team that entered Saturday losers of three-straight games.

In Jok's absence, the Hawkeyes put four players in double figures as they were led by Brady Ellingson, who scored a team-high 17 points. Ellingson and Jordan Bohannon combined to make nine of Iowa's 10 3-pointers as they continuously got open looks against the Buckeyes' defense. 

In Ohio State's six Big Ten losses, the Buckeyes allowed their opponents to score at least 74 points. Twice teams have topped 80 points against Ohio State and one of those was Saturday night. In the Buckeyes' three league wins, they've held their opponents to 67, 66 and 72 points. 

When Ohio State struggles, it's usually always tied to its defensive lapses.

The Buckeyes host league-leading Maryland on Tuesday with a shot at a resume-building win. But Saturday's loss to the Hawkeyes was a serious blow to any postseason dreams Ohio State somewhat rebuilt with its recent play.

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