Almost immediately, Ohio State got blitzed.
CJ Walker scored the first points for the Buckeyes on a 3-pointer with 17:28 remaining in the first half. But by that time, Iowa's Joe Toussaint and Connor McCaffery had hit back-to-back triples. Over the course of the next three-and-a-half minutes, the Hawkeyes scored 12 unanswered points to take an 18-3 lead less than six minutes after tip-off.
The rest of the way, No. 25 Ohio State managed to outscore No. 20 Iowa, but the early deficit proved to be too much. The Hawkeyes topped the Buckeyes, 85-76, Thursday night in Iowa City, Iowa.
Ohio State, which entered the day having won five of its past six games, falls to 17-9 overall and 7-8 in the Big Ten.
Early on, Iowa seemed primed to blow Ohio State out by halftime. Before the 10-minute mark, the early onslaught gave the Hawkeyes a 19-point lead. However, the Buckeyes went 11-for-18 from the field in the latter 10 minutes of the first half to enter the break trailing by 11 points.
|26-62 (41.9%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||29-52 (55.8%)|
|9-30 (30.0%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||10-25 (40.0%)|
|15-18 (83.3%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||17-25 (68.0%)|
The seemingly manageable deficit got as low as nine points in the second half when Walker drilled a 3-pointer with 17:13 remaining, but Ohio State failed to cut into the lead until it was too late. Duane Washington Jr. scored all 15 of his points in the final six minutes to help chop the deficit to seven with 17 seconds left.
Luka Garza, Iowa's player of the year candidate, got the best of Kaleb Wesson, Ohio State's leading scorer this season, in a key battle of two big men.
The 6-foot-11, 260-pound Garza scored 24 points, making 9-of-15 shots, and grabbed six boards. Wesson had 10 points, seven rebounds and four turnovers. He hit 4-of-10 shots from the field and fouled out in the final minute.
Alongside Garza, the Hawkeyes had six players score at least eight points. Bakari Evelyn had 15 points, and Ryan Kriener added 12 points.
In the loss, E.J. Liddell had most productive offensive game as a Buckeye. He dropped a career-high 17 points, going 5-for-11 and snagging eight rebounds. Besides him, Ohio State struggled mightily to score with any degree of efficiency. Against a team ranked last in the Big Ten in adjusted defensive efficiency, the Buckeyes hit 41.9 percent of its shots and went 9-for-30 from behind the 3-point line.
Iowa, which leads the Big Ten in adjusted offensive efficiency, shot 55.8 percent from the field and 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Next up: Ohio State heads back to the Schottenstein Center for a home game with Maryland at 4 p.m. on Sunday. It'll be shown on CBS.
- Chris Holtmann didn't deviate from his usual starting five, going with CJ Walker, Luther Muhammad, Andre Wesson, Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson.
- DJ Carton, a Bettendorf, Iowa, native, was not in attendance. However, he reportedly is returning to Columbus for classes – though he won't be back on the court with his team yet.
- Justin Ahrens had 29 points in a game against Iowa last year. He had three points in nine minutes on Thursday.
- Holtmann falls to 1-2 on the road against Iowa as Ohio State's head coach. The Buckeyes won in the 2017-18 season, but they have lost the past two years.