Iowa had lost three games this season — to Villanova, Iowa State and Wisconsin — with all those games either played on the road or at a neutral site. Those three losses also came by a combined 12 points.
Heading into Columbus, the No. 20 Hawkeyes were looking to put together a full, 40-minute game after surrendering second half leads in each of their three defeats. Sunday afternoon looked to be going the same way against No. 3 Ohio State, as the Buckeyes turned a two-point halftime deficit into a nine-point lead eight minutes into the second half.
Fran McCaffrey’s team withstood the Ohio State defense and ended the afternoon with a 20-9 run, leaving Columbus with an 84-74 road victory in Big Ten action.
Trailing by nine, with under 12 minutes to play, the Hawkeyes showed off its depth and 3-point shooting when Mike Gesell, Aaron White and Jarrod Uthoff connected on back-to-back-to-back threes. After OSU took the lead back, Josh Oglesby tied it at 60-all with a three of his own. Iowa shot poorly from deep (1-for-7) in the first half, but in the second half connected on 4-of-10 shots.
Roy Devyn Marble scored 12 of his 22 points in the first half to pace the offense.
Despite not shooting well from three in the first half, Iowa led by two heading into halftime, scoring 30 of its 37 points in the paint as the talented frontline took advantage of the smaller Ohio State front court.
We know Iowa can score, the Hawkeyes are top 10 in scoring nationally. But they took care of the ball in the first half, only committing five turnovers. In the second half, the Hawkeyes made four turnovers within the first eight minutes, but regrouped and executed down the stretch.
While Iowa limited Ohio State’s transition opportunities by taking care of the basketball, its defense forced 17 Ohio State turnovers. Even though the Buckeyes were successful at times against the zone, the 2-3 defense forced some mistakes.
This game really says a lot about Iowa, a team expected to be one of 68 selected come March. The Hawkeyes had devastating losses to Villanova, Iowa State and Wisconsin, but in all those games — especially in hostile environments like Hilton Coliseum and the Khol Center — remained competitive until the end.
The fourth time was the charm for Iowa, scoring a signature road win against a resilient Ohio State team.