After some seemingly effortless offense in the first half, the Hawkeyes forced the issue a little more on the defensive end of the floor early in the second half, and cut what was a 17-point Ohio State lead down to five. The Buckeyes were appearing to be on the verge of coughing one up – that is until Junior star Keita Bates-Diop stepped up.
A personal 8-0 run from KBD allowed the Buckeyes to extend their lead – holding off Iowa in Iowa City – handing them a 92-81 loss.
With the win, Chris Holtmann becomes the first coach in school history to win his first three Big Ten games. Ohio State (12-4, 3-0 Big Ten) has won its first two conference road games after going 3-6 on the road in league play last year.
Iowa’s 12-0 run that spanned both halves brought the Hawkeyes back into the game, but Bates-Diop’s run kept it from “really” materializing, or becoming a one-possession game. When Iowa had the lead down to nine inside of two minutes to play, Bates-Diop ran the shot clock down and then pulled up for a 3-pointer to make it 84-72 with 1:39 left sealing their fate.
The junior led all scorers with 27 points, adding 13 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Jae’Sean Tate, playing through a sprained shoulder, finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.
The Buckeyes, who came to Iowa City looking to avenge a “horrible” loss from a year ago, came out swinging, and finished strong. The teams traded buckets early, but Ohio State started to pull away with a 10-0 run that included 3-pointers from Bates-Diop and Kam Williams, and some work inside from Kaleb Wesson.
The Buckeyes lead grew to as much as 17 in the first half, that with starting point guard C.J. Jackson sitting the final 14:25 of the half after picking up two fouls early. Ohio State got some solid floor time from backup point guard Andrew Dakich, who got a steal on his first defensive possession, moving the ball well and had a few assists as the Buckeyes pulled away.
Dakich finished with a team-high six assists and no turnovers in 26 minutes, helping Ohio State steer Iowa’s pressure and finish with just nine turnovers as a team.
Williams was hot early too, making three 3s in the first half on his way to 13 points.
Working against Iowa’s zone in the first half, Ohio State got most of what it wanted offensively. It was when the Hawkeyes switched to man-to-man and highlighted their press that the Buckeyes started to find some trouble in the second half. But KBD found the escape route, and capitalized upon it.
Between the X’s & O’s what does it all mean?
It was another nice win for the Buckeyes. Iowa is struggling – they have mustered a 0-4 record thus far in Big Ten play, but winning on the road in the conference is never a guarantee. So, Ohio State showed us, and the Big Ten, that their losses last year, as was the case with Iowa, that they are looking to right it, and be the surprise of not only the Big Ten, but of College Basketball.
The Buckeyes head back to Columbus where they will meet up with #1 Michigan State. This is a big one … but I feel the Buckeyes are up to the challenge. Tip-off is scheduled at 4:30 p.m., at Value City Arena and will be televised on CBS.