(Image and game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, ESPN.com, other image courtesy Getty images, stats courtesy of teamrankings.com)

Iowa (12-15, 3-11) stubbornly hung tough through the first 10 minutes of the game before #14 Ohio State (22-5, 13-1) pulled away to earn the 82-64 win. The Buckeyes were powered by five players in double figures and an active team defense, particularly in the 2nd half. With the win, Ohio State is now a full game in front of Purdue and Michigan State and hold the tie-breakers over them. Could you have imagined that scenario four months ago?

The game had an inauspicious start for Ohio State with C.J. Jackson turning the ball over in the first 15 seconds. (I thought, uh-oh, here we go…). Both teams shot reasonably ell in the first half; Ohio State 56%, Iowa 50%.  Both teams stayed within two possessions of one another until a 3-pt FG by C.J. Jackson gave Ohio State a 7 point lead, 29-22, at the 5:42 mark. At the 3:05 point, a 3-pt FG by Andrew Dakich gave the Buckeyes a 10 point lead, 36-26, and they maintained that margin going into the half, 42-32.

In the 2nd half, Ohio State used a couple of runs to take complete control of this game. The first occurred from the 18:25 – 14:52 when OSU outscored Iowa 14-0 to expand their lead from 44-36 to 58-36. The second occurred from 10:38 – 6:36 and was more modest, an 8-2 run, when Ohio State outscored Iowa to move the score from 68-45 to 76-47.

The second run was notable to me not because of the point differential but because of when it happened. With the game coming down the stretch and Iowa needing to gain some momentum, Ohio State wouldn’t let them do it. At the 3:04 mark with Ohio State holding an 80-54 lead, Coach Holtmann began his substitutions.

The Buckeyes were led by Kaleb Wesson (18 points), Kieta Bates-Diop (14), C.J. Jackson (14), Jae’Sean Tate (11) and Micah Potter (10). Kieta led Ohio State with 8 rebounds and C.J. had 5 assists.

The Hawkeyes were led by Jack Nunge (18 ) and Jordan Bohannon (11). The team’s leading scorer, Tyler Cook (15 ppg) was held to 8 points. Nunge also led Iowa in rebounding with 5.

Ohio State shot 53% from the field (29-55), 41% (9-22) from 3-point range and 71% from the foul line (15-21).

Iowa shot 42% from the field (25-59),  30% from 3-point range (6-20) and 80% (8-10) from the foul line.

 

What Went Right

Team chemistry/next man up-manship: This team seems to be adapting well to ‘Life Without Kam’. Jae’Sean, Kieta and C.J. continues to lead and different role players (Musa, Andre, Micah) have stepped up with productive, meaningful minutes.

Active defense: Although there were a couple lapses/brain freezes, overall the Buckeyes had ‘active’ hands, were aggressive to the ball and were in pretty good defensive position throughout the game. They held Iowa to 35% shooting in the second half and had 8 steals.

Ball movement: Their passing game, particularly in and around the post, is really a joy to watch. They are looking for players with better shots (53% shooting) who are making the shots (18 assists). Quite often an extra cut off a screen and the look for an open man pays off. Akin to this; the Buckeyes had only 10 turnovers, with 3 of them in the last 1:16 on some pretty bizarre plays.

What Didn’t

Late game ball handling: Ball security overall was pretty good (10 turnovers), but 3 of them were in the closing minutes.

  • The first was by Kyle Young who spotted a wide open Andrew Dakich in the corner. Unfortunately, Andrew had just checked out of the game and hadn’t taken his seat on the bench yet. To his credit, Kyle did find the open man.
  • Next up Joey Lane. IIRC, he spotted a wide open (or soon to be wide open Kyle Young and tried to feed a lob to Kyle. Unfortunately, the pass was too low of an angle, was deflected and intercepted. Which led to:
  • A missed layup by Iowa’s Maishe Dailey, rebounded by Matt Lehmann, who immediately had his pocket picked from behind by Dailey. This led to a flurry of activity at the Iowa offensive end and the final 3 points of the game.

 

Air Potter: Won’t be confused with Air Jordan, but he does get an “atta-boy” for effort if not for results.

mp_iowa_getty

That’s all I have for now.

Other…

  • Kam Williams’ indefinite suspension doesn’t seem to be hurting Ohio State too much, but it would still be nice to have him back on the team and hopefully in the lineup.
  • According to teamrankings.com, the Buckeyes are now projected to finish the regular season 24-7 and 15-3 in B1G play. They rank Ohio State as the 19th best team and give them a 100% chance to make the NCAA’s. Good news, all. Based their Power Rankings, Ohio State has a 49% chance to beat Penn State on Thursday. One game at a time…
  • After being pretty much a non-entity against Purdue, Kaleb Wesson was extremely productive against Iowa. KW responded with 18 points and 7 rebounds, 5 of them on the offensive boards. Nice job of coaching/counseling by Holtmann.

 

Up Next

The Buckeyes travel to University Park, PA for a rematch against Penn State.  If you recall, PSU won the previous meeting 82-79 with a half-court heave that banked into the basket. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET.  The game can be seen on BTN and/or you can listen to it on 97.1.

The Nittany Lions are averaging 76 points per game while allowing 67 ppg.  They average 36 rebounds and 13 turnovers per game. For comparison, the Buckeyes are scoring 77 and allowing 66. Ohio State averages 37 rebounds and 12 turnovers per game.

Penn State has five players that average double figures scoring per game. They are Tony Carr (19.3), Lamar Stevens (15.7), Mike Watkins (13.0), Josh Reaves (10.9) and Shep Garner (10.0). Watkins leads the team with 9.7 rebounds per game and Carr with 4.9 assists per game.

Ohio State has four players averaging double figures; Kieta Bates-Diop (20.2), C.J. Jackson (12.5), Jae’Sean Tate (12.7) and Kaleb Wesson (10.8). KBD leads the Buckeyes with 9.0 rebounds per game and C.J. with 4.2 assists per game.