(Image courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, game information courtesy ohiostatebuckeyes.com, cleveland.com, ESPN.com, stats courtesy of teamrankings.com)
Ohio State (18-10, 8-9) led by Justin Ahrens’ 29 points, found its offense in the 2nd half to overwhelm #22 Iowa (21-7, 10-7), 90-70. A hail of three-pointers (8-15) by the Buckeyes in the 2nd half, led by Justin Ahrens (6-7) subdued the Hawkeyes.
In the first 2:15, Iowa was 3-5 from the field, Ohio State was 0-3 and turnover and the Hawkeyes held a 7-0 lead. Uh-oh. At that point, Kaleb’s involvement kicked in and he scored of OSU’s next 7 points to tie the game 7-7 at the 15:30 mark. The balance of the half was a back-and-forth affair with neither team holding more than a 6 point lead and no more than 5-point runs. The half would end with Ohio State holding a 36-33 lead This was based on a 5-point Ohio State run thanks to a layup by Kyle Young (his only basket of the game, and a 3-pointer by C.J. Jackson with :40 remaining.
Both teams were offensively, much more functional in the second half, particularly Ohio State. By the 15:00 minute mark, Ohio State was 7-9 from the field. This included a stretch of 1:15 where a C.J. Jackson 3-pt score was bracketed by Justin Aherns 3-pt scores which pushed Ohio State’s lead to 51-42 at the 15:27 mark. At that point, over the next seven minutes, Ahrens scored 12 points, the Brothers Wesson scored 9 and Woods 2 points to inflate Ohio State’s lead to 74-56 with 8:41 remaining. The teams essentially kept at a stasis throughout the remainder of the game with the Buckeyes prevailing 90-70.
The Buckeyes had five players in double figures, led by Justin Ahrens‘ 29 points. Also hitting double figures were the Brothers Wesson, Kaleb (18) and Andre (11), as well as Keyshawn Woods (13) and Duane Washington, Jr. (10). Kaleb achieved a double-double with 11 rebounds and C.J. Jackson had 6 assists.
The Hawkeyes had two players in double figures. Joe Wieskamp had 17 points and Tyler Cook had 12. Cook pulled off the double-double by grabbing 10 rebounds and Connor McCaffery had 3 assists.
Ohio State shot 48% from the field (28-58), 37% (12-32) from 3-point range and 92% (22-24) from the foul line.
Iowa shot 47% (26-55) from the field, 32% (6-19) from 3-point range and 86% (12-14) from the foul line.
What Went Right
Let’s start with having Justin Ahrens on the floor for 30 minutes. The offense generally looked very crisp with a lot of motion and more precise passing. They looked very confident and energetic. Holtmann certainly had them ready to play in a must-win situation.
Ball handling was much improved. They had 19 assists, thanks to heads-up, aggressive basketball. They had only 11 turnovers, well below their going rate.
The interior defense was scruffy at times. Iowa outscored Ohio State 38-28 ‘in the paint’. This was a combination of persistent post play by Iowa and Ohio State’s inability to get in front of the ball. The Hawkeyes scored a lot of points by guards/forwards driving to the basket with little to no resistance.
- Ohio State caught lightning in a bottle. Entering the game, Justin averaged .28 points-per-minute, or about 2.1 per game. His 29 point outburst, .97/minute was a pleasant surprise.
- Moving to offensive rebounding and an efficient offense for a minute, Ohio State was credited with 9 offensive rebounds, although 1 was a dead-ball rebound from a free throw. The eight “in play” ORs resulted in 10 points.
- Kaleb looked quite good (18 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals, 2 fouls) this game. Maybe it helped having legitimate outside scoring threat to dissuade defenses from collapsing in on him.
- According to teamrankings.com, the Buckeyes are projected to finish the regular season 19-12 and 9-11 in B1G play. They rank Ohio State as the 32nd best team in the country and #6 in the B1G. Their chance to make the NCAA’s is 31%.
The Buckeyes go to Purdue Saturday March 2nd for a conference rematch. In their previous meeting on January 23rd, Purdue won 79-67. Tip-off is tentatively set for 2:00 pm Eastern. You can watch the game on ESPN or listen to it on 97.1 The Fan. Or both.
The Boilermakers (20-7, 13-3) average 77 points per game while allowing 68 ppg. They average 37 rebounds and 11 turnovers per game. For comparison, the Buckeyes are scoring 73 and allowing 65 points per game. Ohio State averages 35 rebounds and 13 turnovers per game. Purdue is currently 2nd in the B1G while Ohio State is 7th.
Purdue has two players that average double figures scoring per game. They are 6’1″ G Carsen Edwards (23.4), and 6’6″ G Ryan Cline (12.2). Nojel Eastern averages 10.6 rebounds per game and Edwards averages 3.2 assists per game.
In their previous game, Edwards went off for 27 points and Cline 13 points. Matt Haarms, the 7’3″ Dutchman, had 7 rebounds.