Feb. 4, 2014
By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The cold, wintery conditions outside carried over on to Mediacom Court on Tuesday night, as the No. 13/17 University of Iowa men's basketball team couldn't overcome a 3-of-20 performance from 3-point range in a 76-69 loss to No. 25 Ohio State inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes shot 60 percent (24-of-40) from inside the 3-point arc, but time-and-time again Iowa settled on the 3-ball. The team made just 15 percent from 3-point land for the game, and didn't help matters by going 12-of-19 from the free throw stripe.
"When we saw they weren't going, we should have got to the hoop a little better," said junior Aaron White, who was limited to eight points on 3-of-9 shooting, including 0-of-2 from long range. "Except for a couple, most of them were good shots, they just didn't fall. To only make three and have good shooters like we have is disappointing.
"We couldn't get stops, couldn't get scores, didn't seem like anything was going for us. We couldn't make a jump shot, couldn't make a free throw... it was a tough night."
Iowa kept the game within reach with a 38-25 rebounding advantage, including 15 offensive rebounds, which led to 11 second-chance points.
Ohio State slowed down the pace and converted in the second half, shooting 54.2 percent (13-of-24) over the final 20 minutes en route to 45 points. The Buckeyes finished at 51 percent (25-of-49) for the game, made 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from 3-point land for the game, and went 19-of-24 from the foul line.
"If you want to look where we lost the game, it was with defense in the second half," said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. "We were running well, but it's much easier to run on misses and get your confidence going and things of that nature."
Sophomore Mike Gesell led a trio of Hawkeyes in double figures, finishing with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Junior Gabriel Olaseni scored 14 points, making 5-of-5 field goals and all four free throw attempts. Senior Roy Devyn Marble added 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting and had five rebounds.
Ohio State used a balanced scoring attack with five players reaching double figures. Senior Aaron Craft led all scorers with 17 points -- 14 coming in the first half -- on 6-of-7 shooting. He also had six assists and six steals in 39 minutes.
After leading 33-31 at the break, Ohio State grabbed the momentum early in the second half when Lenzelle Smith, Jr., scored the Buckeyes' first eight points to give Ohio State a 39-36 lead at the 16:17 mark. Iowa spent the rest of the half playing catchup.
Down 50-47 with 9:17 remaining, the Buckeyes turned a flagrant foul on Olaseni into a four-point possession. Buckeye center Amir Williams knocked down both free throws and converted a layup to push the lead to 54-46 with 8:26 to play. Ohio State extended the lead to 58-49 with 6:19 left courtesy of back-to-back layups by LaQuinton Ross and Shannon Scott.
Following an Iowa timeout, Gesell tried to bring the Hawkeyes life when he made a pair of field goals sandwiched in between an Adam Woodbury free throw to cut the lead to 60-54. Iowa then buckled down defensively, but a perfectly executed inbounds play deflated the Hawkeyes' hopes.
After playing 33 seconds of solid team defense, Williams' slammed home a dunk off an inbounds play under the basket with just two seconds remaining on the shot clock to push the lead six and Sam Thompson followed with a 3-pointer to make it a 63-54 Buckeye advantage with 3:56 to play.
"It was a big play," said McCaffery. "When you're in that situation, guys don't want to give up everything, and they started running picks. We thought they would run a back pick for (Sam) Thompson, and they ran a back pick for Williams. We chased it, so that was unfortunate."
Iowa managed to cut the lead to 63-59 with 1:46 remaining on a jumper by Anthony Clemmons, but Craft had an answer, converting an "and one" on the ensuing possession with the shot clock winding down to thwart the Hawkeye comeback attempt.
After falling behind 11-9 over the first eight minutes, Olaseni provided the Hawkeyes instant offense. The junior scored consecutive field goals to give Iowa a 13-11 lead and eight-straight Hawkeye points, pushing the score to 17-17 with 7:50 left in the first half.
Ohio State reeled off the game's first run, scoring nine-straight points, capped off by a Craft 3-pointer to push the Buckeye lead to 26-17 with 5:33 left in the first half. Woodbury ended the spurt with a lay-up following a pair of offensive rebounds and senior Zach McCabe followed with a 3-pointer -- Iowa's first make in 10 attempts -- to wake up the crowd -- and force an Ohio State timeout.
Gesell kept the crowd energized with a three-point play to close the gap to 26-25, but Craft connected on his second 3-pointer two minutes later to keep the Buckeyes on top, 31-27. Iowa scored the final six points to lead 33-31 at the break. Marble's three-point cut the lead to 31-30 before White scored the last three points -- the final coming on a dunk after Gesell and Marble picked Craft's pocket with a double team at midcourt.
The Hawkeyes were plus nine on the glass, 22-13, but made just 1-of-11 first half 3-point field goals. Ohio State made four 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes and shot 48 percent (12-of-25) from the field.
Iowa (17-6, 6-4) returns to action Saturday, hosting No. 10/16 Michigan at 1 p.m. (CT).
"We played hard tonight, but didn't play well, never got in sync, got behind, weren't in sync defensively, and made more mistakes than we normally make," said McCaffery. "We have to learn from it and get ready for Saturday because Michigan is the No. 1 team in our league right now."