IOWA CITY, Iowa — A tough, gutty second-half performance lifted the 25th-ranked University of Iowa men’s basketball team to a 72-62 victory over No. 16/17 Ohio State on Saturday afternoon on Mediacom Court inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Hawkeyes have won three straight Big Ten games to even their record at 3-3. Iowa is 14-3 overall.
After trailing 26-24 at the half, Iowa dominated the second half, outscoring the Buckeyes, 48-36. Iowa limited Ohio State to 37.5 percent shooting and forced 10 more Buckeye turnovers.
Ohio State committed 21 turnovers for the game, leading to 18 Iowa points.
“Even in the first half when couldn’t get our lead, our defense was good, holding them to 26,” said sophomore Luka Garza. “Our offense only had 24, but we came out in the second half and continued with our defense, but stepped it up on the offensive end.”
Trailing 30-28 with 18 minutes to play, the Hawkeyes took control, reeling off nine straight points. Garza provided the spark, scoring seven straight, including a 3-pointer at the 16:22 mark that gave the Hawkeyes a 35-30 lead. Junior Tyler Cook capped the run with a one-handed slam over the Buckeyes’ Kyle Young to make the score 37-30.
After Ohio State trimmed the lead to 42-38, junior Ryan Kriener had back-to-back field goals to push the lead to 46-38. Iowa extended its lead to double figures at the free throw line.
The Hawkeyes hit seven free throws in a 58-second stretch, including four straight from freshman Joe Wieskamp to extend the lead to 12 points. An Isaiah Moss 3-pointer and a Garza layup stretched Iowa’s advantage to a game-high 16 points (61-45) with 5:14 to play.
Garza led Iowa with 16 points, making 6-of-7 field goals, while Cook had 15 points and eight rebounds. Kriener finished with 11 points and Wieskamp added 10. Bohannon scored six points, but had eight of Iowa’s 15 assists.
“All of our bigs did a good job today posting up and getting open,” said Garza. “Our guards were finding us and our bigs were finding us on high-lows. That’s the brand of basketball we play, inside-out.”
The Hawkeyes shot 55.6 percent in the second half (15-of-27) and 45.5 percent (25-of-55) for the game, while Iowa’s defense limited Ohio State to 37.3 percent shooting and had 11 steals, tying a season-high.
Iowa made 18-of-25 free throws for the game; Ohio State was 8-of-11.
QUOTING HEAD COACH FRAN MCCAFFERY
“The press was good to us in the second half. They had 11 turnovers at halftime, too. In the second half, the press got them playing a little side-to-side and it was an intregal part of when we finally got a little separation.”
IOWA NEUTRALIZES WESSON
The Hawkeyes’ game plan was to go at Ohio State big man Kaleb Wesson and it paid off. Wesson was whistled for his first foul 2:04 into the game and he was called for an offensive foul 32 seconds later, sending the Buckeyes’ leading scorer to the bench.
“We wanted to get in and attack him,” said Garza. “They’re a better team with him on the floor. Our mentality was to go inside and try to get him to foul. We were aggressive, I did a good job, Ryan came in and did a good job, and TC (Cook). When you get him off the floor, it makes it easier to beat them.”
Iowa’s frontcourt trio held Wesson to two points on 1-of-5 shooting and Wesson committed five turnovers. He entered the game averaging 17.1 points.
“We wanted to play physical with him, go through him, and try to get him to foul,” said Kriener.
JBO JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB
Junior Jordan Bohannon became the 48th player to score 1,000 career points with a free throw with 1:19 remaining in the game. The guard finished with six points, but he had a game-high eight assists, matching a season-high.
“He was great today, he pushed the ball and hit a big 3 early,” said McCaffery. “They were up into him, which is not uncommon for him. He moved it, got it inside, and we executed when we had to. I am proud of him.”
Iowa finished with a 36-18 advantage in points in the paint.
The Iowa-Ohio State all-time series is now even, 80-80.
The 62 points allowed by Iowa are the fewest allowed in conference play.
Cook finished the game with 15 points and eight rebounds, marking the 10th straight games totaling 15+ points and 5+ rebounds. Cook is the first Hawkeye to accomplish the feat since James Winters the first 10 games of the 1993-94 season.
Twenty-five of last 37 meetings between Iowa and Ohio State have been decided by 10 points or fewer.
ON THE HORIZON
Iowa returns to action Wednesday at Penn State. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. (CT) at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pennsylvania.