IOWA CITY – It was more of the same for the Iowa men’s basketball team on Thursday night against Ohio State. The Hawkeyes struggled in the first half and couldn’t overcome that poor start en route to a 92-81 loss, remaining winless in Big Ten Conference play.
Here are three takeaways from the game.
1. “This is easy”
After an first-half 3-pointer by Ohio State guard Kam Williams, who had 11 points in the first 10 minutes, the senior turned to Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery and shouted “this is easy!”
For the vast majority of the first half, and many parts of the second half, Williams was right. The Hawkeyes (9-8, 0-4) were chasing on defense, lost on switches and the Buckeyes (12-4, 3-0) either had open 3-pointers or layups on the majority of possessions.
Iowa’s loss was in essence a repeat of the loss to Michigan on Tuesday: a poor first half in which both ends of the floor looked lost or disconnected, and a second half that was better, but not nearly enough. Keita Bates-Diop went for 26 points and 11 rebounds, Jae’Sean Tate had 18 points and seven rebounds, and Williams finished with 13 points. Oho State had 42 points in the paint.
2. Lineup questions
On more than one occasion Thursday night, Iowa’s lineups were quizzical. Most glaring came in the second half.
With 8:54 to go, Iowa was down 14, and McCaffery’s substitutions left Maishe Dailey, Isaiah Moss, Ahmad Wagner, Ryan Kriener and Luka Garza on the floor. That lineup did not feature Iowa’s most productive players on offense, and the result was evident in the two minutes that lineup played together.
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The timing of certain substitutions has yet to follow a specific pattern this season, while McCaffery continues to play 11 players with regularity.
3. Cook, Garza, Bohannon bright spots on offense
At least offensively, it was another productive night for Tyler Cook on Thursday. The sophomore finished with 21 points and nine rebounds – and just one turnover – in 27 minutes, missing a good chunk of the first half in foul trouble. He was held out of the paint quite a bit, but capitalized on offensive rebounds a few times and with his jumper. Iowa wasn’t totally reliant on him this time around, though.
Freshman Luka Garza had a productive game, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds with one turnover – the first time this season he’s had double-digit points against a Power-5 conference team. Sophomore Jordan Bohannon finished with a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists with just one turnover.