Their 3-point shooting was identical, Iowa’s and Ohio State’s, but it sure wasn’t when things mattered most.
The two men’s basketball teams put on an offensive exhibition in Carver-Hawkeye Arena Thursday night, but the No. 7 Buckeyes extended theirs over 40 minutes while the No. 8 Hawkeyes’ dried up with four minutes left.
Ohio State matched Iowa’s 14-of-32 mark from 3-point distance, got an 89-85 win, and kicked Iowa a little further down the Big Ten standings. The Buckeyes got their fourth straight road win over a ranked team and improved to 9-4 in the Big Ten, 15-4 total. Iowa lost for the third time in four games, falling to 7-4 in the conference, 13-5 overall. It is three games behind league-leading Michigan in the loss column.
“We’ve just got to stay connected, learn from our mistakes,” Iowa junior Joe Wieskamp said. “I say that every game, but we’ve really just got to learn from these because there’s too many mistakes we keep having.”
“I think we just need to communicate better in the zone (defense),” said Hawkeye senior guard Jordan Bohannon. “Man-to-man, zone, great defenses communicate and I think our communications are kind of lacking at that end of the floor.”
The Hawkeyes appeared on their way to a nice win when they opened a 61-50 lead with 14:29 left. Then the Buckeyes scored 38 points the rest of the way, scoring on 3-pointers, dunks, spin moves, free throws ... but mostly 3-pointers.
They made seven treys in that stretch, four from the 4:16-to-2:39 marks. Justin Ahrens, who basically shoots nothing but 3s, made three of them in that 12-6 run that bumped OSU’s lead to 88-81.
“Credit to them,” Wieskamp said. “They shot the crap out of it. They got guys going. (Duane) Washington got it going there for a stretch, hit a couple, and then (Kyle) Young hit the one in the corner, We’ve just got to do a better job closing into their space, making those shots tougher.”
Wieskamp and Luka Garza hit back-to-back 3-pointers for that 61-50 lead, but Washington sank two consecutive 3s of his own to help cut the gap to 61-57. Iowa’s breathing room yielded to something else.
“We can’t be casual on defense,” said Iowa’s Jack Nunge, who matched his career-high with 18 points including a career-high four 3-pointers. “When we take a lead, that’s where we’ve got to bury them.”
After 18 lead changes, the game was tied at 75 with 5:23 left. Then came Ahrens, who had been scoreless to that point. He had 25 second-half points two years ago in Columbus when the Buckeyes routed Iowa. He was just as damaging this time with his nine quick points.
The Hawkeyes were held to one basket in the final four minutes. After making 14 of their first 29 3-pointers, they shot three air balls from that distance in the game’s last 10 seconds for an ignominious finish to what had been an offensive showcase.
Bohannon matched Nunge’s 18 points. Wieskamp had 17. Garza, the nation’s leading scorer, was held 10 points under his average with 16. He took just seven 2-point shots in the game and was 2-of-8 overall from the floor in the second half.
Guards Joe Toussaint and Tony Perkins, factors in Iowa’s 84-78 win over Michigan State two nights earlier, saw little playing time but were used on defensive shifts late in this game. Maybe a little more of their defense was needed before the final minute.
Iowa played without starting guard CJ Fredrick (leg). The Hawkeyes play at Indiana Sunday at 11 a.m.