Buckeyes Come From Behind to Defeat Iowa

The suddenly surging 7th ranked Ohio State basketball team went on the road, defeating their fourth straight ranked opponent in their building and sixth straight win over a top 10 opponent, beating the 8th ranked Hawkeyes 89-85 in Iowa City. The Buckeyes, who moved to 15-4 and 9-4 in the Big Ten, put four in double figures, led by 16 each for E.J. Liddell, Kyle Young and Duane Washington Jr., while Justice Sueing filled the stat sheet once again with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. The Hawkeyes lost for just the second time at home on the season slipped to 13-5 and 7-4 in Big Ten play were led by Jack Nunge and Jordan Bohannon’s 18 points, while Joe Weiskamp added 17 and Luka Garza had 16.

After a missed Duane Washington three on the opening possession, an Iowa turnover led to an E.J. Liddell 12 foot jumper to open the scoring. Iowa jumped ahead 5-4 just over 3 minutes into the game, but back-to-back triples from Liddell and Justice Sueing put Ohio State on top 10-5 at the first media timeout.  The Buckeyes were the aggressor in the opening four minutes, forcing Iowa into difficult shots and taking it at them on the offensive end, and unfortunately, a few missed opportunities at the rim or the margin could’ve been wider. A Luka Garza free throw trimmed the lead to four and another bucket cut it to two. The Buckeyes answered when Zed Key put down a short jump hook with the left hand over Garza and after an Iowa miss, C.J. Walker got to the rim off the bounce to put Ohio State up six. Garza, getting away with a push off, scored on a put back to cut it back to four, but Key again caught the ball deep on the block and scored. Another Iowa bucket cut it four but Washington hit a turnaround jumper just below the free throw stripe and Key scored on a put back to give Ohio State an eight-point lead. Iowa came roaring back, going on a quick 10-0 run to regain the lead at 22-20 forcing Ohio State to call timeout with 10:08 to go in the first half. Out of the timeout, Washington ended the run with a triple putting Ohio State back on top briefly before an Iowa 5-0 run gave the Hawkeyes a four point advantage. Washington scored off the dribble drive to trim the deficit to two and at the under 8 minute timeout, Iowa led Ohio State 27-25. Kyle Young scored on the baseline to even the score, but Iowa reclaimed the lead with a free throw, but Young drilled a pair of free throws himself to put Ohio State back on top. An Ohio State turnover turned into a dunk the other way putting Iowa back ahead, but Ohio State answered with a Sueing triple from the left wing and Ohio State went back up two. Iowa drilled a triple of their own as Joe Weiskamp found room at the top of the key, but E.J. Liddell knocked down a baseline jumper and the back and forth ball game continued. Garza scored at the rim as he was fouled and the teams hit the bench at the under 4 media timeout with Iowa on top by a point. Garza knocked down the free throw to put Iowa up 36-34 with just under four minutes to play in the half. An Iowa triple upped the Hawkeye lead to five but a pair of three’s from Meechie Johnson put Ohio State back on top a point. The Hawkeyes scored the next four to regain the lead by three and the lead was cut to one when Sueing hit a floater in the paint. A Garza bucket late ended the scoring for the half as Duane Washington’s desperation three fell off the mark at the horn with Iowa leading 45-42 after 20 minutes. Justice Sueing led Ohio State with 10 at the break, while Iowa got 11 each from Luka Garza, Jordan Bohannon and Jack Nunge. The team stat columns were very even as Ohio State shot 48.6% while Iowa made 47%, but the Hawks made 7 of their 14 attempts from long range, compared to 6 of 15 for the Buckeyes and Iowa went to the line 10 times, making 6, with the Buckeyes making their only two.

The Hawkeyes came out of the locker room firing, outscoring the Buckeyes 8-3 in the first couple minutes, with the Buckeyes only points coming from a Kyle Young triple. A pair of Liddell free throws trimmed the lead to six, but a Garza bucket put Iowa back up eight. Two free throws from Young and one from Liddell cut the deficit to five with just over 15 minutes remaining. An Iowa triple put the Hawkeyes back up eight and a Garza triple ballooned the lead to 11. A Key free throw and a pair of Washington triples had Ohio State roaring back in a hurry, trailing by just 4. After an Iowa score, Sueing found Liddell at the block for a score to cut the lead back to four. The Buckeyes cut the lead to just a pair following two Liddell freebies. After a Liddell block, Ohio State got out in transition and Walker was fouled going to the rim for a score. Walker, the nation’s leading free throw shooter, split the pair, a rare miss, but nonetheless cut the lead to one and Ohio State on an 12-2 run. Iowa went back up four when Weiskamp found the range from three, his fourth of the game. Gene Brown answered, banking in a three from the top and after an Iowa turnover, Washington found Young in the paint for a score to put Ohio State back ahead. Iowa reclaimed the lead on two separate occasions as the two teams countered each other and after Liddell found Young on the baseline for a dunk, Iowa took a timeout with the Buckeyes on top of the Hawkeyes 71-70 and 8:10 left to play. Following an Iowa miss, Liddell drilled a jumper from just inside the stripe, giving the Buckeyes a three point lead. An Iowa bucket cut the lead to one but a Sueing tip in put Ohio State back up three. Jordan Bohannon drilled his fourth three of the game to tie it, but the tie was broken when Key knocked down a free throw. Justin Ahrens pushed the lead to four with a triple but Jack Nunge of Iowa drilled his fourth triple of the game to cut the lead back to one. On the next Buckeye possession it was Ahrens again, drilling a three from the right point giving Ohio State a 82-78 lead at the under 4 media timeout and 3:40 showing on the clock. Out of  the timeout, Iowa split a pair of free throws to cut the lead to three, but Young drilled a three from the left corner, putting Ohio State up six. A pair of Iowa free throws cut the lead to four, but Ahrens answered with a triple from the left point giving Ohio State a seven point lead with just over 2 minutes to go. A pair of Hawkeye free throws cut the lead to five with 52 seconds remaining and Sueing was fouled in the backcourt almost immediately.  After Sueing missed the front end of the one and one, Iowa got a quick score and timeout, cutting the lead to three with 35 seconds left. Ohio State got the ball into the front court and finally Washington was fouled with 17 seconds remaining. He split the pair putting the Buckeyes up four and a mad scramble on the other end as Iowa could not score and the game ended with Ohio State walking off the court with a big road win.

The defense on the likely national player of the year, Garza told the story in this game, held to 10 points under his season average by Kyle Young and Zed Key and relentless doubling down to not let him get anything easy. Iowa hurt them from long range at times, but it was a pick your poison kind of evening and it led to an impressive win for Ohio State. The Buckeyes out rebounded Iowa 42-36 and out shot them 47.7% to 44.8% and both teams drilled 14 from beyond the arc. The balance of Ohio State and the emergence of Justice Sueing, who has made it a habit of putting up double doubles of late, has made the Buckeyes a serious threat not only in the Big Ten but nationally as well. Let’s not also forget the contributions of C.J. Walker, who once again led this team in the half court and dished out 9 dimes. Ohio State continues to be efficient offensively, only turning it over 6 times in this game while handing out 20 assists as a group. The depth and efficiency of this team is going to continue to make life difficult on their opponents going forward.

The Buckeyes will next take the floor once again on the road at Maryland on Monday night. Tip off is scheduled for 9pm and airing on FS1.

-Jason Harris

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