Hawkeyes Fight to Bitter End in Columbus
Iowa trailed by 22 midway through the second half in Columbus, but rallied back to trail by four before falling made it a game before falling 72-63 to Ohio State
Midway through the second half, Iowa’s game at Ohio State looked eerily similar to their blowout loss at Michigan.
The Hawkeyes played decent defense for the majority of the first half despite a horrible shooting effort but came down and took a quick shot when it could have sat on the last possession and trailed by just eight at the break. Ohio State scored and was fouled, missed the free throw and got a put back to lead 34-22 heading into intermission.
Ohio State then pushed their lead to 24 points and it looked like the Hawks were mailing in another road beat down, but this time they did not quit.
Anthony Clemmons was a catalyst for Iowa and the Hawkeyes pulled to within eight points on two different occasions with under seven minutes to play and to within seven with 3:30 to play on a Mike Gesell three-point shot. Aaron White hit a driving shot with 2:30 to go that made it 63-58.
Aaron White was fouled with 1:30 to play and made just one of two to pull Iowa to within four at 63-59, keeping it a two-possession game. With 52.9 to play and Iowa down five, Gesell attacked the basket and his shot was blocked and Iowa fouled in the melee. Deshawn Thomas hit two free throws to put Ohio State up 66-59 and that was the ball game. Ohio State held on to win 72-63.
Ohio State is a good defensive team, one of the best in Big Ten play thus far in 2013. But the Hawkeyes remain a challenged team from mid to long range and that was the case again on Tuesday night as Iowa shot just 25 percent in the first half to over 50 percent for Ohio State. Iowa actually dominated the glass, especially on the offensive glass getting to double figures off their own misses and holding a 23-15 edge on the glass overall in the first half.
Devyn Marble struggled mightily in this game, shooting just 2-11 while he tries to shake off the effects of a turf toe injury he sustained when he rolled his ankle in practice before the Michigan State game, a game he did not play in.
While Iowa has had poor shooting nights from the floor this year, they’ve been solid from the line and entered the game as the league’s best free-throw shooting team. Even that area of Iowa’s game was off on Tuesday night, as the Hawks were just 13-26 from the charity stripe, including making just 1 of 4 over the final 89 seconds. Marble missed two of those with Iowa down seven and was just 3-6 from the line while Aaron White was 3-7.
Iowa shot just 22-62 for the game (35.5%) but did hit 6-18 from three, which is above their season average of 30%. Iowa won the battle of the boards 40-34 and held a 22-11 advantage on the offensive glass. Iowa committed 14 turnovers but forced 17, however Ohio State had nine blocked shots.
Iowa played better defense than the stat sheet showed, at least in my opinion. The Buckeyes were 27-52 (51.9%) but I just can’t find a great deal of fault with Iowa’s effort. The Hawkeyes just couldn’t shoot straight for too much of the game, from either the floor or the line and that was the difference. Deshawn Thomas, the league’s leading scorer, tallied just 16 which snapped a five-game streak of scoring at least 20 points.
Iowa was led in scoring by Aaron White’s 13 points. Anthony Clemmons had nine and three players scored eight. Melsahn Basabe had 10 rebounds and seven points.
Iowa’s next game is at Purdue on Sunday. While I wouldn’t say this is a ‘must win’ contest for Iowa’s NCAA hopes, it may be close. Purdue is a much improved team from the out of conference and it’s going to be a grind it out, ugly slugfest as that is the only way Purdue can win against solid competition. They are not a great outside shooting team and they don’t have many players who are going to break you down in one-on-one settings.
It’s definitely a game Iowa can win, but it’s a road game in a challenging environment. Perhaps Iowa can file away a few positive things from this comeback and put it together to get to 3-4 through their meat grinder of a first seven game league slate.
For now, Iowa falls to 13-6 and 2-4 in Big Ten play.