After a short return home, where they beat Michigan 72-51 on Tuesday night, Ohio State hits the road again to take on Iowa this afternoon. The Buckeyes will be looking to get a little payback for the December 30th game in Columbus, where Iowa earned a 71-65 win in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
In the game in Columbus, Iowa never trailed after the opening minute, building an early 17-5 lead on their way to taking a 43-31 halftime lead. The 12-point deficit at half was the biggest for Ohio State at home since February 2010 against Purdue. Jarrod Uthoff and Aaron White each had 18 points for the Hawkeyes in the victory.
Ohio State was able to cut the Iowa lead to 63-60 in the second half, but that is as close as they would get. D'Angelo Russell struggled from the field, hitting only four of the 16 shots he took on his way to scoring 13 points. Sam Thompson had a team-high 17 points in the loss.
The Buckeyes were able to rebound from a loss to Indiana over the weekend, which knocked them out of the top-25, with a 72-51 win over Michigan on Tuesday night in Columbus. Ohio State used a 26-10 run to end the first half, and a 13-0 run to start the second half to erase any doubt against their rivals. D'Angelo Russell scored over 20 points for the third time in four games, finishing with 21 points.
What propelled Ohio State to a win over the Wolverines on Tuesday night was tough defense to go along with an offense that was sharing the basketball. The Buckeyes recorded 11 steals against the Wolverines, which helped to secure the 39-10 run that spanned halftime. Ohio State also recorded 20 assists on their 28 baskets in the game, with Shannon Scott dishing out a team-high eight assists.
In their most recent outing, Iowa won on the road against Minnesota 77-75 on a Jarrod Uthoff jumper with 3.5 seconds to go. The Hawkeyes had held a 17-point lead in the game, but Minnesota scored on 15 of 16 possessions to erase the deficit. Uthoff's jumper gave him a career-high 22 points, with 16 of those points coming in the second half.
With a 3-1 record in Big Ten play this season, this marks the first time since 2005-06 that Iowa has had a share of the Big Ten lead. Now the Hawkeyes will be trying to sweep the season series with the Buckeyes, and ending a streak of five straight games in Iowa City that saw Ohio State leave as the winner. The last time the Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena was in February of 2008.
Numbers To Know
If Ohio State has a lead late in the second half, they know how to close the game out. So far this season, the Buckeyes are 13-0 when they have the lead with 5 minutes to go in the second half. Where the Buckeyes get into trouble is when they get down in the first half and build themselves a hole they can't dig out of, like in the first meeting between these teams in Columbus.
Iowa is 6-0 so far this season when they have made at least eight three-pointers. In their game in December in Columbus, the Hawkeyes hit eight three-pointers, with Jarrod Uthoff hitting four of those. Iowa hit eight three-pointers in the win against Minnesota on Tuesday night, which marked the first time Iowa had hit eight three-pointers in a game since the Hawkeyes did against the Buckeyes in December.
Fitting that if the Buckeyes beat the Hawkeyes this afternoon, Thad Matta will tie former Iowa coach Dr. Tom Davis for 15th all-time on the Big Ten conference wins list. On Tuesday night Matta picked up his 124th Big Ten win, and a win over Iowa will match Davis' 125 Big Ten wins.
Cast of Characters
The freshman continued to impress with his 21-point performance against the Wolverines on Tuesday night, but he was also getting done on the defensive end. The four steals Russell notched against Michigan were a career-high. Russell also dished out six assists in the blowout win, and now is tops among true freshman with 90 assists on the season. Russell will be wanting to rebound for a shaky performance against the Hawkeyes the first time out, scoring only 13 points while also dealing with some foul trouble.
The senior has been strong in Big Ten play so far for the Buckeyes, hitting double figures in scoring in four of the five games. Last time out against the Hawkeyes, Thompson tied a season-high with 17 points. After scoring 12 points on Tuesday night, much like Russell, Thompson set a career-high with five steals against the Wolverines. Four of the steals for Thompson were in the first half. Ohio State will need Thompson to continue to be strong on the defensive end to avoid suffering another loss to Iowa.
The junior from Cedar Rapids reached double-figures for the fifth straight game on Tuesday night on his way to setting a career-high. Uthoff is the only player in Division I with 25 or more three-pointers, 25 or more blocks, and 20 or more steals. The 6-8 forward started out his career with Wisconsin but transferred back to his home state following his freshman year with the Badgers, in which he redshirted.
The senior from Strongsville, Ohio not only leads the Hawkeyes in scoring, averaging 15.8 points per game, but he also leads Iowa in rebounding, pulling down 7.1 rebounds per game. White has reached double figures in all of two of Iowa's games this year, and is a threat to hit from inside and also from out near the perimeter. The Buckeyes will have to do a better job at keeping White off the glass than they did in the first meeting, with White nearly notching a double-double after tallying nine rebounds.
How to Watch/Stream
TV: 2 p.m. ET, ESPN
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