By RUSTY MILLER
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It’s been a tough week for No. 14 Iowa.
The Hawkeyes came into Big Ten play this week with a nine-game winning streak, but are now 0-2 in the conference after an 81-69 loss to Ohio State on Saturday.
“We were really playing well and now we look like a different basketball team,” coach Steve Alford said.
Iowa (12-3, 0-2), fell to Michigan on Wednesday, but now have a week off before its next game.
“We need the bye week,” Alford said. “Both Michigan and Ohio State played really well and we didn’t get the job done.”
Iowa is 0-2 in league play for the first time in 11 years.
“It’s unfortunate this came at the start of the Big Ten season,” the coach said, “but I told the guys that 0-2 is not the end of the season.”
Maybe not, but it doesn’t bode well that the Hawkeyes still have to play No. 1 Illinois twice, in addition to six other tough conference road games.
Terence Dials scored 22 points and drew attention away from Ohio State’s perimeter shooters as the Buckeyes (12-3, 1-1) never trailed.
“He attracts players,” Ohio State swingman Je’Kel Foster said of Dials.
Every time Dials touched the ball down low, Iowa players surrounded him. He frequently passed the ball back outside for an open shot.
“We didn’t want them shooting 3s and we tried to defend Dials at the same time,” Alford said. “We didn’t defend him, and their 3-point shooters shot well.”
A 12-0 first-half run allowed Ohio State to build a double-figure lead.
Dials hit 8-of-12 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line. He had scored just seven points on 2-of-5 shooting in Wednesday night’s 84-65 loss to Illinois.
“We’ve learned to keep within our system,” Dials said. “I got a couple of big guys in foul trouble and the guards did a great job of getting me the ball.”
The attention to Dials opened things up on the perimeter.
Tony Stockman hit 5-of-7 3-pointers and added 19 points for Ohio State, which was 12-for-28 from behind the arc. Foster matched his career high with 12 points for the Buckeyes, hitting 4-of-7 3-pointers.
“We were successful with our 3-point shooting because they had to worry about Terence,” Stockman said.
Pierre Pierce had a career-best 31 points on a variety of drives to the hoop and outside shots with defenders draped over him. Greg Brunner added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawkeyes.
Down 47-32 at the half, Iowa cut the lead to nine with a 9-0 run – Brunner hitting two free throws and a basket in the surge. Ohio State coach Thad Matta slammed his open hand across the front of the scorer’s table – making a loud noise in an arena growing quieter by the minute – when Brunner’s offensive-rebound basket cut the lead to 59-49 a few minutes later.
The teams traded baskets for the next 8 minutes until Stockman tossed in a high arching 3-pointer from 5 feet behind the arc for a 70-57 lead with 5:16 left. Iowa never got closer than 11 points again.
The Buckeyes never trailed. With the score tied at 24 midway through the first half, the Hawkeyes began having trouble handling the ball.
Dials kicked off the 12-0 run with a quick move inside, before J.J. Sullinger dunked a follow off Brandon Fuss-Cheatham’s missed layup in traffic. After Iowa’s second consecutive turnover while trying to drive the middle, Matt Sylvester slashed from the left wing across the lane, hitting a finger roll while being fouled. His three-point play made it 31-24.
The Buckeyes got four shots from the field on their next possession – after yet another Iowa turnover – with Sullinger taking an alley-oop pass from Foster and hitting a reverse layup. Foster then added a 3-pointer to cap the run.