Ohio State defends home court against Hawkeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Defending national runner-up Ohio State defended its home court Wednesday with a 79-48 victory over the University of Iowa in men’s basketball at Value City Arena.

Ohio State (12-3 overall, 3-0 Big Ten) has now won eight games in a row and is off to its fastest start since 1992. The Hawkeyes are 7-9, 0-3.

“It was so quickly done,” Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter said. “We lost our composure early and could never make it up. So much of it comes to being able to concentrate on the task at hand. We really struggled.”

UI junior Tony Freeman led all scorers with 21 points and he handed out a team-high three assists. After the Hawkeyes closed within 18-14 on a Freeman three-pointer at the 10:54 mark in the first half, Ohio State went on a 32-3 run during a span of 10:58 at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second. The Buckeyes led by as many as 37 in the second half.

Cyrus Tate joined Freeman in double figures, scoring 10 points. It was another solid outing for Tate, who made 4 of 5 field goals, 2 of 3 free throws with six rebounds.

The Buckeyes led 45-17 at halftime and played a turnover-free first 20 minutes (Iowa had nine first-half miscues).

“We got off to a great start,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. “Our defense got us moving offensively. That’s the piece we’ve been looking for. We got rolling there a little bit.”

Iowa converted 33.9 percent from the field (19 of 56) and was successful on 6 of 33 from beyond the arc. The Buckeyes made 52.4 percent from the field (33 of 63). Ohio State held a 31-7 advantage in bench scoring.

“This was so painful,” Lickliter said. “The only thing we can do is go back to work.”

Justin Johnson made three more three-point goals for the Hawkeyes and pulled down seven rebounds. Kurt Looby added seven points on 3 of 4 shooting from the field with four offensive rebounds.

UI’s Dan Bohall saw his first action since Dec. 1 (six games) and played nine minutes with two assists.

The Hawkeyes return to the court Saturday, Jan. 12, when they host No. 6 Michigan State with a 7:35 p.m. start.