Oh So Close

March 3, 2009


by Sean Neugent

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The three-pointer was good to the University of Iowa men’s basketball team all night until the last second when the Hawkeyes watched a three-pointer from Jermain Davis rattle in-and-out to lose to Ohio State, 60-58, inside Carver Hawkeye Arena on Tuesday night.

“It was a heck of a test and we have sure been tested this year in a number of ways,” UI head coach Todd Lickliter said. “You just have to figure out how to respond to them. A wise guy once said you get bitter or you get better, so we will get better.”

The last time Iowa saw Ohio State, on New Year’s Eve, they drilled 14 three-pointers, but lost 68-65. It marked the first Big Ten game on the season. UI head coach Todd Lickliter had his run and gun offense working at its finest. This time the Hawkeyes hit 12 from long-range, but again came up just short. “Losing is frustration,” Lickliter said. “It is at a ten on the scale all the time, it makes me sick.”

Iowa (14-16 overall, 4-13 Big Ten Conference) shot 19 of 45 (42 percent) from the floor, 12 of 29 (41 percent) from three-point range, and 8 of 10 (80 percent) from the free throw line. Ohio State (19-9, 9-8) shot 25 of 45 (56 percent) from the field, 7 of 14 (50 percent) from deep, and 3 of 6 (50 percent) from the free throw line.

The Hawkeyes were led by Devan Bawinkel, who was 8 of 13 from three-point range and finished with 24 points. Jake Kelly had 19 points and a career-high 11 rebounds for his first double-double of his career. Matt Gatens added 11 points for the Hawkeyes. The Buckeyes were led by Evan Turner with 22 points and nine assists while Jon Diebler scored 12 points.

“They run a lot of zone but a lot of times our big guys make good screens,” said Bawinkel of his ability to get open against Ohio State. “Our guards find us; they have great vision, so it is a combination.”

“That’s what he (Bawinkel) is supposed to do,” Lickliter said. “He had some great looks. Jake had a great game, delivered the ball well.”

The Buckeyes got on the board first. But, the Hawkeyes responded with an inbounds pass to Gatens for an easy layup, Bawinkel drilled a trifecta, and Cole hit a layup in between three defenders for the lead, 7-2.

Ohio State hit two three’s and a layup to regain the lead, 10-9. Kelly captured it right back with an open look mid-range jumper. The Buckeyes moved ahead 15-11 before Bawinkel drained another long-range jumper.

The Hawkeyes forced three consecutive Buckeye turnovers. Ohio State hit two free throws before Kelly fell down before stealing the ball and threw it up court to Gatens, who hit the layup. Gatens tied it up on the ensuing possession with a trey before Fuller assisted Bawinkel for another three to make it 22-19.

Kelly hit two free throws on the following possession before Ohio State was called for an offensive foul. Iowa put the ball back in Bawinkel’s hands for another from deep and led, 27-19. Ohio State quickly hit two three-pointers to trail by two with 3:06 remaining in the half. The Buckeyes tied it up before taking the lead with two jumpers from Buford. Kelly hit a deep three with .05 seconds remaining to give the Hawkeyes a 32-30 lead and the momentum heading into halftime.

Kelly immediately put the Hawkeyes up by four on the first possession of the second half. Gatens and Bawinkel then drilled back to back treys. The Buckeyes held their ground and trailed, 40-37. Diebler drilled a trey to tie the game with 15:44 remaining.

Turner gave the Buckeyes their first lead of the half with a jumper. Bawinkel again drilled from behind the perimeter to tie the game back up at 44-44. The Hawkeyes set up a pick and roll and gave it to Bawinkel who again drilled a trifecta with 10:03 left.

Turner had a dunk to give the Buckeyes a three-point lead. Kelly pushed the ball up court and was fouled on a three point attempt, making all three of his shots to tie it back up. After another Bawinkel three, the Buckeyes’ Walter Offutt and Turner hit layups to lead by three. Kelly continued to make clutch shots and drilled a three-ball to knot the game with 2:28 left.

“I thought the difference in the game was the last two to three minutes,” Lickliter said. “They were able to drive to the boards and we couldn’t stop them from getting there.”

Ohio State led by two but Turner lost the ball out of bounds to give the Hawkeyes the possession with .27 seconds left in the game. The Hawkeyes had a chance to tie it up but Jermain Davis missed a layup opportunity after it was tipped. Iowa fouled Turner who missed the one and one free throw. Kelly rushed it up court and gave it to Davis who had an open look three but it rattled in and out of the basket as time expired.

“They were definitely covering Devan (on the last play),” Kelly said. “I wanted to go to him, but Jermain, he can knock that down, and he was wide open.”

“It’s really frustrating,” Bawinkel said. “It seems to be happening a lot this year (going down to the wire). Looking at the scoreboard and seeing Iowa losing, it is just tough to swallow.”

The Hawkeyes will remain home for their regular season finale against Penn State on Saturday with a 1:05 p.m. tipoff.

“It’s tough losing these games but we have to put it behind us,” Kelly said. “We have Penn State is coming up on senior night. It is some of our player’s last game at Carver Hawkeye.”

“We feel like we can compete with anyone,” Bawinkel said. “Now it is just a matter of getting wins.”