Hawkeyes Fall Short of No. 20 Buckeyes, 65-57

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Jan. 27, 2010

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By Sean Neugent

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men were in control of their own destiny, but in the last few minutes No. 20 Ohio State stole the lead and defeated the Hawkeye men’s basketball team in a hard-fought game, 65-57, inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Wednesday.

The Hawkeyes (8-13 overall, 2-6 Big Ten) shot 20 of 55 (36 percent) from the floor, 10 of 31 (32 percent) from 3-point range and 7 of 10 from the free throw line.

Iowa was led in scoring by freshman Eric May with 18 points. Jarryd Cole and Brennan Cougill each collected nine rebounds while Cully Payne led the Hawkeyes with six assists.

“I believed in them the whole way,” UI head coach Todd Lickliter said. “I’m really disappointed, not in their effort, but the outcome. There are certain things going on, you can’t just play the game. You have to understand what’s going on in the game. You have to attack and play with an aggression and it has to be a calculated aggression. We just made too many errors to beat a team. They were errors of that nature –not paying attention, not knowing who should set the ball screen and things that we covered that we should have avoided. They turned it up. It was ours to control and we just didn’t finish it.”

Ohio State (15-6, 5-3) took the initial lead before Gatens looked to pass and instead drained a long range jumper to get the Hawkeyes offense in motion, 3-2. It was the only Hawkeye points scored within the first seven minutes, but a strong defensive effort held the Buckeyes’ offense in check.

With 12:50 remaining in the half, proficient ball work gave John Lickliter an open look for the trifecta to knot the score at 6-6. Ohio State took a 14-10 lead, but the Hawkeyes struck right back. Cougill hit a short jumper and Devan Bawinkel followed with a 3-pointer on the next possession to tie the score at 14-14 with 6:43 left in the half.

The Hawkeye offense was just heating up, scoring on four straight possessions. Aaron Fuller misfired on a midrange jumper and Cole tipped it in. Cole drained a short jumper the next time down the court for an 18-14 advantage and capped off an 8-0 run. The Hawkeyes walked into the locker room with even more momentum when Cully Payne drove the lane and did a reverse layup sending Hawkeye fans to their feet. Iowa led 25-20 at half.

The Buckeyes quickly tied the score out of the gate in the second half with momentum drifting in their direction. Payne took matters into his own hands when he drove to the basket and hit a tough layup before he was fouled. He hit the free throw after a timeout for a 31-28 advantage.

Defense on both ends stymied each other’s offense, not allowing any easy baskets. The Hawkeyes continued to make timely shots and May gave them some room to breath after drilling two 3-pointers in a row for a 42-36 advantage.

Iowa continued to dominate on the boards following the Indiana win and were not allowing Ohio State to get any second-chance looks. Ohio State’s William Buford cut it to a one-possession game with 6 minutes remaining after hitting two from the charity stripe.

Fuller went up strong down low to draw a foul and hit two free throws to stretch the lead, 47-42. Ohio State quickly came within two points, but May continued to make clutch shots for a 50-45 lead. The Buckeyes continued to answer after Jon Diebler assisted David Lighty for a 3-pointer to trail by two points.

Ohio State tied the score on an inbounds pass to Dallas Lauderdale for a layup and Lighty gave the Buckeyes the lead on the following possession, 52-50.

“We were in control of the game for the first 37 minutes,” Cole said. “In the last three (minutes) it seemed like we were just hoping the time would run out. During that spurt they took control and came out with the win.”

The Hawkeyes began to fade in the final minutes after Gatens attempted to throw an inbounds pass to Payne that was picked off by Evan Turner who had an uncontested slam dunk for a 57-50 advantage. Iowa kept fighting and found May for a long range jumper to cut it to four with 48-seconds remaining. Iowa was forced to foul with time winding down and the Buckeyes hit their free throws to seal the game.

“I don’t want to take anything away from our guys,” Lickliter said. “They really battled and they controlled the game for a lot of it. We defended to the last few minutes – we were guarding one of the best teams in the nation. When it was time to finish, we got a little apprehensive.”

“It’s tough, especially the way the game was going the first 37 minutes,” May said. “I felt like we were in control and we were playing really well as a team. That last three minutes we just really couldn’t get much going on offense and it is tough.”

The Hawkeyes will travel to Ann Arbor to face Big Ten foe Michigan on Saturday with a 3:35 p.m. tipoff.