Jan. 7, 2012
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — The sellout crowd of 15,400 showed up in full force and electricity filled Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but sixth-ranked Ohio State took the wind out of the University of Iowa men’s basketball team’s sail.
After leading by nine points at the half, the Buckeyes blitzed Iowa in the second half to run out 76-47 winners on Mediacom Court. Ohio State outscored the Hawkeyes, 48-28, over the final 20 minutes and finished the game shooting 51.6 percent from the floor.
“The game didn’t go the way we wanted to at all,” said sophomore guard Roy Devyn Marble, who finished with five points on 1-of-8 shooting. “We didn’t contain (Jared) Sullinger at all. He did whatever he wanted, and we didn’t stick to the game plan like we were supposed to.”
Sullinger showed his NBA potential, finishing with 28 points on 13-of-18 shooting to go along with eight rebounds. OSU sophomore DeShaun Thomas was the only other player in double figures, netting 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
“We didn’t do a very good job on him, and it’s a collective thing,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery about Iowa’s defense on Sullinger. “We didn’t have enough ball pressure or enough weak side help. We didn’t recognize when to be on the high side, when to be in front, when to be behind.
“Sometimes you try to simulate it, and he’s a hard guy to simulate, because he’s just so quick.”
After falling behind by nine points twice in the first half, Iowa fed off the energy of the crowd to close the gap to 22-19 with 2:47 on the clock behind five points by Eric May. Ohio State closed out the half with three easy field goals, two of which were back-to-back dunks by J.D. Weatherspoon and Sullinger to take a 28-19 lead in the break.
Thomas opened the second half with a pick and pop 3-pointer to push the Buckeyes’ lead to 31-19 and spark a 10-2 OSU run to build a 38-21 advantage. The lead swelled to 20 points (47-27) at the 14-minute mark, and Ohio State cruised from there.
The Buckeyes put together a strong defensive effort, limiting the Hawkeyes to 32.1 percent (17-of-53) shooting from the floor and a 3-of-12 day from long range. Iowa also committed 20 turnovers, its second most of the season.
“They were locked in, and they came here ready to play,” said senior Matt Gatens, who finished with six points. “They weren’t taking us lightly. They’re a good squad, good defensively, and it showed tonight.”
May paced the Hawkeyes with nine points and six rebounds. He made 4-of-10 shots from the field. Freshman Josh Oglesby netted seven points, all of which came in the second half.
Things won’t get any easier, as the Hawkeyes head to East Lansing, Mich., to face No. 10/11 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
“You know, we win on the road, twice, we are not sneaking up on anybody anymore,” said McCaffery. “We got their best shot today. That’s what we have to understand, because the next two games are against ranked opponents, as well.
“We have to learn from it, grow and affect change. It is one game, it’s in the past, and now we have got to go on to the next one and come up with another game plan. We need to go out there and play with the level of intensity that we did the previous two games.”