Jan. 22, 2013
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — The fight, the grit and the guts were there, but in the end, the result was not.
Despite a furious second half rally, the University of Iowa men’s basketball team fell to No. 14/15 Ohio State, 72-63, Tuesday night at Value City Arena in Columbus. The Hawkeyes fall to 13-6 overall and 2-4 in the Big Ten; Ohio State improves to 14-4 overall and 4-2 in league play.
“The end of the first half just killed us and the beginning of the second half got to us a little bit,” said UI junior Zach McCabe. “We had a good comeback, but we couldn’t finish it in the end.”
Iowa could have packed it in when the deficit reached 24 points (53-29) at the 12:48 mark of the second half. Instead, Iowa came storming back.
McCabe provided Iowa a spark off the bench when the Hawkeyes needed it most. The forward scored the first seven points to make the score 53-36 with 10:39 to play. Freshman Anthony Clemmons followed with four straight points before McCabe made 1-of-2 free throws to make the score 54-41.
“I thought McCabe was great,” said UI head coach Fran McCaffery. “He really affected the game when we put him in.”
Following two Aaron Craft free throws, senior Eric May drained a 3-pointer to cut the margin to 12 (56-44) before junior Melsahn Basabe’s dunk made the score 57-46. Clemmon’s 3-pointer at the 5:54 mark closed out Iowa’s 20-5 run to cut the deficit to eight points (57-49) with 5:54 to play.
The Hawkeyes kept coming.
Two Roy Devyn Marble free throws made the score 63-56 with 3:05 remaining before a jumper by sophomore Aaron White trimmed the deficit to five with 2:33 left. A White free throw then got Iowa to within four (63-59) with 1:29 left.
Ohio State made its free throws down the stretch and the Buckeyes went over the top of the Iowa press to stave off the Iowa rally.
“We knew we had to come in with the deficit we had and we knew we had to keep fighting to give ourselves a chance to get back into the game,” said McCabe. “Everyone played as hard as they could, we just can’t wait until the second half to get going.”
White was the only Hawkeye who landed in double digits, finishing with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting to go along with seven rebounds. Clemmons finished with nine points and three Iowa players — Marble, May and McCabe — each netted eight points. Basabe also had seven points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
The Hawkeyes shot 35.5 percent (22-of-62) from the field and made 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) from 3-point range. Ohio State made 27-of-52 field goals (51.9 percent) and was 4-of-10 from long range. Iowa held a 40-34 advantage on the glass, which included 22 offensive rebounds, but the Hawkeyes struggled from the free throw stripe, converting 13-of-26 (50 percent) of their attempts.
“There are so many statistical lines that are effort lines, and we were great in all those areas,” said McCaffery. “That was an issue against Michigan State at home and an issue down the stretch against Indiana.
“That is so critical when you play teams that are ranked that you execute our offense. You can’t play this well and this hard in certain areas and shoot 35 percent.”
Four Buckeyes finished in double figures with junior Deshaun Thomas leading the way with 16 points and seven rebounds. Craft and Lenzelle Smith, Jr., had 12 points and Evan Ravenel finished with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
Despite missing all but three of its first 14 shots, Iowa led 11-10 at the 13:05 mark thanks to its work on the offensive glass to the tune of seven boards. With the score 13-12, the Buckeyes reeled off seven straight points to take a 19-13 lead before May drained a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead in half.
Ohio State went on to push its lead to 25-18 on a LaQuinton Ross jumper at the 4:31 mark before sophomore Gabriel Olaseni’s dunk cut the deficit to 25-20 with 3:27 to go in the half. From there, the Buckeyes went on a 9-2 run, including four points in the final five seconds, to take a 34-22 lead into the break.
Iowa made 8-of-32 first half field goals, while Ohio State was 15-of-28. The Hawkeyes kept the deficit manageable thanks to a 23-15 rebounding advantage, which included 11 offensive boards.
The Hawkeyes return to action Sunday, facing Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind. Game time is set for 2:36 p.m. (CT) inside Mackey Arena.