Iowa City, IA — In the first half, the No. 20 Iowa Hawkeyes kept a steady foot on the pedal as they got a healthy lead on the visiting #25 Ohio State Buckeyes. Thanks to their strong start, Iowa never let go of its lead and snapped Ohio State’s two game winning streak with a 85-76 victory.
Despite getting out rebounded by the Buckeyes by a deficit of nine, the Hawkeyes managed to create and hit more shots than their opponent. A big reason Iowa had more shots was due to its defense creating more offensive possessions.
Overall, tonight’s game came down to simple statistical numbers. Let’s talk about a few stats that kept Iowa in a position to dominate and control the momentum of the game.
Shooting percentage differences
First, there was the Hawkeyes three-point shooting percentage. Iowa shot an astonishing 40% from the arc as a team going 10-for-25 on the night. As basketball fans and enthusiasts, we understand this is very hard to do as a collective body. It is common to have a player, or two to have a great shooting night, not the entire team.
In fact, six different players hit at least one three for the Hawkeyes. Bakari Evelyn led the way with three triples on the night. Even more so, the Hawkeyes finished 29-for-52 on field goal attempts at 55.8% — in other words, they couldn’t miss.
On the opposing end, it is safe to say this was an unmatched answer for Ohio State. The Buckeyes only shot 30% from the three-point line and 41.9% from the field.
In many stats, Ohio State and Iowa were neck-and-neck. Unbelievably, the Buckeyes even beat the No. 20 team in the nation in the rebounding, blocks, and free throw percentage. Ohio State shot a blistering 83.3% while Iowa only shot 68%. But those small victories weren’t enough to bring home the win.
Strength of Iowa’s post
Watching the game, it’s safe to say Ohio State was on the right track when it came to the game plan. The Buckeyes won numerous team stats, but outside of their shooting woes, the No. 25 team in the country also struggled to stop the Hawkeyes inside game.
Ohio State couldn’t keep the ball out of the hands of Iowa’s center, Luka Garza. Anytime he had position on the block, he was scoring or at least drawing a foul. When he couldn’t score inside, Garza also stepped out and drilled two shots from behind the arc. The Hawkeyes center finished with a game high 24-points, six rebounds and four assists.
Valuing the ball
The Hawkeyes did a good job of taking care of the ball tonight. As a team they had 10 miscues whereas Ohio State turned the ball over 14 times. While four more turnovers doesn’t seem that big of a difference, every possession counts — especially when your opponent is knocking down shots on its extra possessions and you aren’t.
No. 25 Ohio State will look to bounce back this weekend on Sunday, Feb. 23 against No. 7 Maryland. As for Iowa, it will look to extend its streak to three when the Hawkeyes face Michigan State on Feb. 25.