NCAA News Wire

Ohio State 76, Iowa 69

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If the last two games are any indication, Ohio State might be out of its January funk.

Guard Aaron Craft scored 17 points and had six steals on Tuesday night to lead the balanced Buckeyes to their second road win over a ranked Big Ten team in four days, a 76-69 decision at No. 17 Iowa.

Forward LaQuinton Ross added 13 points, and center Amir Williams and guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. netted 12 each. Guard Shannon Scott scored 11 points off the bench for Ohio State (18-5, 5-5).

The Buckeyes fell out of the top 25 on Monday because of their loss on Jan. 29 to Penn State but came into this one after dumping 14th-ranked Wisconsin on Saturday in Madison and maintained that momentum.

Guard Mike Gesell scored 16 points to pace Iowa (17-6, 6-4), and reserve forward Gabriel Olasemi contributed 14 points and six rebounds. Guard Roy Devyn Marble managed 10 points.

The Hawkeyes owned the rebounding battle 37-25 but shot a miserable 2 of 17 on 3s and allowed 51 percent field goal shooting to the guests.

Ohio State used a 9-2 run just after the midway point of the second half to take a 58-49 lead on a layup by Scott with 6:19 left. After the Hawkeyes drew within 58-54, Williams slammed off a lob pass and forward Sam Thompson stuck a 3-pointer to make it 63-54 with 3:56 remaining.

Iowa pulled within four on a jumper by forward Anthony Clemmons, but Craft’s 3-point play with 1:17 on the clock gave the Buckeyes a 66-59 advantage and they iced it at the foul line.

Gunning for a season sweep of Ohio State, Iowa spent most of the first half negating its physical advantages by misfiring on 3-pointers and committing ill-timed turnovers.

The Buckeyes scored nine consecutive points to establish a 26-17 lead on Craft’s second 3-pointer of the half. Craft, who is not known for his offense, hit all five of his shots from the field before the break finished with 14 first-half points after entering the game averaging just 9.6.

The Hawkeyes finally got into rhythm as they quit settling for jumpers — they were 1-for-11 on 3-pointers in the opening half — and started attacking the bucket. Gesell’s three-point play capped an 8-0 spurt that cut the Ohio State advantage to 26-25.

Iowa then scored the last six points of the half, taking a 33-31 lead to intermission after forward Aaron White dunked off a steal by Marble.

NOTES: In an amazingly even series, Iowa and Ohio State each owned 76 wins heading into Tuesday night’s game, with each team winning 47 times at home. … The Buckeyes entered the game leading the Big Ten in scoring defense (58.9 points per game), 3-point field-goal defense (26.5 percent) and turnover margin (plus-3.5). They also were 14th nationally in fewest fouls per game (16.1). … Before Tuesday’s game, the Hawkeyes had made more free throws (484) than their opponents had attempted (441).