Game pace a difference-maker


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For 37 minutes Wednesday night, the Iowa men’s basketball team had No. 20 Ohio State right where it wanted.

And the game’s pace was at the level Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter wanted.

But in the final three minutes, the Hawkeyes let a potential win slip away, and Ohio State escaped a jam-packed Carver-Hawkeye Arena with a 65-57 win to improve to 5-3 in Big Ten play. Iowa fell to 2-6 in the conference.

“We were in control of the game for the first 37 minutes,” junior Jarryd Cole said. “The last three, we just seemed like we were hoping time was going to run out.”

Early on, it looked as though the contest would be a low-scoring struggle. Iowa only tallied two field goals — both 3-pointers — in the game’s first eight minutes.

When Iowa went into the locker room at halftime with a 25-20 lead, all nine players who saw action on Wednesday had points. As a whole, the team shot 39.1 percent from the field; the Buckeyes shot 40 percent.

The Hawkeyes also kept Buckeye sensation Evan Turner in check. The highly touted Ohio State junior only had two points, which came on an open jumper early on.

“We were playing great team defense,” Cole said. “He’s a guy that likes to probe a lot. He’s not going to pick up the ball too often. If you can keep him off-balance, you can kind of dictate what he’s going to do.”

As the game went on, Iowa’s lead held up. The Hawkeyes got red-hot shooting beyond the arc from freshman Eric May, who finished with a team-high 18 points, 17 of which came in the second half.

With 7:12 remaining, Iowa held a 45-38 advantage. Senior Devan Bawinkel had just knocked down a 3-pointer that sent Carver-Hawkeye Arena into pandemonium.

The Hawkeyes were ready to take a double-digit lead when freshman Brennan Cougill attempted an open 3-pointer.

But the shot rimmed in and out, and the Buckeyes got a lay-up from Turner to trim the Hawkeye lead to five points.

May called the sequence of events the game’s turning point.

“That swing was huge,” he said. “It went from a 10-point game to a five-point game. But still, we should have had control from there. We just couldn’t stay solid right there.”

With the game tied at 50-50 at the 3:36 mark, things began to slip away.

Iowa had forced the Buckeyes to play slowly for most of the evening. But Ohio State finished the contest on a 15-7 run, thanks in large to an increase in the game’s tempo.

Turner led the way for Ohio State in the game’s final minutes, as he managed to finish with 16 points, 12 rebounds, and seven assists.

No matter how well the Hawkeyes played on Wednesday, they know the game got away from them.

“We just made too many errors to beat a team like this,” Lickliter said.

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