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Hawkeyes drop fourth consecutive game

BY SCOTT MILLER | FEBRUARY 08, 2010 7:30 AM

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Iowa needed a break from Evan Turner. It never got one.

Playing all 40 minutes, Ohio State’s All-American forward tied a career high of 32 points and led the Buckeyes (18-6, 8-3) to a 68-58 victory over the Hawkeyes (8-16, 2-9) on Sunday in Columbus. The defeat marks Iowa’s fifth loss in six games.

Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter’s squad had four scorers in double-figures for only the fifth time all year, led by freshman Eric May’s 16 points.

“You’ve got to give our guys a lot of credit for their effort and the way they play,” Lickliter said on the Hawkeye Radio Network. “Athletics are pass-fail, and it hurts, but the fact is we’re a much better team today than when we started.”

In the second half, Iowa abandoned its inside game and reverted to its 3-point-happy system.

Whereas the Hawkeyes only took five triples in the first half, they spent much of their time in the final 20 minutes launching contested 3s.

Struggling with the Buckeyes’ 1-3-1 full-court zone press, Lickliter’s squad shot 4-of-15 (27 percent) beyond the arc, 8-of-26 overall (31 percent), in the second half.

While Iowa hoisted contested jumpers, Ohio State continued to feed Turner, its national Player of the Year candidate. The junior consistently wheeled through the lane and on the block, baffling Iowa defenders with his athleticism.

At one point, he flawlessly ran a one-man fast break past a bevy of Hawkeyes.

The forward attempted a career-high 22 shots, netting more than 50 percent of them for his sixth time in nine games. Perhaps the most versatile player in the country, Turner also added seven rebounds, five assists, and four steals Sunday afternoon, shooting 8-of-11 from the free-throw line.

“He showed how good his is,” May told the Hawkeye Radio Network. “He got the ball in the basket a lot. … It wasn’t a performance I was proud of on defense.”

Even with Turner controlling the game, Iowa got within single digits at the 1:25 mark. But six-consecutive free throws from Turner sealed the game and gave the junior his second 30-point performance of his career.

A 9-2 Ohio State run to begin the second half quickly gave the Buckeyes their first double-digit lead of the game. The Hawkeyes never got within eight points again. The Buckeyes went 22-of-27 (81.5 percent) from the free-throw line and scored 20 points off 14 Iowa turnovers.

“They’re not turnovers that make much sense,” Lickliter said. “They’re ones that I think are avoidable. … The things that you can control, you better control, and we didn’t do that.”

Nine first-half turnovers sparked a Buckeyes’ 10-2 run. Turner netted 12 points in the game’s first 20 minutes as Ohio State’s lead grew as big as seven. But May’s 10 first-half points — six of which came from beyond the arc — kept the Hawkeyes close.

With a heavy dose of drives and post feeds, Iowa continually attacked Ohio State’s interior defense. Getting in the lane with ease, sophomore Aaron Fuller scored nine first-half points and finished 11.
Sophomore Matt Gatens added 10 points, and freshman Cully Payne contributed 11.

The Hawkeyes’ new-found inside game opened the perimeter. Lickliter’s squad connected on 4-of-5 3-pointers in the first half, shooting 11-of-21 (52 percent) overall. But as the shots began to rim out, Iowa faltered on the road, where it is now 1-6 on the year.

“You’ve got to have some pride and compete,” Lickliter said on the Hawkeye Radio Network. “These guys do. These guys are prideful, they’re competing, and I’ve heard the criticism of it, and I think it’s very unwarranted.”


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