Men’s hoops blown out by top-ranked Buckeyes

BY IAN MARTIN | JANUARY 20, 2011 7:10 AM

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After Iowa was somewhat competitive for much of the first frame, No. 1 Ohio State grabbed a double-digit lead with 6:13 left in the opening half and kept expanding it. The Buckeyes wound up defeating the Hawkeyes, 70-48, in Columbus, Ohio.

Iowa falls to 0-6 in the Big Ten, 7-11 overall. Also, the Hawkeyes are now 2-19 overall playing against the top-ranked team in the country.

Ohio State (19-0, 6-0) remained one of three undefeated teams in Division-I.

Freshman guard Aaron Craft came off the bench to give the Buckeyes a spark after the Hawkeyes kept it unexpectedly close for the first 10 minutes of the game. While Craft had only three points, he had an impressive seven steals, contributing to the 11 that the Buckeyes swiped.

He was aided by senior David Lighty, the Buckeyes’ leading scorer with 18 points. The most impressive of those 18 was a highlight-reel dunk with 3:44 left in the first half — also possibly the shot that broke Iowa’s will and chance of a comeback.

The Hawkeyes seemingly had no answer for the diverse offense that the Buckeyes ran all evening.

Early in the game, when Iowa was trying to trap and pressure shooters outside, Ohio State threw it inside to center Dallas Lauderdale. After coaching adjustments to prevent the post presence, the Buckeyes then began to make 3s and draw fouls.

“I felt like our energy level at the start was not what it needed to be,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said in a postgame radio interview. “We were a little bit tentative.”

Iowa’s best performance of the game was a surprising 12-point, six-rebound effort from junior Andrew Brommer. Both of those numbers were team highs.

“I had two great days of practice, and I carried that over to this game,” he said in a postgame radio interview.

But aside from his performance, and a decent effort from Melsahn Basabe who had 11 points, there was a rash of disappointing offensive showings. Eric May continued his recent slump by recording just one rebound to go with zero points, and the team’s only senior, Jarryd Cole, also was held scoreless.

This performance was an immense contrast from the teams’ first contest, Jan. 4, when the Hawkeyes gave then-No. 2 Ohio State a scare in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, eventually losing by only five.

In his postgame radio interview, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta talked about what his team was able to do to prevent another close call from the Big Ten’s last-place team.

“The defense obviously made a big difference for us,” he said. “But we didn’t give them as many easy baskets as [we did in Iowa City].”

Wednesday’s game was Iowa’s sixth-straight loss, but in five of those matchups, the Hawkeyes played a ranked opponent.

And as usual, McCaffery couldn’t just point out the flaws in his team’s performance but had to give some credit to yet another top-25 team dismantling the Hawkeyes.

“I thought [Ohio State’s] defensive intensity early was really good,” he said. “Which you would sort of expect on the road against the No. 1 ranked team. They got in us pretty good.”

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