Iowa men's basketball rally comes up short on the road

BY TORK MASON | JANUARY 23, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s basketball team gave No. 15 Ohio State all it could handle in the second half Tuesday night in Columbus, but a comeback effort fell short in a 72-63 loss.

The Hawkeyes trailed by as many as 24 points early in the second half, but they staged a furious rally to pull within 4 points with 90 seconds to play. The comeback wasn’t quite enough, however, as poor free throw shooting kept the Black and Gold from completing the rally. Iowa, a 72 percent free-throw shooting team, made just 13-of-26 from the line Tuesday night.

The Hawkeyes did themselves no favors with their play in the first half, struggling to find any offensive rhythm against Ohio State’s physical defense

“Early on, in particular, we weren’t locked in offensively,” Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said. “We were not screening whether it was motion or sets. And with their quickness and their length, the X is going to be on the O. They’re going to be on you. That means you’ve got to drive by the guy in front of you, and that’s not easy to do, because the guys behind him are packed in.”

The Buckeyes went on a 9-2 run over the final 1:19 of the first half to take a 12-point lead into the locker room.  It was similar to what happened on Iowa’s trip to Michigan on Jan. 6, and despite the strong response in the second frame, it’s the kind of play junior Zach McCabe said needs to be eliminated.

“End of the first half just killed us,” he said. “Beginning of the second half got to us a little bit. We had a good comeback, just couldn’t finish it at the end … We just can’t wait until the second half to get going.”

Sophomore Aaron White led the Hawkeyes with 13 points. Freshman Anthony Clemmons posted 9 points and a team-leading 3 assists. McCabe, Devyn Marble, and Eric May each chipped in 8 points. Melsahn Basabe finished with 7 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

Iowa’s second half effort was aided by 13 Buckeye turnovers. But Ohio State was able to sink some key free throws down the stretch — the Buckeyes finished 14-of-19 from the line — that ultimately doomed the Hawkeyes.

“It was pretty physical, the pressure they put on us,” Ohio State forward Evan Ravenel said of Iowa’s second half defense. “Some balls didn’t bounce our way.”

The Buckeyes were led in scoring by Deshaun Thomas, who dropped 16 points and snagged 7 rebounds. Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. each pitched in 12 points, and Ravenel put in 11 more off the bench.

“We had to find ways to make plays in the end,” Craft said. “But you have to give [Iowa] a lot of credit.”

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