Buckeyes Make it Two Straight

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Last updated: 02/04/2014 10:13 PM
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Men's Basketball
Buckeyes Make it Two-Straight
By Rob Ogden

Less than a week ago, one win on the Buckeyes' western road trip seemed like a pipe dream. Now two is a reality.

Behind an impressive offensive performance from senior Aaron Craft, Ohio State defeated No. 17 Iowa 76-69 Tuesday night in Iowa City.

It was the second-consecutive road win over a ranked opponent for the Buckeyes, who defeated then-No. 14 Wisconsin 59-58 on Saturday.

Craft scored 17 points, and had 6 assists and 6 steals. It was his second-best offensive output of the season and highest point total since scoring 18 against Ohio on Nov. 12.

Iowa (17-6, 6-4 Big Ten) came into the contest ranked sixth in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency and the Buckeyes 120th, according to kenpom.com, but it was Ohio State that shot 51 percent from the floor, its best shooting percentage since defeating Nebraska on Jan. 4.

Craft said Monday that they would have to limit the Hawkeyes' points in the paint, and were only moderately successful as they held that total to 40. Iowa had 44 points in the paint the last time the teams met, a 84-74 win for the Hawkeyes Jan. 12 in Columbus.

Ohio State (18-5, 5-5) also struggled on the glass, where it was out rebounded 38-25. The Hawkeyes had 15 offensive boards compared to only 4 for the Buckeyes, which led to 11 second-chance points.

But Iowa shot an abysmal 3-of-20 from 3-point range and made only 12-of-19 attempts from the free-throw line.

Ohio State led by as many as 9 points in the first half, but Iowa went on a 16-5 run to close the half to take a 33-31 advantage into the break.

Craft had 14 of his points by halftime.

With Ohio State leading by 3 points with 8:50 to play, center Amir Williams went up for an open look at the basket. He was fouled by Iowa's Gabriel Olaseni and a flagrant 1 was assessed.

Williams converted both free-throw attempts and knocked down a jumpshot seconds later to extend Ohio State's lead to 54-47.

He finished with 12 points.

For the second-consecutive game, Sam Thompson started while Shannon Scott came off the bench. Scott had 11 points while Thompson contributed 9.

LaQuinton Ross added 13 for the Buckeyes.

Craft's first and only points of the second half came on a three-point play that put Ohio State ahead 66-59 with 1:17 remaining. It put the game out of reach.

"It's a lot easier said that done, reeling a couple off, but that's the plan," coach Thad Matta said Monday, referring to what a confidence-builder a second-consecutive road win would be.

The Buckeyes have now won back-to-back games for the first time since Jan. 4.

Game Story from Game 1 in Columbus

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