Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio State basketball team probably wasn’t thinking about the beatdown the Iowa football team gave the Buckeyes in the fall, but chances are some of their fans were. Fortunately for those fans, the Big Ten Conference leading Buckeye basketball team returned the favor to the Hawkeyes with a 82-64 victory.
Iowa was able to remain competitive for much of the first half. Bohannon made some big shots including a bomb from way outside the arc just before a shot clock violation. Luka Garza came out with a ton of energy. He did what he could to put his team on his back after fellow big man Tyler Cook was on the bench for much of the first half after being tagged with two early fouls. Iowa went into halftime down 42-32.
The game didn’t remain competitive for long. Ohio State didn’t waste any time building a comfortable lead on the Hawks once the second half started. Iowa was never able to amount any sort of a comeback. Every player who has been somewhat consistent for the Hawks this year struggled in the second half. Bohannon, Garza, Cook, and Moss were nowhere to be found.
Perhaps the only bright spot of the night for the Hawkeyes was the continued improvement of freshman Jack Nunge who stuffed the stat sheet in this one with 18 points and 5 rebounds. He was also able to convert on all 5 of his free throw attempts. There were high expectations this year for Nunge, and it’s fair to say he struggled in the first half of the season. That isn’t uncommon for a true freshman in the Big Ten Conference. The rise of his play in these past few games is a silver lining for Hawkeye fans in this one.
This Iowa team is as inconsistent as it gets. They’ll put together a solid game against one opponent and then disappear against the next. Much of that can be accredited to youth, but it is fair for Hawkeye fans to be critical at this point in the season since even the younger players have had quite a bit of experience. Fran seems to be searching for answers to their struggles as he’s trying all sorts of different lineups. In a season, where nothing else is on the line you may as well start to experiment.
The schedule isn’t going to get any easier for Iowa as they travel to Ann Arbor to face off against #20 Michigan on Wednesday 2/14 at 5:30 pm. That’s life for a young team in the Big Ten.