After a tightly contested first half, Ohio State made a statement against Iowa. The Buckeyes weren’t about to roll over for the No. 22 Hawkeyes.
A 20-11 run by the Buckeyes to start the second half put comfortable cushion between themselves and the Hawkeyes, and Ohio State rolled to an upset win at home, topping Iowa 90-70.
The win marked the first time in six tries this season that Ohio State (18-10; 8-9 Big Ten) had taken down a team ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll. When Iowa (21-7; 10-7 Big Ten) has been named in that poll recently, Ohio State has had its number.
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The last time an unranked Ohio State team faced a ranked Iowa team in Columbus was Feb. 28, 2016, and Ohio State won 68-64. The Buckeyes are now 14-17 all-time against ranked Hawkeyes teams.
Big games from Wesson, Ahrens
sophomore Kaleb Wesson and freshman Justin Ahrens led the Buckeyes to the upset victory.
Wesson, the 6-foot-9 forward from Westerville, Ohio put in an all-around performance, tallying 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and a block. Meanwhile, Ahrens, a 6-foot-5 forward from Versailles, Ohio, poured in a career-high 29 points. Before Tuesday night, he had never scored more than nine points in a single college game.
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Wesson has enjoyed playing in front of hometown crowds this season. Coming into this game, he had been averaging 16.7 points per-game in the Buckeyes’ previous 16 home contests.
Overall, the Buckeyes have been exceptional playing in Columbus this past decade, racking up 161 wins, which is tied with Kansas for the second most home wins since the 2009-10 season. Kentucky is first with 165 wins.
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Wesson has played strong down the stretch of the season, scoring in double-digits in seven of his last nine games, and grabbing at least five rebounds in each of his last five games. He’s also shooting over 50 percent from the floor in his last nine games.
Buckeyes rarely miss at charity stripe
One of the reasons why Ohio State beat Iowa is that the Buckeyes made many trips to the free throw line and rarely missed once they got there.
Six different Buckeyes made at least on free throw, and Ohio State made 22 of 24 shots from the charity stripe on Tuesday, good enough for a 91.7-percent clip. This season, six Buckeyes are shooting 70 percent or better from the foul line.
Meanwhile, Iowa — which had made and attempted the most free throws in the Big Ten coming into this game — went just 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Before this game, the Hawkeyes were averaging 25.3 free throw attempts per game. Tuesday night, they just didn’t draw enough fouls.
Buckeyes big on boards
Ohio State was one of the Big Ten’s worst rebounding teams coming into this game, ranking 11th in the conference in total rebounds with 936, or 34.7 per game.
But on Tuesday the Buckeyes had the advantage there, out-rebounding Iowa 36-26. Nine different Buckeyes grabbed at least one rebound.
The Buckeyes also had nine offensive boards and scored 10 points off second chances.
For Iowa and Ohio State, the result doesn’t shake up the Big Ten picture too much, as both remain in sixth and seventh place. The Buckeyes are now a full game ahead of eighth place Minnesota and Iowa is now a full four games back of first place Michigan State.
Mitchell Northam is a graduate of Salisbury University. His work has been featured at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Orlando Sentinel, SB Nation, FanSided, USA Today and the Delmarva Daily Times. He grew up on Maryland's Eastern Shore and is now based in Durham, N.C.