After-thoughts from Iowa’s 82-64 loss to Ohio State:
--It was pretty much the same old thing for the Hawkeyes in their recent road struggles with the only exception being that after stinking it up in the first half, this time they didn’t make some sort of stab at making the game respectable in the second half. If anything, they probably played more poorly after halftime, giving up a 14-0 scoring run early in the second half that put the game out of reach.
--Here is an ugly stat in a season full of them: In nine true road games this season, the Hawkeyes have trailed by 17 or more points at some point in all but one of them. The only exception is their loss at Iowa State back in December. The good news is that there are only two more road games — at Michigan on Wednesday and at Minnesota the following Wednesday.
--Ohio State may have done as good a job as any team has against Tyler Cook. Jae’Sean Tate, who is five inches shorter with comparable strength and athleticism, did most of the work in keeping Cook from getting the ball and every time he did get it, he was quickly double-teamed. Cook only got off two shot attempts in the first half and finished with as many turnovers (4) as field goals. His eight points represented his lowest total since Jan. 7.
--Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery chose to start Ahmad Wagner instead of Nicholas Baer even though Wagner has played very little recently (18 minutes in the previous four games). Some suggested it was because Wagner is from Ohio but more likely it is because McCaffery felt he had the best chance of holding down Big Ten player of the year favorite Keita Bates-Diop. This came just one day after Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann told reporters he thought Baer was one of the best defenders in the Big Ten. Bates-Diop finished with 14 points, six below his season average. He didn’t do as much damage around the basket as he normally does as three of his four field goals were 3-pointers.
--Three-point defense continued to be a problem for the Hawkeyes. Ohio State was 6 for 10 from behind the arc in the first half and that was a major factor in the Buckeyes opening a good-sized lead. They cooled off in the second half but still were a respectable 9 for 22 (40.7 percent) on 3s.
--It wasn’t difficult to identify the highlight of the game for the Hawkeyes. Freshman Jack Nunge looked more comfortable and confident than he has in two months and finished with 18 points. He had scored 21 in the previous nine games.
--Jordan Bohannon had a decent game for Iowa — 11 points, five assists — but he had one especially bad sequence with about a minute left in the first half. Ohio State’s C.J. Jackson picked Bohannon clean and took off with the ball up the right side. Jackson nearly lost the ball on his way up the court, allowing Bohannon to scramble back and get in front of him, but Jackson just blew past him again and took it to the hoop for a 3-point play. It allowed the Buckeyes to push their lead to double digits for the first time.
--Bohannon may yet break Chris Street’s record for consecutive free throws made but you kind of have to wonder if it will happen this season. He did not get to the foul line Saturday for the third straight game, leaving him stuck at 30 in a row, four short of Street’s mark. His 30 free throws have come over a span of 13 games. His last miss came on Dec. 22 and his last (and only) miss inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena came on Nov. 16.