Columbus, OH – Iowa opened up Big Ten play this afternoon against the 20th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes jumped on the Buckeyes early, leading by ten points only four minutes into the game (15-5). Iowa destroyed Ohio State’s zone defense the entire game, beating them from both inside and outside. They got good open looks most of the game and when they missed they were crashing the offensive glass.
Iowa was the more aggressive team from the opening tip, out-rebounding the Buckeyes 37-29 and has eight more free throws attempts than Ohio State. The Buckeyes would rally late to make things somewhat interesting, but the game wasn’t as close as the final score would indicate, as Iowa came away with a 71-65 victory.
Junior Jarrod Uthoff played a huge role in Iowa’s impressive victory today, scoring 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, and five assists. The 6’9 forward was a handful for the Buckeyes as they had no answers for him defensively. Uthoff is a versatile, fundamentally sound wing player that can attack teams from many spots on the floor. He can handle the ball well enough at 6’9 which makes him a tough cover, he’s a playmaker for his teammates and an efficient scorer. He is an excellent shooter, he torched Ohio State’s zone hitting 4-of-6 three point shots.
The Hawkeyes also got a strong performance from senior Aaron White. The Ohio native scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. White was the beneficiary of great ball movement, as he was open several times on the backside of Ohio States zone defense. Once he got the ball he finished strong at the rim, or went to the free-throw line, which is a huge part of his game. White made 8-of-10 from the foul line, which marks the fifth game this season he has attempted at least ten free-throws in a game. White is a very scrappy big, he plays much bigger than his slender 6’9 frame.
The Buckeyes showed some signs of life late in the second half when they were rallying back, cutting the deficit to three points with 3:25 left in the game. Their comeback attempt was led by their senior wing Sam Thompson. Thompson is a superior athlete who is at his best when he can get out and run the floor. He’s a much improved shooter that can make open shots, but he is most affective when he attacks the basket. He got aggressive late in the game and had a key three point play in which he drove the lane, and made a difficult scoop lay-up while getting fouled. Thompson finished the game with 17 points and three steals.
Ohio State will attempt to get their first Big Ten win of the season on Saturday January 3rd when Illinois comes to Columbus. Iowa will try to remain undefeated in conference play when they take on Nebraska at home on Monday January 5th.
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