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Iowa Let's Ohio State Off the Hook

Iowa-Ohio State Box Score

The Iowa Hawkeyes led the #20 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 45-38 with just over seven minutes to play in the game on Wednesday night. The largest crowd of the year was on hand to see Todd Lickliter’s shorthanded bunch play more aggressively than their talent laden opponents.

If Michigan State is the most talented team in the Big Ten (and they are), Ohio State has the best player in the league in Evan Turner. But Turner was held in check most of the night, due to a combination of Iowa defense and foul trouble. Unfortuately, the Buckeyes are no worse than the third most talented team in the league and David Lighty was there to pick up his teammate with 20 points as the Buckeyes outscored the Hawkeyes 27-12 the rest of the way to win the game 65-57.

If time of possession was a stat kept in basketball, the Hawks led for the majority of the game. They were also the first team to 50, an odd stat that has been a harbinger for wins and losses during the Todd Lickliter era, so much so it might as well be a slogan on next year’s team poster; ‘First Team to 50′.

However, it doesn’t factor into the final score and the Hawkeyes walked off the court with yet another solid performance against a ranked team, but their 12th straight loss against a ranked team.

Eric May led the way for the Hawkeyes with 18 points, including five three-point shots and a couple of highlight reel blocks on Ohio State dunk attempts. The kid is a great athlete, there is no denying that. He is going to become one of my all time favorite Iowa players before he’s done.

The bad news for Iowa was that May was the only player to break into double figures; Jarryd Cole scored nine points, and most of those came in the first half. Aaron Fuller led the way on the glass with nine rebounds.

Iowa finished the game with 11 turnovers, which is acceptable. They made 20-55 field goal attempts (36.4%) and that included 10 of 31 from three-point range. So half of their made field goals were treys and 56% of their field goal attempts were from downtown, many of those coming as the shot clock was winding down and of the desperation variety.

Matt Gatens played a gutty 37 minutes on a sprained ankle, an injury incurred during the shoot around. He made two three-point shots, including one from West Branch in the first half. Cully Payne scored five points, but handed out six assists as he darted and dished in the lane.

Iowa had 34 rebounds on the night, 10 offensive. Ohio State had 41m 13 offensive. The Buckeyes shot just 4-16 from three and 24-57 from the floor overall. Howeve,r they scored 16 points off of Iowa turnovers whereas Iowa scored just five points off of only five Ohio State giveaways; there is your difference in the ballgame.

Turner, who is the leading candidate for the league’s MVP, wound up scoring 16 points, many of those coming late when Iowa got sloppy with the basketball.

FINAL ANALYSIS: I know some people hate the term ‘moral victory’. I am not fond of it on its face, because it means you actually lost the game. That being said, I am not going to be a curmudgeon and say there is no such thing, because this Iowa team is fighting incredibly hard. Yes, they fell to 2-6 in the Big Ten, which is 10th place, ahead of 0-8 Penn State. Sure, they have beaten Penn State and Indiana, two of the worst teams in the league.

But their last two losses have been by seven points at Top Ten Michigan State, and they were within three points with :17 seconds to play after being down by 19 points early in the second half, and they led the #20 ranked team for much of the game tonight before giving way to the late Ohio State rally; they have done this with eight scholarship players, something that seems to be a common refrain for a few teams in the state.

But this team, this Iowa Hawkeye team, isn’t giving in to the adversity; they are punching back. They are not quitting; they are fighting to the very end. They have been the ones believing in themselves when the majority of the fanbase had stopped believing.

Now, they are turning some skeptics back into people that are interested in watching them play. They had the biggest crowd of the year, even if it was thanks in part to some marketing promotions, and that crowd saw their team fight as hard as it could. That team gave them a lot to cheer about and for much of the game, something to place their hope in…at least, the degree of hope one places in athletics events.

The Hawks head on the road this weekend to play a Michigan team that is schizophrenic, to say the least. If Iowa can come out and bring the level of consistent intensity they have shown the past two and a half weeks, anything is possible…and it’s good to be able to believe in that again.

  • storminspank

    This program is heading the right direction… fan just need to give it time. Iowa is proving people wrong.

  • HawkeyeShane

    Good stuff Jon…this team made me mad tonight…and I LIKED IT!

  • http://www.hawkeyenation.com jonmiller

    Good point Shane…I got ticked off, too, late in the game…and anger is a far better emotion than apathy…which is nothing…anger, that is a start. Now, I wasn’t angry with the effort, just that I felt like Iowa let one get away. Which is different than a resignation of defeat before you even turn the game on.

  • Bucketochicken

    Amen to that, Shane. It felt great to get a passionate about it again.

  • webguy96

    This was a tough loss as I believe that Iowa did a number of small things tonight but in the end just couldn’t get the one more big shot to fall down the stretch. May gained some great confidence going up against Turner, Payne again tried to lead by example down the road but couldn’t quite get a layup to fall around Lauderdale and Gatens showed the young men just what it means to play through pain which is yet another great lesson.

  • jameskalina

    Overall an impressively played game by the young Hawks. Even without Tucker this team is definitely improving.

    May and Payne are going to be stars. I was impressed with Payne’s ability to drive and dish. May’s blocked shots were impressive for a freshman along with his outside shooting.

    One thing that did stick out was when Ohio State got the lead late Iowa seemed to wilt. I blame that on this being a young team. This will be corrected as the players gain confidence and experience.

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  • ChickenRancher

    This style of basketball is just hard to watch. Couple that with losing and you get record low attendance and a desperate athletic dept that is forced to give away tickets to the game to muster up some kind of home court advantage. I can’t invest time in watching this team battle with Penn State and Indiana for 9th place in the Big Ten.

    Note: Could you at least put a little effort into posting a pic of the right game to go with your story. If you don’t have one of the game, show a pic of Lick yelling at someone, at least then we wouldn’t know what game it was.

  • MelroseHawkins

    These last few games have been very exciting to watch. I know they gave me the feeling of the good ole’ days. They are competitive & we all have to remember how young this team really is & put that into perspective. What valuable experience are they getting & they are really jelling at a young age. Just think into the future after playing together for some time. They are competitive & no longer are an easy out for big 10 opponents. With their young age, this is all we should ask for at this point.

  • Hooper

    Evan Turner is one of the most talented players to visit CHA. You could make a pretty good case that Eric May outplayed him last night. Even if Turner carried his team to a victory. The look on Turner’s face when May blocked his shot…several times…was priceless.

  • MelroseHawkins

    Eric May blocking a slam dunk ……… $50

    Eric May knocking down 5 treys ……………… $100

    Eric May going up & blocking Evan Turner’s slam dunk

    PRICELESS!!!!!!!!

  • tm3308

    ChickenRancher: how can you say that? Surely their performance over the last two and a half weeks has given you SOME measure of hope? These guys are young. Ohio State has a lot of veteran players. Lighty, Turner, Diebler, and Lauderdale were all 4-star recruits (Lighty was a member of the “Thad Five” with Oden and Conley). Last night was the first game I’d been too all year. Before Tuesday afternoon, the only reason I was going was because it was free for me (current UI student), and the football players were signing autographs. But then I saw that we had won 3 out of 4, and played #5 Michigan State VERY tough on the road for the one loss. Suddenly, things are looking up. Lickliter finally has things moving in the right direction.

    The crowd was pretty good for the most part. We do tend to die out easily, however. We only got loud when the guys would hit a 3 or something. Then it would peter out after like 10 seconds. People, you gotta keep that intensity up. It makes a huge difference on the floor. I was the captain of my high school student section, and our basketball coach told me numerous times that what we were doing in the student section was what won the close ones. It picks up the guys on the floor.

    Also, when we lost the ball out of bounds with 16 seconds to go, it was as tho someone had flicked a switch. Everybody got up and walked out. Do you have any idea how demoralizing a sight that is? What the f*** is wrong with you people? What were you doing? Trying to beat the traffic? By 16 seconds? Give me a break. Stick around and show your support til the final gun, especially when it’s just 16 seconds away. Because last night was a great effort, and I don’t think we’re far away. If they keep this up down the stretch, then next year could be a little more fun, because everyone but Bawinkel is back. Next year could be a year where we make a push for 20 wins.

  • ChickenRancher

    Have the last performances given me hope? Hope for what?

    The best thing about college basketball is March Madness. If your team is not a part or fighting to be a part of it then the season, as a fan, is waste. Everyone wants to see their team get to the tourney (even the NIT would be ok). Iowa’s tourney ship has sailed. So I can no longer invest my time in watching them. Call me whatever you want, but I think I am in the majority (see the empty seats) that don’t care because they are not relevant this year for post season play. I hope these kids use this time to get better, regroup, and comeback better next year with a few new players and compete for post season play, otherwise Lick is out and Iowa is back to square one.

    Just being honest

  • rwtsracefan

    Chickenrancher:tm3308 as it right. These kids are working there collective tails off to try and right the ship. If you feel it is a waste of your time to watch as you say a “non-relevent basketball program” then suit yourself. A few weeks ago your opinion and those of the same opinion were in the majoriy. I feel things are starting to head the right direction and fans are starting to feel some optimism. I love the grit an tenacity they are playing with!! I really think this season is teaching this really young team valuable lessons in heart and determination which will pay great dividends in the future. I know that you wish the Hawks were a tournement quality team(as we all do) but as rough as things have been for this team that is just not realistic, any improvement is positive. So when things do turn the right way and this team again becomes able to compete for a shot at post season play then those of us fans that you would call “Kool aid drinkers” can lable you for what you are “FAIR WEATHER HAWK FAN” GO HAWKS!!!!

  • Aront

    Definitely a fair weather fan.. Those of which that embaress me more often than not.. This team is not a waste.. This team will always be relevant.. Honesty or not.. These are the Iowa Hawkeyes.. No matter the circumstances.. No matter the wins and losses.. They will always be worth my time.

  • cincyhawk

    @chickenhawk A season without a MM bid I’d far from a waste. If nothing else it gets this team one step toward a future of improved performance or a future without Lickliter.

    I know Lick’s style can win at Iowa. The problem seems to be that he is having a difficult time recruiting/keeping the talent necessary for such a scheme to work. Unfortunately I really don’t see him making it past this season. The attendance cannot be ignored.

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