Sophomore nets 19 second-half points as Buckeyes open Big Ten season with victory

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) –Jon Diebler scored a career-high 27 points and Evan Turner hit three late free throws to lead No. 24 Ohio State past Iowa 68-65 Wednesday in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

In a physical game between two of the nation’s top defensive teams, the Buckeyes (10-1) built an early lead, lost it, regained it, and then barely had enough to hang on at the finish.

Matt Gatens, who led the Hawkeyes (10-4) with 22 points, missed a tying 3-pointer with 9 seconds remaining. After a wild scramble for the loose ball, the Buckeyes grabbed it and made a long pass to melt away the final few seconds.

Devan Bawinkel had 15 points and Jake Kelly 11 for Iowa, which hit 14-of-28 3-pointers.

William Buford matched a career-high with 16 points, and Turner finished with 11 points for the Buckeyes, who also received 12 inspired minutes from reserve guard P.J. Hill. His hustle turned away several Iowa scoring opportunities and a dive on the floor for a lose ball in the final seconds led to Ohio State sealing the win.

The Hawkeyes, down 30-15 with just over 5 minutes left in the half, scratched their way back to pull even at 38 on Gatens’ 3-pointer at the 15:56 mark of the second half.

They took their first lead on Bawinkel’s 3-pointer, all alone in the left corner, at the 11:42 mark. Kelly’s shot in the lane upped the lead to 50-46.

Ohio State countered with a rally of its own, regaining the lead on Turner’s 14-foot jumper off an inbounds pass.

The teams then started trading baskets.

Down 61-58, Iowa picked up baskets by Jeff Peterson on a drive and Gatens on a dunk off an assist from Cyrus Tate to retake the lead.

After Diebler hit a 3 that went in and out before falling at the other end, Kelly almost immediately hit one of his own for a 65-64 Iowa advantage with 3:27 left.

Turner hit two foul shots with 3:14 left to give the Buckeyes the lead for good, then added another almost a minute later.

The teams traded turnovers before Kelly missed the front end of a bonus situation with 1:27 remaining.

After each team missed a shot, Diebler was fouled with 20.7 seconds left; he hit the second in the double-bonus to push the lead to 68-65.

Gatens took a 3 from the left wing with 9 seconds left with Ohio State’s Dallas Lauderdale lunging at him as he released it. The ball hit the iron and bounced out.