IOWA CITY, Iowa – The No. 25 Ohio State men’s basketball team fell to No. 20 Iowa, 85-76, Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. With the loss, the Buckeyes drop to 17-9 on the year, 7-8 in the Big Ten, while the Hawkeyes improve to 19-8, 10-6 in conference play.
The Buckeyes host No. 7 Maryland at 4 p.m. ET Sunday in a sold-out contest at Value City Arena.
E.J. Liddell paced the Buckeyes with a career-high 17 points and eight boards while Duane Washington Jr. scored 15, CJ Walker added 11 and Kaleb Wesson went for 10 points and seven rebounds. Luka Garza led four Hawkeyes in double figures with 24 points to go along with six rebounds and four assists while Bakari Evelyn scored 15, Joe Wieskamp poured in 13 and Ryan Kriener scored 12.
The Hawkeyes sprinted out to an early 18-3 lead on a Cordell Pemsl layup with 14:16 left in the opening half. A Evelyn 3-pointer pushed the Iowa advantage to 27-8 as the Buckeyes started cold from the field, missing 10 of their first 12 shots. However, Ohio State then caught fire, hitting seven of nine shots late in the first half to trim the deficit to 40-31 on an Andre Wesson layup with 2:10 remaining before Iowa took a 46-35 lead into the break.
Liddell paced the Buckeyes with 11 points in the opening half. Iowa, which shot 62.1 percent (18-for-29) from the field in the first 20 minutes, was led offensively by Garza with 17 points.
Ohio State cut the deficit to nine on multiple occasions early in the second half but Iowa pushed the lead back to 14 at 56-42 with 14:23 remaining after another Evelyn 3-pointer and Pemsl layup. A Kriener 3-pointer extended the Hawkeye advantage to 69-50 with 6:43 left to play and the Buckeyes were unable to trim the deficit to less than seven the remainder of the way.
For the game, the Buckeyes held a 38-29 advantage on the boards, a 17-7 lead in second-chance points and a 35-24 edge in bench points but were unable to overcome the hot-shooting Hawkeyes, who shot 55.8 percent (29-for-52) from the field and 40 percent (12-for-30) from deep.