It was Jeff Horner and Adam Haluska who did the heavy lifting for the Hawkeyes (18-10, 6-9). Horner scored 25 points on 9-17 shooting, including 4-9 from three-point range. Horner's first basket of the night was a long three, and that put him over the 1,000-point mark for his career. Horner also added eight rebounds and eight assists and zero as he turned in one of the best games of his career, if not the best.
Backcourt mate Adam Haluska scored 22 points for the Hawkeyes, continuing his torrid scoring pace over the past eight games, a span that has seen him average 19.4 points per game.
But Iowa did get some key contributions from its reserves as they outscored Ohio State's bench 17-15. Doug Thomas scored seven points, including a hammer dunk and free throw in the game's final minutes. Thomas played very solid defense on Terrance Dials, who had his way in the paint all night long in Iowa City, scoring 29 points.
Seth Gorney chipped in five points, coming within one point of his career high set last Saturday at Penn State.
Iowa played a much needed clean floor game, committing just nine turnovers compared to 11 for Ohio State. Iowa was +3 on the boards. Ohio State made three more field goals and shot 54 percent compared to Iowa's 47 percent.
Iowa hit 17 of 20 from the line compared to 9 of 14 for Ohio State.
This was an old fashioned barn burner with several lead changes throughout.
Haluska hit a three with 1:30 to go, putting Iowa up 69-66. But Ohio State answered with a three of their own, tying the game at 69 with 1:06 remaining. Horner then attacked the basket and dropped a dime to Thomas on the block for a thunderous slam and foul. Thomas made the free throw to put Iowa on top 72-69 with :42 seconds to play.
Not to be outdone, Terrance Dials hit a short shot and was fouled. He made his free throw to tie it at 72 with :29 to go.
Iowa advanced the ball across the midcourt and called timeout. Horner would later get the ball at the top of the key, playing for the last shot. He got into his set with just under :10 to play and made an 18-foot shot just left of the top of the key with :03.4 seconds to play.
After two time outs, Ohio State inbounded the ball near midcourt on the left hand side, but the Buckeye player who caught the pass stepped out of bounds while trying to dribble behind his back with :01.0 to play.
The Hawks inbounded the ball to Horner and the game was over.
Jon Miller's Instant Analysis
As Gary Dolphin put it on the radio broadcast, game one of ‘Payback Week' ended in good fashion with a win against a pesky Ohio State club. Michigan and Ohio State beat Iowa to start the Big Ten campaign on the wrong foot and the Hawkeyes never really regained their footing.
Saturday's laugher in Happy Valley was confirmed with such a well-executed game against the Buckeyes, who came into the game ranked 64th in the RPI with Iowa right behind them at 65th.
If Iowa can go into Ann Arbor and beat a reeling Michigan team who will be without Lester Abram and Daniel Horton, they will be seeded 6th in the Big Ten tournament unless Ohio State can upset top-ranked Illinois and unless Northwestern beats Indiana in Bloomington on Saturday.
If there is a three-team tie-breaker with Iowa, Ohio State and Northwestern, Ohio State wins the tie-breaker by virtue of splitting with Iowa and going 1-0 against Northwestern. Iowa split with both clubs.
If Iowa can take care of business against Michigan, it seems likely that Illinois and Indiana would take care of business as well, as each team has a lot to play for.
The 6th slot would mean a first round game against Penn State and a second round matchup against either Wisconsin, Minnesota or Indiana, with Wisconsin being the most likely potential three seed.
The Hawkeyes need to win at least three more games to have a shot at an at large birth. If they could somehow make it to the finals of the Big Ten tournament (including a win against Michigan on Saturday), their chances might be pretty decent.
Iowa knows this, and they have known this since before last Saturday's game against Penn State. So every game the rest of the way, including the crucial win against Ohio State, has been a ‘one and done' setting for the Hawkeyes, which should prepare them for the tournament in Chicago.
Stranger things have happened.