Defense Propels Iowa Past Bucks; 1st Place

Iowa used its characteristically stingy defense over the course of the final 6:34 of the game, as they allowed just one more Ohio State point from that juncture in knocking off the #16 ranked Buckeyes 67-62 in front of a sold out Carver Hawkeye Arena crowd. The win moves Iowa to 16-5 on the season and a very important 5-2 in Big Ten play; that mark has them sharing first place with four other teams, possibly a fifth should Indiana beat Minnesota on Sunday.

It's the latest into a season that Iowa has had at least had a share of first place since the 2000-2001; Iowa was 6-2 after beating Minnesota on 1/31/01, its first game without Luke Recker, who was lost for the season in the previous contest. Iowa was 17-4 at that point in time, also the best record through 21 games during the Alford era. Iowa went on to lose seven of its next eight games in ‘01-'02; Iowa travels to 1-7 Purdue on Wednesday night.

Iowa led at intermission 40-36, a pace that favored Ohio State, the Big Ten's highest scoring offense.

That's when Iowa, one of the nation's best defensive teams, got down and dirty on defense, something that has been its calling card this season.

Namely, that player was Doug Thomas.

Erek Hansen picked up two early fouls as Ohio State's game plan was for its star big man Terrance Dials to come right at Hansen. Hansen's first foul came just 17 seconds into the contest. Dials scored Ohio State's first eight points.

Enter Thomas, who was coming off of a sensational defensive effort against the Big Ten's leading scorer in Marco Killingsworth.

Dials finished the game with just 16 points after collecting 14 in the first half, and it was Thomas who was the difference. Thomas bodied and fronted Dials when Hansen is more content to defend a player behind them, as his reach can make the difference. If there are two players in the league you cannot do that against, one is Killingsworth and the other is Dials.

Thomas was amazingly active on defense for the second straight game and though he doesn't always stick out in the box score, he was your MVP of this basketball game. He finished with 10 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in 24 minutes.

Ohio State shot just 35% from the floor while Iowa made 42% of its shots; both of those numbers go in favor of Iowa when you look at each team's respective season averages. Ohio State was just 9-24 on its three-point attempts, and they came into the game as the nation's 7th best three-point shooting team, making 41.4% of its shots beyond the arc. Ohio State came into this game averaging 79.0 points per league game.

Iowa dominated the mostly four-guard Ohio State lineup on the glass, 43-30. Iowa also committed just nine turnovers to Ohio State's eight.

Adam Haluska led the way for Iowa with 18 points, with 16 of those coming in the first half. He also added seven rebounds. Greg Brunner scored 17 points and had nine rebounds. Jeff Horner was held scoreless until less than a minute to play where he made two free throws that stretched Iowa's lead from three points to five points. He had six boards and five assists. The only time Horner has been held scoreless in his Iowa career came during his freshman year against Ohio State. Alex Thompson came off the bench to score three-points, and it came when Iowa was trailing by three and Ohio State having just seized the momentum in the game midway through the second half.

NOTES: Though Ohio State committed 20 fouls to Iowa's 11, Iowa shot just one more free throw in the game. Iowa was 14-17 from the line while Ohio State was 13-16…This was Iowa's third straight game against a ranked opponent in the last seven days…Iowa beat back to back ranked opponents this week for the first time since November 22nd and 23rd of 2004 where it beat rated Louisville and Texas on back to back nights in Hawaii…Iowa improved to 13-0 on its home court this year. They are halfway through their home schedule and their remaining four games are against Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin. No Iowa teams has ever gone undefeated at home in Carver Hawkeye Arena…Nearly one-third of Iowa's 16 wins this year have come against ranked opposition; Ohio State becomes the fifth ranked team that Iowa has beaten this season…Iowa handed Ohio State just its third loss of the season. The Buckeyes' other two losses came on the road at Indiana (two points) and at home against ranked Michigan State in two overtimes (three points).

Gary Dolphin, Bobby Hansen & Ed Podolak invite their friends in the Hawkeye Nation to join them for their first "Gary & Ed Hawkeye Get-Away". The destination is Club del Mar, Jaco Beach which is owned by Ed Podolak and his partners. It's where Ed goes to play. You can enjoy activities which include deep sea fishing, surfing, golf, white water rafting, canopy tours, horseback riding, or just lounging at the pool with Gary, Bobby and Ed. CLICK HERE to learn more about the trip.

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