Hawkeyes Best Buckeyes

For the second time in as many games, Ohio State found itself on the losing end. Five days after being defeated by Michigan State, the Buckeyes were handed their second consecutive loss as Iowa walked away from Columbus with an 84-74 victory over OSU.

On Friday, Aaron Craft stressed the importance of Ohio State's loss to Michigan State not turning into a second consecutive defeat for the Buckeyes.

And while the senior point guard didn't believe that that was the ultimate cause of OSU's 84-74 home loss to Iowa on Sunday, the result remained the same, as the Buckeyes are officially on their first losing streak of the 2013-14 season.

"I think we did a good job of moving on. I can't say that we were upset and had our heads down over the past three days of practice. This is not connected," Craft said. "This is on us."

Led by hot starts from forward LaQuinton Ross and guard Lenzelle Smith Jr., the Buckeyes came out of the gates strong offensively, but didn't have the defense to match. The Hawkeyes got out to a 19-15 lead in the game's opening nine minutes, before taking a 37-35 lead into the half.

The second stanza saw more success early for No. 3 Ohio State (15-2, 2-2), who opened the half on a 10-6 run to take a four-point lead. The Buckeyes stretched their lead to nine on a three-pointer from Amedeo Della Valle with 12:49 to go in the game, but Iowa wouldn't go away.

Rallying off of a 16-7 run, the No. 20 Hawkeyes (14-3, 2-1) tied up everything at 60 before taking the final lead of the game with just under five minutes remaining thanks to a Jarrod Uthoff layup. Iowa ultimately ended the game on a 22-9 run, stretching its lead to as many as 13 points in an effort that Hawkeyes coach Fran McCaffery said was arguably his biggest win at Iowa since taking over the program in 2010.

"Clearly it's going to be big for our confidence level. Because we have tremendous respect for everything that (OSU head coach) Thad (Matta)'s done since he got here," McCaffery said. "They're as resilient of a team as I've seen on film in long time. To beat them, you have to have those same characteristics."

The Buckeyes' resiliency will certainly be tested now, as their second consecutive loss also marked the second straight game in which Ohio State was haunted by its ball-handling -- or lack thereof. The Buckeyes committed 17 turnovers against the Hawkeyes, with six of them being attributed to Craft and five more coming from Ross.

After a 21-turnover performance in East Lansing on Tuesday, the Buckeyes are now well aware of the importance of taking care of the basketball.

"It's on us. We knew they were going to press and we knew they were going to do what they did," Craft said. "We just weren't ready to take care of the ball."

Defensively, Ohio State allowed Iowa to shoot 47.5 percent from the field, with guard Roy Devyn Marble scoring 22 points and forward Aaron White adding 19 more. The Buckeyes were paced by Ross, who scored 22 points for Ohio State five days after he was benched for the majority of the second half of his team's loss to the Spartans.

"I wanted to redeem myself from my last game," Ross said. "It was a bad performance. Any player would want to do that if they were coming off of a bad game."

With their loss to the Hawkeyes in the books, the Buckeye will now turn their attention toward a 9 p.m. tipoff at Minnesota on Thursday. Even with two consecutive losses now under its belt, Ohio State is still keeping an eye on the big picture, but also knows the importance of getting back on track against the Golden Gophers.

"We were in this exact same position last year," Matta said. "The biggest challenge is making sure that our minds are where they need to be in terms of what we have to do to get better. We're so far from the end of the finish line. To panic, or anything like that -- I've never done that. I won't do that."


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