The defeat dropped OSU to .500 on the year at 9-9. OSU also fell to 1-4 in Big Ten play and 0-5 on the road this season. OSU lost for the fifth time in its last six games and saw its four-game winning streak at Iowa City snapped.
The Buckeyes played the game without leading scorer Tony Stockman, who was left behind in Columbus by OSU head coach Jim O'Brien. OSU was also hurt as key inside players Terence Dials and Velimir Radinovic fouled out with 9:41 and 6:05 remaining, respectively. The teams combined for 58 fouls (32 by OSU) and shot 74 free throws in a foul-plagued game.
"This was a combination of things," O'Brien told WBNS-AM. "The first thing is our strength is with our big men and they didn't get a chance to play. They were in foul trouble the whole game. When they're not in the game, we're going to struggle.
"Secondly, we shot 26 percent and had 10 turnovers in the first half. Third, we couldn't guard their three guards. They had 54 of their 79 points. We had a difficult time containing their three guards."
Iowa (10-6, 3-2) failed to make a field goal in the final 6:12 of the first half but, with OSU hitting just 26 percent of its shots in the first half, the Hawkeyes were able to enjoy a 30-20 advantage at the half.
Jeff Horner led Iowa with 20 points as he hit on 4 of 5 three-point tries. Brody Boyd added 19 points (all in the second half), while Pierre Pierce had 15 points.
Brandon Fuss-Cheatham scored a career-high 17 points to lead Ohio State, while J.J. Sullinger added 15 before he also fouled out. Fuss-Cheatham was 5 of 11 from the floor and a perfect 7 of 7 at the foul line.
"Brandon made a bunch of layups and free throws and that's good," O'Brien said. "We need Brandon to keep trying to get to the basket and finish plays and make free throws. If he can do that, it would go a long toward helping us."
Iowa broke open a close game early by outscoring OSU 19-5 over a nine-minute stretch of the first half to grab a 26-11 lead with 5:19 left. Horner had a pair of three-pointers and Pierce tallied on a pair of breakaway two-handed jams during this stretch.
But OSU rallied as Iowa missed its last six shots from the floor to end the half. The Buckeyes outscored Iowa 9-4 over the final four minutes of the half, keyed by a Terence Dials jam off a feed from Sullinger and a Sullinger three-pointer.
OSU got as close as eight at 35-27 after Fuss-Cheatham made a pair of free throws with 17:08 left. But Iowa rebuilt its lead with a 16-6 run, keyed by three layups by Greg Brunner, to enjoy its largest lead at 18, 51-33, with 11:21 left. The Buckeyes got the lead down to 11 on three different occasions after that point, but could not draw any closer.
Matt Sylvester added eight points, while Terence Dials had seven, Nick Dials scored six and Radinovic finished with five.
"With the foul trouble, we had to play some crazy combinations," O'Brien said. "When Terence and Vel go out, we become kind of small. We tried to come up with the right combination, but nothing seemed to work."
OSU's shooting woes continued. Of these five most recent losses, the Buckeyes shot 32.9 percent against Texas Tech, 40.4 percent against Illinois, 36.4 percent against Penn State, 39.6 percent against Indiana and then this 37.5 percent showing against Iowa.
OSU was also 3 of 16 (18.8 percent) from beyond the three-point arc, leaving the Buckeyes at 21.0 percent (16 of 76) from three-point range over the course of those five losses.
The Buckeyes will host No. 19 Wisconsin, an easy 75-55 winner over Illinois today, at 8 p.m. Wednesday (ESPN-Plus).