"They came out and blitzed us early," OSU coach Thad Matta told WBNS radio. "The way they were shooting the ball… but give our guys a lot of credit, I thought we did a great job of fighting back. I thought we played hard. Once we settled down and understood the intensity the game, we played better. It's one of those things that they made the plays down the stretch that we couldn't do."
Iowa jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the first half behind eight points from Haluska. The Hawkeyes' largest lead of the game (32-23) came at the 7:52 mark of the first half.
However, No. 16 OSU responded with a 9-0 run – highlighted by 3-pointers from Lewis and Je'Kel Foster – to draw even at 32-32 at the 3:39 mark.
Iowa quickly regained the lead and held a 40-36 advantage at halftime.
In the second half, Ohio State took a four point lead (51-47) on a steal and lay-up from Foster at the 12:50 mark.
Iowa responded with a 6-0 run and regained the lead at 53-51 on a pair of free throws from Brunner.
Alex Thompson tied the score at 58-58 with a 3-pointer for Iowa at the 7:43 mark.
Lewis drained a triple to give the Buckeyes a 61-58 advantage at the 6:34 mark.
Two Erek Hansen free throws gave Iowa a 62-61 lead with 5:35 showing on the clock.
After Brunner and Sullinger traded free throws (1 of 2 each), Haluska put the Hawkeyes in the driver's seat with two free throws, giving them a 65-62 lead with 25 seconds remaining.
The Buckeyes still had a chance, but lost possession of the ball when a pass went off Lewis' leg. Jeff Horner then made two free throws for Iowa to put the game out of reach.
Matta lamented about his team's play the last few minutes of the game.
"Down the stretch there, it was the Michigan State game all over," he said. "We executed what we were trying to do and the ball wouldn't go down. And then the miscue there at the end."
Dials and Haluska – the leading scorers for their respective teams entering play – dominated in the first half. But each team made defensive adjustments in the second half and forced other players to take shots.
"No, it was amazing how that worked," Matta said. "Haluska came out and was on fire, and we did a good job of getting the ball down to Terence. Give them credit, they started fronting (Dials) a little more. When Hansen picked up his second foul, (Doug) Thomas did a better job on TD.
"It's amazing how the tide of the game went. We'd get up four and we just couldn't make the defensive stops we needed to have a chance to get it to six or seven."
Brunner was too much to handle for the Buckeyes. Sullinger did the best job on him, but he is undersized at 6-5. Matt Sylvester was taken to the hole religiously by Brunner.
"It's obvious: We don't have a quote, unquote, power forward since we've been here," Matta said. "Which is OK. We try and take advantage at the other end. And collectively defensively we've got to do a good job. I thought a couple times we made some mistakes. When we look at this film, there were things we worked on all week. We just didn't get the job done."
Brunner, the Big Ten's rebounding leader at 10.4 per game, finished with eight boards.
It was a bitter loss for Ohio State, a team that has now lost three league games in the final minutes. But it's a long season and the Big Ten race is still wide open.
"As I told the guys, this is one game," Matta said. "And we've got to continue to find ourselves and continue to get better. It's going to be a war every time we take the court."
Ohio State hosts Florida A&M on Monday at 8 p.m. Its next Big Ten game is against Minnesota on Saturday, Feb. 4, at 3 p.m. at Value City Arena.