Ohio State-Iowa: Buckeyes Survive Barrage of Three-Pointers in Win

Cody BlubaughAnalyst IDecember 31, 2008

The Buckeyes of Ohio State had to fight and scrap for all they could to answer the lights-out shooting that the Iowa Hawkeyes brought with them to Columbus. 

In the end, Ohio State held on for a 68-65 win in their Big Ten opener, despite Iowa going 14-28 from behind the arc.

Ohio State missed David Lighty's perimeter defense, as the Hawkeyes' first six shots made from the field were three-pointers.  It wasn't until 3:55 remaining in the first half that Iowa's Matt Gatens delivered his teams first two point field goal. 

Gatens finished 8-12 from the field, including four three-pointers, for a team high 22 points.

Gatens wasn't the only one lighting it from down town.  Devan Bawinkel came off the bench to deliver five triples, and guard Jake Kelly contributed three more.  Gatens, Bawinkel, and Kelly were the only Hawkeyes in double figures, and accounted for nearly 75 percent of Iowa's offense.

Luckily for Ohio State, their trio of scorers out-dueled Iowa's.

Jon Diebler was up to the task of trading three's with the Hawkeye's sharpshooters, as he sank seven triples, finishing the with a game- and career-high 27 points, while making an impact defensively with three steals, and grabbing five boards. 

True freshman William Buford scored 16, and Evan Turner added in 11, with both matching Diebler on the glass with five rebounds a piece. The three Buckeyes accounted for eighty percent of the Buckeyes offensive output.

At one point in the game, the Buckeyes built a 15-point lead, only to see the Hawkeye's chip away rather quickly, and eventually took the lead for the first time midway through the second half.  From then on it was a back and forth battle which saw seven lead changes in the final ten minutes.

Despite all of the fireworks from behind the arc, it was P.J. Hill who perhaps sealed the game for the Buckeyes with his hustle and effort on the defensive end of the court.  With the Big Ten's physical style, and a matchup of two of the nation's top defensive teams, is their any other aspect more fitting to decide a game?

Hill drew a crucial offensive foul down the stretch, hustled the full length of the court to block Jermain Davis' fast break opportunity, and then dove on a loose ball from an errant rebound as the final seconds ticked away, preventing Iowa the chance to send the game into overtime.

An elated Thad Matta embraced Hill after the buzzer sounded, putting an exclamation point on a hard fought victory for the Buckeyes.  Hill made the most of his minutes, which are sure to increase now that Anthony Crater has decided to transfer

With efforts like that one on a nightly basis, Ohio State can rest easily knowing Hill is up to the challenge of helping to replace Crater.

Ohio State now hits the road for a grueling two game slate against the surprising Minnesota Golden Gophers, and then to East Lansing to take on the Spartans of Michigan State. 

When they return home, the Buckeyes will then have an idea of where they stand in terms of competing for a Big Ten title.  With a gritty win against Iowa, they've certainly taken a step in the right direction.