Hawkeyes, without Jok, beat Buckeyes

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Hawkeyes, without Jok, beat Buckeyes

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Iowa (12-10) snapped a three-game losing skid, beating Ohio State (13-9), 85-72, in Carver-Hawkeye without the services of the Big Ten’s leading scorer, Peter Jok.

Iowa’s medical staff decided to rest the senior, who has nursed a bad back for a good portion of the season. Head coach Fran McCaffery elected to go with a new lineup — Jordan Bohannon, Isaiah Moss, Nicholas Baer, Ahmad Wagner, and Tyler Cook.

“I have a lot of respect for this team and Thad [Matta], and for us to defend the way we did and execute the way we did, I think it’s a big step for our program,” McCaffery said.

The Hawkeyes hit half of their shots and nailed 11 3-pointers in a high-scoring affair.

More importantly, they dominated in the assist department, throwing 21 (in comparison to 9 turnovers).

The catalyst on offense didn’t come from the starting lineup, however.

Brady Ellingson scored a team-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Ohio State left him open at times, open enough for the sharpshooter to pause and take a dribble before taking a shot.

“[I came] off a ball screen, had a good look and just let it fly, and from there it got me going,” he said.

Fellow guard Bohannon (12 points) attempted a team-high 10 3-pointers, draining 4 of them.

It took the Hawkeyes more than two minutes to score their first points, but once they broke into the scoring column, they ditched their poor-shooting ways against the Buckeyes.

Against Illinois and Maryland, Iowa fell behind by almost 10 before scoring its first points. This game saw Ohio State score the first points, then never lead for the remainder of the half.

Down low, Ryan Kriener, Cook, Cordell Pemsl, and Dom Uhl each contributed in their own ways.

Kriener scored 14 points, and Cook added 13.

“Pete told us that we can’t look to him to hit a tough shot or carry the load offensively,” Kriener said. “He pretty much challenged everyone to step up. When your leader challenges you, you have to rise to the occasion.”

Pemsl and Uhl combined for 11 assists.

With Kriener and Cook especially, Ohio State couldn’t muster any defense in the paint.

In the second half, McCaffery praised Cook’s desire to call for the ball. His physicality once the ball was in his hands left the Buckeyes scrambling for options.

Kriener’s damage came on excellent position in the paint, bodying up a depleted Buckeye frontcourt after 7-footer Trevor Thompson (0 points) fouled out.

“He consistently does [the little things],” McCaffery said. “His activity level for a big guy, you forget just how long he is.”

The first half was Ellingson’s show. His 3 3-pointers in the half to led the charge, but the biggest shot of the half came with fewer than 15 seconds to play.

As the shot clock dwindled into single digits, Bohannon hit a step-back 3 from beyond the Tiger Hawk logo to send the crowd into a frenzy, and more importantly, send the Hawkeyes’ lead to 11 before the break.

Iowa flexed its muscles on defense from the start, swarming to the ball and clogging the lane. Ohio State mustered a 34 percent shooting half and only 2-of-11 3-pointers.

On the other hand, Iowa knocked down half of its shots and buried six 3-pointers.

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