Iowa men’s basketball falters late, loses back-and-forth game to Ohio State

The Hawkeyes trailed for the final 3:23 of action after 18 lead changes in the first 36 minutes.


Matt Sindt

Iowa forward Filip Rebraca walks off the court after losing a men’s basketball game between Iowa and Ohio State at United Center in Chicago on Thursday, March 9, 2023. The Buckeyes defeated the Hawkeyes, 73-69.

Chris Werner, Assistant Sports Editor

CHICAGO — The Iowa men’s basketball team traded the lead with Ohio State 18 times in the first 36 minutes of the second Big Ten Tournament second-round game of Thursday’s four-game slate at the United Center.

But after Hawkeye forward Kris Murray converted a layup with 4:43 remaining in the contest, to give Iowa a 61-59 lead, Buckeye guard Roddy Gayle Jr. scored on back-to-back possessions. 

First, Gayle Jr. splashed a midrange pull-up jumper to tie the game at 61 apiece, then hit a 3-pointer to give Ohio State the advantage. 

Iowa point guard Tony Perkins, who finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, missed two free throws with his team down, 64-63, then Buckeye forward Justice Sueing hit a 3-pointer to extend the lead to four. 

Although Iowa would fight back in the final minutes and keep the game within one possession, the Hawkeyes went 0-for-4 from the field in the last minute and lost 73-69.

Hawkeyes go cold from 3-point range 

The script was similar on Thursday to many of the Hawkeyes’ losses this season: they shot poorly from deep and couldn’t do enough to overcome it.

Iowa shot 4-for-17 from behind the arc, compared to Ohio State’s 8-for-17 mark. 

Head coach Fran McCaffery said, however, his team took good shots from distance. 

“We shot 50 percent from two [point range], didn’t make many threes in the game,” McCaffery said postgame. “I thought we took good ones. “I wasn’t like saying, ‘Hey, that was a bad shot.’ We want the guys to shoot 3s, they just didn’t go.”

Iowa did not make a 3-pointer in the final 12:07 of the game.

“I feel like we got open looks that we wanted to get,” Iowa forward Kris Murray said. “They just weren’t falling.”

In its 13 losses this season, Iowa is shooting under 25 percent from deep.

In wins, Iowa is converting at a clip more than 10 percentage points higher.

Up next

With the one-and-done-showing in the Big Ten Tournament, Iowa will now await its seeding and destination for the NCAA Tournament. 

The NCAA Tournament selection show is scheduled for Sunday, March 12, at 5 p.m. on CBS.

Iowa was projected as a No. 7 seed before Thursday’s loss, but the defeat to the sub-500 Buckeyes will likely drop Iowa to a No. 9 or 10 spot. 

McCaffery and his players, however, stayed positive after the second-round defeat in Chicago.

“We lost today, but next time we get a chance to play, we’re definitely going to turn it up a notch,” Perkins said. “Make sure we win, make up for today.”

McCaffery said he didn’t dwell on the loss to Ohio State in the postgame locker room.

“I was really positive,” McCaffery said. I sort of reflect more on the body of work than what happened in the last 40 minutes … I think you have to give them credit. They came back and kept scoring. You know, they didn’t panic. I didn’t think we panicked, it came right down to the end.”