Friday, January 5, 2018
IOWA CITY, Iowa
The Buckeyes look like they might finally be ready to give top-ranked Michigan State a go on Sunday.
Keita Bates-Diop scored 27 points with 13 rebounds, Jae’Sean Tate had 18 points and Ohio State cruised past Iowa 92-81 on Thursday night, its seventh win in its last eight games.
Kam Williams scored 13 points for the surging Buckeyes (12-4, 3-0 Big Ten), who also notched their sixth road win in their last eight tries at Iowa.
Next up are the Spartans — the favorites to yet again win the league.
“They’re a legitimate national championship contender. We’re a program that is trying to find our way here a little bit,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said about hosting the Spartans this weekend in arguably the biggest game of the Big Ten’s young season. “We have not been through something like that as a group, with a team of that caliber coming into our place.”
Ohio State looked like a big-time Big Ten team in jumping all over the Hawkeyes (9-8, 0-4) at the outset, grabbing a 17-point lead late in the first half.
Iowa went on a 12-0 run to climb within five early in the second half, but the Buckeyes’ lead was back up to 15 after a 10-0 run keyed by Bates-Diop.
“I give our older guys a lot of credit for being able to stem the tide,” Holtmann said. “Our bench was really important for us as well.”
Tyler Cook scored 21 points with nine boards and Jordan Bohannon had 15 points with 10 assists to lead Iowa, which has dropped two straight.
“It’s problematic at both ends,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said.
The Buckeyes host the Spartans on Sunday.
The Hawkeyes play at Maryland on Sunday in first of three straight road games.