Freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh scored a career-high 27 points and graduate guard Isaac Likekele recorded a double-double, pushing Ohio State past Iowa 93-77 Saturday at Value City Area, snapping a five-game losing streak.
The Buckeyes (11-8, 3-5 Big Ten) shot lights out against an Iowa offense that ranked top-20 nationally entering the game, shooting 56.3 percent for the game. Likekele stuffed the stat sheet by adding 18 points and leading Ohio State with 10 rebounds and seven assists.
The Hawkeyes (12-7, 4-4 Big Ten) were unable to get into a rhythm during the second half, and fell into a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out from. Iowa junior forward Kris Murray also stuffed the stat sheet, leading the way with 22 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
“It was good to get a lot of contribution from a lot of guys,” head coach Chris Holtmann said. “The system Iowa plays is unique, and it’s difficult to guard. And I thought our guys did a good job with it. But a lot of credit to a lot of guys. I thought Isaac’s play was phenomenal.”
The opening helped saw the teams battle for control, with Iowa controlling the opening minutes while Ohio State held a lead from the 11:20 mark onward. A 10-0 Buckeyes run extended their lead to 28-17 with 8:25 remaining in the frame.
But the No. 1 scoring offense in the Big Ten responded accordingly, finding points from seven different players to end the half. Despite that, the Buckeyes maintained a slim 37-35 advantage heading into the locker room.
Beginning in the second half, Iowa junior guard Ahron Ulis scored on a jump shot to tie the game for the Hawkeyes. But that was as close as Iowa would get, as Ohio State went on a subsequent 9-0 run bolstered by Likekele and Sensabaugh.
“I felt like it was on us veterans,” Likekele said. “As captains, we ain’t been good lately, and I felt like today, the captains, we really had to step up and take care of business.”
The teams would continue trading baskets, with Iowa unable to go on its own scoring run. Ohio State shot a red hot 64.7 percent in the second half, and never let its foot off the gas pedal en route to a crucial Big Ten win.
“I think I did a better job of hitting shots today,” Sensabaugh said. “I’ve been trying less to force stuff and just let the offense play out and find pockets in the defense and take those shots that they give us. Just take what the defense gives.”
Ohio State outrebounded Iowa 36-29 and induced 14 Hawkeye turnovers. The Buckeyes also saw season highs from senior guard Tanner Holden, who recorded three steals, and freshman center Felix Okpara who tied a season best with three blocks.
Freshman guard Roddy Gayle Jr. made his first collegiate start and recorded nine points and a rebound in 17 minutes. Redshirt senior forward Justice Sueing and graduate guard Sean McNeil combined for 20 points off the bench.
Ohio State travels to Champaign, Illinois, to face Illinois in a Big Ten matchup Tuesday at 7 pm ESPN will broadcast.
Story was updated at 6:35 pm to include quotes from the postgame press conference.