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Feb 1, 2024 2:05 pm

Iowa seeks consistent effort in clash vs. Ohio State

Iowa enters Friday’s visit from Ohio State with losses in three of its past four games.

Season-long struggles with consistency have contributed to the rough stretch for the Hawkeyes (12-9, 4-6 Big Ten), who still bring optimism into the team’s next game at Iowa City, Iowa.

That’s because Iowa has shown flashes of resilience. The Hawkeyes slumped to 28.1 percent shooting during the first half of Tuesday’s game at Indiana but nearly recovered from an early 17-point deficit in an eventual 74-68 defeat.

“We didn’t let it get away from us,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. “That’s what good teams do. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish it with a few more plays. But we’ll learn from that.”

Boosting scoring depth is one point of emphasis for Iowa. Payton Sandfort and Tony Perkins combined for 48 of the team’s points against Indiana.

McCaffery also has challenged Owen Freeman and Ben Krikke to be better on the boards after the duo grabbed just five collective rebounds on Tuesday.

Ohio State has lost six of seven since edging visiting Rutgers on Jan. 3 to briefly move above .500 in conference play. The Buckeyes (13-8, 3-7) have lost their past three games by at least 12 points.

It might sound like a salve that’s simple enough, but perhaps the act of turning the calendar could prove beneficial for Ohio State. In seven seasons with the program, coach Chris Holtmann is 26-30 in January games.

While Jamison Battle (21 points) and Roddy Gayle Jr. (20) had solid games in an 87-75 setback against No. 14 Illinois on Tuesday, the Buckeyes were unable to overcome another shoddy defensive effort. The Buckeyes allowed the Fighting Illini to shoot 51.7 percent, including 41.2 percent from long range.

“We’re obviously playing a terrific offensive team in Iowa, so we have to get way better on that end right now. We have to really be way more committed than what we are,” Holtmann said.

The key?

“We need to be nastier,” Holtmann said. “We need to be much nastier. We need to play with more force.”

–Field Level Media

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