COLUMBUS — Ohio State outscored Iowa 56-42 in a decisive second half as the Buckeyes (11-8, 3-5) defeated the Hawkeyes 93-77 (12-7, 4-4) on Saturday at Value City Arena, ending a five-game losing streak.
Freshman forward Brice Sensabaugh led all scorers with a career-high 27 points on 10-of-12 shooting. Isaac Likekele also scored a season-high 18 points. Likekele nearly posted a triple-double, adding 10 rebounds and seven assists.
True freshman guard Roddy Gayle was in the starting lineup in place of forward Justice Sueing, and Gayle responded with nine points in 17 minutes. Sueing also played better than he had in the past, scoring 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
Despite the final score, the game began slowly. Freshman center Felix Okpara tied the game 15-15 for the Buckeyes at the 12:03 mark of the first half with a dunk which sent Ohio State on a 12-0 run that featured a couple of blocked shots from Okpara and a pair of threes from Sean McNeil. McNeil was a game-time decision with a dental emergency earlier in the week.
Iowa eventually cut an 11-point Ohio State lead down to 37-35 at the half. The Hawkeyes went the final 5:10 of the half without a field goal, and the Buckeyes went the last 3:17 without a field goal.
A jumper from Ahron Ulis tied the game out of the break, but Sensabaugh immediately responded with a three-pointer to get the lead back. Following a layup by Tony Perkins to cut it to 40-39 for Iowa, the Buckeyes scored nine in a row on a pair of baskets from Likekele, a jumper from Sueing, and a three-point play from Sensabaugh.
The Buckeyes traded baskets from Okpara for threes by the Hawkeyes, but a three-point play from Roddy Gayle built OSU’s lead back up to 58-47 with 12:57 to play. The Hawkeyes cut it back to eight again a few minutes later, but a dish in the paint by Likekele led to an emphatic dunk from Gayle as he had to alter his shot to avoid a block attempt.
A three-pointer from Sensabaugh and consecutive baskets by Key built a 15-point lead with six minutes to play. Iowa would get no closer than 12 points the rest of the way out.
A concerning moment happened with 36 seconds remaining when Key caught a length-of-the-court pass and threw down a dunk, injuring his left knee on the jump.
There is was no immediate update on Key following the game.
The Buckeyes shot 22-of-34 (64.7%) in the second half. Ohio State outscored Iowa 50-32 in the paint for the game.
Up next for the Buckeyes is a road trip to Illinois on Tuesday. That game will tip off at 7:00 pm on ESPN.