Redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop continued to make up for lost time, producing a career-high-tying 27 points as well as 13 rebounds to guide Ohio State to a 92-81 Big Ten victory over Iowa on Thursday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City, Iowa.
On the first Thursday of January 2017, then-Ohio State coach Thad Matta revealed Bates-Diop would miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his leg.
On the first Thursday of January 2018, Bates-Diop delivered his seventh double-double of the season that featured an eight-point scoring run in the second half to fend off Iowa’s most serious rally of the night.
All five starters reached double figures for the Buckeyes (12-4, 3-0 Big Ten). Senior forward Jae’Sean Tate scored 18 points and senior shooting guard Kam Williams added 13 as Ohio State and new head coach Chris Holtmann remained one of three unbeaten teams in Big Ten play.
Iowa (9-8, 0-4) already has dropped three conference home games.
The Hawkeyes placed four players in double figures. Sophomore power forward Tyler Cook shrugged off early foul trouble to finish with 21 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Jordan Bohannon notched 15 points and a season-high 10 assists while freshman center Luke Garza scored 15 points.
Nicholas Baer added 10 points for Iowa.
Ohio State set the tone immediately by drilling six of its first seven shots to take a 14-12 lead. Junior point guard C.J. Jackson handed out three assists as the Buckeyes’ other four starters each hit at least one shot.
Williams, who tried just two 3-pointers in Ohio State’s first two Big Ten games, maintained the hottest hand early as he drilled three treys in the opening nine minutes to stake the Buckeyes to a 28-16 lead.
Iowa tried to force Ohio State out of its rhythm in the second half with a variety of traps and presses. The Hawkeyes scored the first nine points of the half — capped by Garza’s three-point play at the 17:10 mark — to slash Ohio State’s lead to 46-41.
However, Tate wriggled free for a layup on the Buckeyes’ next possession to trigger a 12-2 spree. Bates-Diop scored eight straight during that run in a variety of ways — a 15-foot pullup at the shot-clock buzzer, two free throws, a driving layup and a 15-foot fadeaway jumper — to restore order.
Iowa couldn’t get any closer than nine points the rest of the way.
—Field Level Media