IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP)—Iowa has finally found some offense to compliment its stingy defense.
Adam Haluska scored 18 points and the Hawkeyes had their second straight game shooting better than 40 percent, beating No. 16 Ohio State 67-62 Saturday night.
Greg Brunner also had 17 points for the Hawkeyes (16-5, 5-2 Big Ten), who held the Buckeyes without a field goal in the final six minutes. The victory was the second straight over a Top 25 foe this week and lifted Iowa into a four-way tie atop the Big Ten.
“I think we’re starting to get a little more confident,” said Brunner, who scored 17 points in Iowa’s 73-60 victory over No. 13 Indiana in Iowa City on Tuesday.
“I don’t understand why we weren’t playing this way at the beginning of the year. We’re starting to come around a little bit. Hopefully it can continue.”
The win, coupled with Wisconsin’s loss earlier Saturday at Michigan, gives Iowa a share of the Big Ten lead with the Badgers, Illinois and the Wolverines.
Ohio State (14-3, 4-3) suffered its first defeat since losing at Michigan State nearly two weeks ago.
Ron Lewis led the Buckeyes with 19 points, including 4-of-8 from 3-point range.
Terrence Dials had 16 points, but was held to just two in the second half as the Buckeyes became the latest victim of the Hawkeyes’ defense.
Iowa came into the game allowing opponents to shoot just 37 percent, fourth best in the country. The Buckeyes hit 9-of-24 from 3-point range but were held to 35 percent shooting overall, including 27 percent in the second half.
“They (Iowa) did a great job,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “I wouldn’t take back some of the looks we had. I thought we executed what we wanted to do. It’s just no secret that we didn’t shoot the ball, especially on the road against a veteran team like Iowa.”
The Hawkeyes led for most of the first half, but the second half was tight, with five lead changes and four ties. They shot 42 percent from the field.
The Buckeyes grabbed their first lead since the opening minute when Lewis hit a wide-open 3-pointer at the 13:15 mark. Je’Kel Foster stole a pass on the following possession and scored on a lay-up to put the Buckeyes up 51-47.
Lewis struck again with 6:34 remaining, hitting another 3 to put Ohio State back in front 61-58. But Iowa’s defense stiffened down the stretch, allowing just one point after Lewis’ basket.
“It’s another one of those games where we’re there, but we just have got to find a way to get over the hump, and win the damn game,” Matta said.
The Hawkeyes also struggled offensively in the final minutes. Greg Brunner’s short jumper with 6:02 to go was Iowa’s last field goal.
Haluska scored just two points in the second half, but he made them count. With 25 seconds remaining, he sank a pair of free throws to put Iowa up 65-62.
After an errant Ohio State pass rolled out of bounds, Jeff Horner was fouled and sank both free throws with 16 seconds left, clinching the Hawkeyes’ 13th straight victory at Carver Hawkeye Arena this season.
“In this arena, we’re doing phenomenal,” said Doug Thomas, who came off the bench to score 10 and helped keep Dials in check in the second half. “We’re going on the road now, and we’ve got to be able to pull off some road wins.”